Leadership Skill: Staffing

Staffing can entail a broad sweep from recruiting to termination of ministry workers. Between those bookends come placement, training, support, communication, conflict management, and more.
 
Before getting detailed about each facet of staffing, begin with some overriding principles that should be a part of everything done in staffing.
  1. Permeate all you do with prayer.
  2. Line up with God's design.
  3. Don't lose the personal touch.
  4. Be supportive.

1) Permeate all you do with prayer.

Jesus set the precedence for prayer being a part of the staffing process. -- "Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'" (Matt. 9:37-38)
 
Notice that the labor shortage in the church isn't a new phenomenon. Jesus' solution? "Ask the Lord" -- Pray about it.
 
But, Jesus wasn't merely suggesting the type of prayer so often heard from leaders today. They weren't to pray asking for God's blessing on their recruitment efforts. Rather, they were to beseech the Lord to do the work -- "Ask the Lord ... to send out workers."
 
Jesus didn't merely teach about the importance of prayer in staffing but modeled it as well. He spent the night praying prior to the choosing of the twelve disciples (Lk. 6:12-13).
  • Leaders, do you look for God's choice in people to be recruited?
     

2) Line up with God's design.

God designed the church to be interdependent with every member having a part. -- "From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." (Eph. 4:16)
 
The specific part each individual has also fits within His design. -- "But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be." (1 Cor. 12:18)
 
Notice God's integral part in this process. He is the One who determines people's part. He is the One who ultimately provides the cohesion for body life as each person does their part.
  • Leaders, are you helping people find their best fit in ministry based on their God-given ministry profile?
     

3) Don't lose the personal touch.

We have a personal and relational God. The incarnation of Jesus depicts a God who came to live among us and ultimately die for us so we can be in a personal relationship with Him. -- "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." (Jn. 1:14)
 
This is not a God who keeps His distance. God meets people where they are, being intimately acquainted with those He created (Ps. 139:13-18). Think of Moses' recruitment when God met Him in a burning bush, personally responding to the many excuses Moses had for not serving.
 
Even now God provides the counsel and help we need to do His work in the Person of the Holy Spirit who lives within us. His support isn't from a distant or aloof place but rather right where we are.
  • Leaders, in a digital age, are you remembering the value of one-on-one, face-to-face communication?
     

4) Be supportive.

God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. He empowers us with spiritual gifts so we can serve effectively. His Spirit prays for us, even when we don't know what to say. He provides us with His written Word to guide our steps. He invites us to come to Him when we don't know what to do. -- "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5)
 
Think of the example of Jesus who spent three years training His disciples, answering their questions, providing feedback after a ministry project, and giving them the tools to go on after He ascended.
  • Leaders, do you view your role as a shepherd or discipler of ministry workers providing the training and resources they need to effectively serve along with on-going encouragement, affirmation, and feedback, praying for and with them?
 
When these elements infiltrate all you do as a leader in staffing, whether with paid or volunteer staff, the particulars tend to fall into place.
 
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