"[The church] has a mixed record for managing and developing staff," says Jim Wagner, general manager of the Worship Facilities Conference and Expo (WFX) and publisher of Worship Facilities media. "In fact, finding, developing and retaining staff and volunteers may be the church's greatest challenge."
It's easy to think churches are the easiest workplace in which to lead and perform, and in many respects, they are. But as with any industry, there are challenges among the advantages.
"[Churches] tend to hire and hold onto people because they're nice, but just because someone is nice doesn't mean they're right for the role," says Wagner. "Then it becomes difficult to manage issues that arisethat's hard."
While perfection isn't the goal, there are changes every church can make to improve the way they think about and handle recruitment, development and management of staff and volunteers. Practical, useful advice in these areas will be provided in the Staff Development Learning Module at this year's WFX in Nashville. "There are a bunch of topics we feel are important for churches," says Wagner.
The module's sessions will be presented by senior, executive and worship pastors from around the nation, as well as stewardship consultants, and will provide real world case studies and solutions for the staff issues churches face daily.
Here's a closer look at the broad categories to be covered:
Training, Discipleship and Development
Contrary to the secular world of business, excellent employee development in the church realm may result in employees leaving to go and develop others, otherwise known as discipleship. The module's sessions will provide insight into this aspect of staff development, but will also explore the concept of multiplicationtraining many to do similar jobs, which is especially effective for multi-site churchesand the art of guiding people to roles that are best for them based on their gifts.
"Churches have an advantage in that spiritual gifts naturally cause people to gravitate to where they will grow, prosper and do well," says Wagner.
Management and Procedures
Although procedures aren't everybody's favorite part of leadership, they are integral. Sessions will look at development of procedures and principles that are culturally relevant and Biblically based.
"Secular businesses define roles and expectations well. The church often doesn't do this well, or at all. Sometimes job descriptions are written based on the personality and abilities of the person currently in the role," says Wagner. "The church can learn to do this without being harsh or mean-spirited. It can be accomplished with grace."
Overall, session leaders will delve into what it looks like to be management and ministry-minded and how to establish expectations that get the job done, while also helping staff and volunteers grow professionally and spiritually.
Finally, through case studies and discussion, module sessions will explore what effective conflict resolution looks like in the church workplace.
"[Conflict resolution] is definitely needed because we're dealing with humans and different personalities. Just look at the difference between pastors, tech leaders and administration," says Wagner.
Acknowledging the inherent presence of everyday conflict, discussions will cover the basics of identifying potential conflicts and understanding them, but will also share experience-based insights into more granular areas, like how to align worship and tech leaders and leverage their respective outgoing and introverted personalities.
WFX will be held in Nashville November 18-19. To learn more about the conference and the Staff Development Learning Module, visit WFXweb.