The effort is there, but not the results. How do you proceed?
By Paul Clark
Have you ever had to let a church staff member go—even though they gave everything they had—because they still weren't hitting the mark? That's a painful and difficult transition to manage, and one that many churches don't always navigate in a healthy way.
There are many reasons why people transition off of church staffs. Some are positive, such as the instance when a pastor or staff member feels God's call to leave in order to expand their ministry or challenge their gifts.
Other transitions are more painful, but not necessarily difficult. When a staff member must be dismissed for negligence, a breach of ethics, or some moral failure, it is painful, but the path forward is fairly well documented. Human resources specialists have clearly established the steps necessary to sever the employment relationship and protect the church in the process.
The transitions that are most troublesome are the ones that are necessary because the individual simply doesn't possess the required gifts and skills to fulfill the expectations of the position. The person may be the most sincere in the world, and loved by everyone, but he or she simply cannot fulfill the job description and meet the standards set. It's a case of the right person in the wrong position. If you can't slide that person into a more suitable role, then you have to transition that person from the staff.
That's never easy, and it's a scenario that keeps church leaders awake at night. In my years of church management experience, I've seen situations handled with godly acuity and I've seen situations fumbled poorly. The following guidelines can help as you navigate the transition of a member from your staff.
Until next time...share the journey and enjoy the ride!