7 WARNING SIGNS WHEN HIRING STAFF

Dan Reiland shares this seasoned counsel on a vital leadership process in the church. – STEVE

Hiring someone to join your staff is one of the coolest things ever, and simultaneously can scare you spitless.

Especially if you’ve ever had a newly hired staff person go from a dream come true to your worst nightmare.

I always love the privilege to get to add someone to the team. It represents newness, progress and taking new territory. But it’s far better to have an unfilled position, no matter how long it takes, rather than hire the wrong person.

The hiring process is complicated, it’s honestly a study in human nature. Even done well, you never remove all the risks. But there are certain things you can watch for.

Over the course of three decades of hiring experience, I have observed definite patterns and behaviors that either draw me in or drive me away from a potential staff member.

Snap judgments and quick opinions are never wise, but there are specific caution flags that I’ve learned that should not be ignored.

Sometimes a caution flag turns out to be no big deal. It’s just a small piece of the candidate’s story, and in context of their larger story, it’s not something that defines who they are as a person.

In order to grasp and fully understand this kind of nuance in a person’s story it requires that you:

  • Pay close attention during the interview process.
  • Ask open ended questions, ask for stories, and ask more questions directly from their answers.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask tough questions.
  • Involve a team, and never have only one person make the hiring decision.
  • Never rush the process.

I’m sure you could add a warning flag or two, but here are seven you should not ignore.

7 Major Warning Signs:

1) It seems like a job more than a calling.

I’m not suggesting that you over spiritualize or even romanticize the hiring process. The position receives a paycheck, but it’s also a church and a sense of calling needs to be evident to some degree.

It’s a delicate balance I know; you don’t want to have someone play the God card.

For example, “God told me He wants me here.” There must be room for God to speak to both parties. But a genuine sense from the candidate that God is in the process is vital.

2) Their spouse is not fully supportive of the idea.

If the spouse isn’t enthusiastic, you need to proceed with great caution.

If the candidate says, “My husband or wife will get happy when we get here,” no they won’t. If they aren’t happy about the decision before they join the team, it only gets worse after. Don’t force it no matter how much you like the person.

It’s not that you are “interviewing” the spouse, but you do want to get to know them. It’s also important that they attend worship at your church at least once and love it.

They need to want to attend your church, not just work there.

3) Spiritual life and community appear to take a back seat to advancement.

It’s good to know the potential staff member has aspirations to rise in responsibility within the organization. Ambition is good. But there’s more to this idea.

It’s true that you are hiring a person to fulfill a specific responsibility. Be very clear on your expectations. However, in the local church, spiritual life and community cannot be separated from the job.

It’s critical that your candidate expresses a genuine longing to grow as a Christian, be part of your community, and develop in their spiritual maturity.

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HOW TO HANDLE AMBIGUITY AND UNCERTAINTY

Dan Rockwell tackles a topic that so many leaders face daily and struggle with constantly. – Steve

Uncertainty finds comfort in nostalgia.

Those who run from ambiguity and uncertainty are bound to repeat the past.

Uncertainty and humility:

The higher you go in organizational life, the lower your tolerance for uncertainty.

Arrogance ties itself to status, position, and admiration.

Humility enables leaders to navigate uncertainty and ambiguity, but uncertainty repels arrogance.

Humility knows itself and tolerates ambiguity and uncertainty.

Identity blurs into performance for arrogant leaders. Performance isn’t identity for humility.

Failure, learning and personal development fall by the wayside when arrogance controls leaders.

Humility and arrogance:

  1. Humility doesn’t need status. Arrogance compares, stands aloof, and puts others down.
  2. Humility is FOR others. Arrogance is FOR itself. Arrogance is stressed. It worries that it won’t get it’s due and fears losing status.
  3. Humility stands WITH. Arrogance stands above and against. Standing WITH creates freedom and gratitude. Standing above and against creates stress, anger, envy, contempt, and insecurity.

Read more at ROCKWELL

5 WAYS TO KEEP CRITICS AT BAY

Charles Stone has some wise counsel on an issue that affects and afflicts most leaders. It is part of a larger volume published by InterVarsity Press (see below) – Steve

5 WAYS TO KEEP CRITICS AT BAY

by Charles Stone

Criticism in ministry is never fun. And we often try to avoid our critics thinking that by keeping our distance, we can keep their criticism as bay. However, the opposite may be true. I’ve found that staying closer to them may actually lessen their criticism. Consider these five ways to keep your critics closer to you and their criticism away from you.

 Take the initiative.

