1. Invest in your church management knowledge and skills. We received an encouraging note from a student who completed the "Principles of Church Administration" online course we offer in partnership with North Park University:
After 16 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I started working part-time in 2014 at our church as the bookkeeper. …When I saw this class advertised in the "Church Law and Tax" eNewsletter, my mind was instantly changed about going to school again. I spoke with my direct supervisor and she agreed that this class would be beneficial to not only my future, but to our church as a whole. I plan to share what I learn with the rest of the office staff, and hopefully together we can improve the way we do administration.
I was humbled when I read this. I was struck by the way God has used our work to inspire and equip someone he has called to serve in a church. Perhaps even more striking was the anticipated ripple effect this leader's learning will create within her church.
The course will be offered again this August and enrollment has already started. It features content and videos by Richard Hammar and Michael Batts, plus two weeks of interactive Q&A with Rich through a discussion forum. Maybe you, like this other reader, sense a desire to learn and grow in your duties. This is your chance to do it—and earn graduate-level credit in the process. Apply now because the class size is kept small to enhance the online learning experience. And as a valued Church Law & Tax reader, remember to follow the special instructions to receive our special 35 percent discount.
2. With staff meetings, make timely decisions. “Keep the meeting moving. Either internally or on the agenda, set a time limit for how long a discussion should take on each item. … Some agenda items can take months from origination, evaluation, and implementation to review. Acknowledge the time factor in lengthy decisions. Stay on an agenda item long enough to have robust conversation. You may find that the item needs to be delegated to others for further work. Make a decision or defer further discussion to another meeting” (“7 Key Principles for Leading a Meeting,” by David Fletcher, xpastor.org).
3. Be direct when someone is missing the mark. “Be direct with employees and colleagues, so they have a clear action plan when something is not working well.Tell them what is at stake and the necessary steps to resolve issues together. At the end of the conversation, repeat the new agreement to make sure everyone is on the same page. Do not choose to cushion the conversation to minimize any negative impact. This may include giving compliments, slipping in the actual issue during small talk, or changing subjects so quickly the other person doesn’t have a chance to digest the problem” (“Three Tips to Be More Honest in the Workplace,” by Fierce Inc).
4. State the other side’s view during a conflict. “If you validate your counterpart’s perspective, expertise, and feelings, you will keep the conflict focused on the issue. Use language that demonstrates that you value the other person’s perspective. For example, say something like, ‘I think this is a really important issue that we need to talk through openly.’ … You can also validate someone by repeating back to them what you heard them say: ‘From your perspective, this is about…’ These tactics can reduce defensiveness and increase the speed with which you get to a mutually agreeable solution” (When an Argument Gets Too Heated, Here’s What to Say,” by Liane Davey, hbr.org).
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