A pastor manages people—some volunteers and some employees. Even the small church usually finds room in its budget to hire a part-time secretary or janitor. These are staff the pastor must oversee. And it doesn't take long to learn that staff members—even part-time—if ineffectively managed, can undercut a church's ministry. Effectively managed, they can strengthen a church's ministry immeasurably.
Effective management of staff begins with the hiring process. A church will not be tripped up as much if this first step is taken well. But even the wisest of churches ends up with ineffective employees who need supervision, redirection, and perhaps termination. Mastering church management means learning to hire and, yes, fire.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring
Before we get to specifics, a few preliminary questions must be answered.
When is it time to replace volunteers with employees? Some believe that the ideal church should manage itself with only volunteers. Ideal or not, most churches quickly see that lay leadership needs to be supplemented with hired staff. But how do you know when to supplement? We hire when I see one of three situations develop.
First, we hire if the volunteer becomes overworked in his or her job. Early in one of my churches, I discovered that the treasurer of the church, a man at ease with numbers and spreadsheets, had to spend 20 hours a week doing the church's books. That was unfair to him and unfair to his family. So we brought on a part-time bookkeeper.