Staff/Volunteer or Paid, “Am I an asset, or a liability?” by Jeff Watson

An asset is defined as a useful or valuable thing, person or quality. Every minister, whether senior pastor, campus pastor, staff pastor, or volunteer, wants to be an asset to the ministry they are currently serving. Ask anyone who has been in ministry for any length of time, they certainly don’t want to be a liability to their organization.

Being on staff, I want to write this article specifically to staff pastors. There comes a time in every ministry when the self-evaluation needs to take place. Unfortunately, many times we wait until the length of time between victories is getting further and further apart. Evaluation time doesn’t have to come only when times are rough, it needs to happen when great things are happening. At Snyder First Assembly, we perform formal yearly evaluations to analyze ministries, or a minister’s effectiveness. This evaluation is not a substitution for weekly staff meetings. If they are off -track, there is still time to correct things. The same can be said for volunteers. Even though they are not paid staff, regularly scheduled evaluation needs to be done to gauge their performance. There are always areas in which we can all improve.

Whether you are facing a very positive reason for evaluation, or a negative reason, you need to ask yourself the question:

Am I an asset, or a liability?

There are a few things to consider when asking yourself this question.

1) Control- Does every decision that gets made in my department have to go through me?

Being a staff pastor, you are likely in charge of more than one area in the church. You are probably in charge of home groups, Sunday School, Youth or kids activities, Wednesday night activities, etc. If every decision in each department has to be made with your approval, you are a liability to your church. Your ministry effectiveness is bottle-necked by your need for control. Allow those around you who are helping you in ministry to make decisions. Bad decisions, when done with the right motives, are better than non-decisions. Allow those working under you to take ownership of the church. When you have owners, you have leaders.

2) Communication - Do your volunteers know what your vision is for the department?

If your volunteers working with you cannot effectively communicate to others what the central vision of the church is, how will they make ministry decisions that point toward that goal? Does the vision for your department fall in line with the overall vision of the church? Good decisions get made when the pastor and volunteers are on the same page, working toward the same goal.

3.) Capability - Am I capable of doing this job effectively with my skills?

As a minister, I understand that if I were to be gone tomorrow, the work of the ministry would still continue. I don’t think that any of us think so highly of ourselves that no one else could do the job that we do. There is any number of people that I can think of, just off the top of my head that could do better at my job than me. Instead of it being a negative, it drives me to improve my skill set to match my job description. We have a staff member that is much better at socializing with members of the church than me. He knows people’s names that I have never even heard of that have visited the church. So, I have made an effort to be more social and visit people more often. If you are not willing to improve your skill set, maybe you could be more effective at a different position. I have seen it dozens of times. You take someone who is struggling to make it as a youth pastor in a town, they move somewhere else, and explode with growth! What happened? Did they suddenly develop skills that they didn’t have before? Of course not. The skills they possessed matched the capabilities needed at the position. Furthermore, conferences and seminars are a great way to gain insight and skill to do your job more effectively.

 

4.) Collaboration - Am I working in collaboration with those who are in ministry with me? If I’m not, how can I change that?

It has been stated that no man is an island. We must work together as a team, with the common goal in mind to reach people with the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a staff member, it is vital that you realize that you are on the same team as others who are also on staff. Youth is not in competition with kids church. Home groups are not in competition with a community outreach. We cannot afford to be Lone Ranger. Even Jesus told his disciples to pray for more workers, because the harvest is plentiful. There is a lot to learn from those around us. Older ministers can learn new ways of doing things from younger ministers. Younger ministers can learn how to stick it out in ministry, even when it would be easier to give up, from older ministers. And we can all learn from other staff members who do things differently than us.

We all have a part to play in the ministry. Whether you are an asset or a liability is up to you. You determine if you contribute to, or take away from, your effectiveness in the ministry.

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

 

Jeff Watson

Family Pastor

Snyder First Assembly

pastorjeff@snyderfirstassembly.org