Make a list of critics in your ministry that you currently avoid and with whom you need to (re) connect. Pray that they will respond to your initiatives to reach out. Ask the Lord to give you the courage to act. And determine the best way to reach each individual. Should you schedule a breakfast or lunch with him? If you do, be sure to communicate that you don’t have an agenda but that you simply want to connect. Or should you seek her out after a church service to chat? Perhaps you should perform a simple act of kindness.

I once dealt with a leader who would often cast a wary eye toward me. It seemed that I could never meet his expectations. He rarely affirmed me, and although he was not necessarily an open critic, his emotional field around me was seldom an attracting one. I knew his wife enjoyed gardening, and loved unique gardening tools. I saw an interesting hand tool in a flight magazine on a plane trip, so I ordered it for her. A few days after she got it, this leader gave me one of the few compliments I ever got from him; he thanked me for my thoughtfulness toward his wife and seemed truly appreciative. That small act of kindness helped keep me connected to this critic.

As you increase the frequency of contact with your critics, you will build trust. Someone once said, “Trust is a peculiar resource; it is built rather than depleted by use.” One final thought: some critics are so caustic that you need to keep your distance. Remember, you don’t need to maintain contact with every critic. Use your judgment.

Leverage the power of story.

Learn to share your story regularly with others. Let your critics know who you are and what makes you tick. That doesn’t mean you must share every intimate detail. Rather, open your heart to let others in. Be vulnerable to them. At the same time, learn your critic’s stories as well. In a non­intrusive way, express curiosity about his life and his story without overdoing it with questions. God may give you a broader perspective and insight to what fuels his criticism.

Put yourself in your critic’s shoes. Instead of mentally tagging her with a negative description, reframe your self-talk. Ask yourself, “I wonder why Jill acts likes she does. I wonder what she brings from her past that could be fueling her criticism.” Adopt a learning mindset rather than a judging one.

One way to share your story is through passion. I’m an introvert, and although I have good people skills, I’m not a party person. If given a choice, I’d rather read, be in a quiet place, connect one on one and stay out of the limelight. When on stage, though, I communicate passion. But I’ve realized that in day-to-day encounters, my introverted personality can sometimes convey to others that I lack passion, especially to extroverted leaders. When trying to connect with extroverted leaders, sometimes I’ve tried to force passion, which unfortunately can come across as emotional reactivity. I’m now learning to communicate more of my heart and passion through story, while staying true to how God created me. I now share more of my life when I preach and when I lead meetings. So, if you’re an introvert like me, you’ll probably have to work harder to communicate passion than if you’re an extrovert.

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FOR A FULLER TREATMENT GO TO: Used with permission of InterVarsity Press, Stone, Charles (2014-01-01). People-Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Approval-Motivated Leadership (Kindle Locations 2062-2098). Kindle Edition.

5 HONEST STRUGGLES MOST CHURCH LEADERS DON’T WANT TO ADMIT

This is one of the best leadership posts that I have read in the last week-STEVE

BY CARY NIEUWHOF

Most of us who get into full-time ministry do so because we sense a calling, not because it was a ‘career path’.

Chances are you got in this because you love God, deeply, right?

So it’s always a bit surprising and unusual then when ministry leaders find themselves struggling with the very God who called them into this in the first place. This is true whether you’re paid, bi-vocational or even a full-time volunteer.

Ministry can not only be hazardous to your spiritual health, it can be confusing.

But the good news is that struggling with God is normal. You are not alone.

The best leaders struggled with God.

Jacob wrestled an angel.

Moses almost quit more than a few times.

Jeremiah tried to quit but couldn’t.

Today’s struggles might be a bit different, but in some ways struggle is inevitable.

I personally have struggled with every one of the five challenges I outline in this post.  And what’s amazing to me is that you can get through them. You really can.

Sometimes all you need to know is you’re not alone. And you’re not, even if you feel that way.

Here are 5 ways ministry leaders struggle in their relationship with God:

1. You see setbacks in ministry as a personal statement from God about you

Hey, everybody thinks this way when life circumstances don’t tilt in their favor (why did God allow me to have cancer/lose this job/be in this place?). So it’s natural that this line of thinking would emerge in ministry.

Just because things aren’t going the way you want in ministry isn’t an automatic sign that God is angry with you. I’m always amazed that constant imprisonment didn’t cause Paul to second guess himself or God.

God isn’t always punishing you, even if it feels like he is.

The key is to take the setbacks in front of you seriously, not personally. You’ll be so much healthier.

2. You believe that greater faithfulness should result in greater impact in ministry 

Ever tried to improve your personal devotional life so your church would do better? Gosh, I wish this wasn’t true but in the early days of ministry, I really thought greater personal fervor would automatically translate into greater ministry impact.

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