Friday, April 16, 2010

Adding Staff On Purpose

By Tom Holladay

Everything begins with leadership. Without a leader, the greatest plan in the world is just a piece of paper. It takes a leader to make it happen. If you want to help your congregation balance the five purposes of the church, you’ll need leaders to help champion these purposes.


That doesn’t mean you need to find paid staff to fulfill these roles. Some of the best “staff” we have at Saddleback are volunteer staff members. But you do need somebody.

How do you find the right person – whether they are volunteer or paid?

You start by knowing your purpose. You’ll want a champion (again, staff or volunteer) for each of the purposes of the church (worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism/missions). You build your idea of a leader around where you want people to go. That’s what God has always done. When he wanted people to go from Egypt to the promised land, he found a leader named Moses to take them there. When he wanted to find a leader to take them into the promised land, he found Joshua because he knew where he wanted his people to go.

God develops leaders based on where his people are going. That’s what Christian leadership is all about. You want people to worship more deeply, develop meaningful relationships within the church, grow like Christ, serve in the church, and share their life mission in the world? Find leaders who can take them there.

So as you look for leaders to champion the biblical purposes, who are you looking for?

1. A person with passion: You want a person who has a heart that burns for this purpose, a passion for it. I’ve always had a passion for discipleship, helping people become more like Christ, and in the places where I have served, people have tended to grow spiritually. When I first came to Saddleback, the spiritual maturity team was an obvious place for me to serve. I’m sure you know people in your church who are passionate about a particular purpose, and when they serve through that purpose, people simply respond. That’s where you have to start in your search. Look through your church membership for people who have this kind of passion for a particular purpose.

2. A person who likes people: You want to find someone who can lead and likes people. Leadership is a “people job.” A person can have all kinds of passion for a purpose, but if they don’t like people, it’s not going to work.

3. A person with perspective: A person’s passion for a purpose must be tempered by the understanding that all the purposes are needed. A person must realize that just helping somebody have a quiet time is not enough; we must be living out all of the biblical purposes.

You probably already have some people in mind to be these purpose champions. As you are thinking about these people, ask yourself these three questions.
  • Do they have the biblical, character, and ministry-related qualifications to do this? Do they have the S.H.A.P.E.? You want the person you choose to be a fit for the position. What kind of qualifications and S.H.A.P.E. is needed depends upon your church and the position you’re trying to fill. Spend some time thinking about what you need and what you expect – then see if the candidate is the right person for the position.
  • Do they accept the vision? Great ministry qualifications never make up for a difference in ministry vision. In fact choosing someone who has the qualifications but not the same vision as you do can tear your church apart.
  • Are they willing to do the work? Obviously, you need somebody who can give the time. Remember you want to find a person who can really sink his or her teeth into the assignment. Whoever champions these purposes will have an important task in the church. Even if they are coming in as a volunteer, you’ll want to make sure they have time to fulfill the role.
I’m confident that God has someone for these positions in your church. You can’t build a church around God’s purposes on your own. You’ll burn yourself out trying. Look around in your church and see who can fill these roles. Ask God to send you just the right person – and watch him do just that.

Tom Holiday is an executive and teaching pastor at Saddleback Church. Tom is the author of The Relationship Principles of Jesus and the co-author of Foundations with Kay Warren.

Until next time...share the journey and enjoy the ride!

Pat