Let’s not pretend that nothing happened.
6 | TRAIN THE BOARD
Crucial to healthy treatment of Christian
leaders in churches and ministries is developing healthy relationships between
board members and the leaders they
Most of the board members who lead
churches and ministries work in secular
companies where human resources policies are well defined to adhere to provincial labour laws around hiring, firing,
compensation, health and safety. Yet
these standards are not always known,
understood or implemented in Christian
ministry workplaces. According to Hall,
this results in a gap between a best practices ideal for human resources in secular
workplaces versus some Christian ministries playing catch-up.
Local churches, perhaps with the help
of denominational leadership, could
address this issue by training board
members about the moral, ethical and
legal issues of staff management. Without access to some human resources
expertise, the organization is destined to
face personnel challenges, loss of reputation for mishandling personnel or even
Finally, take the time
In the secular workplace, companies
usually hire a human resources specialist
when they reach a hundred employees.
Given that most churches and ministries
are a long way from that number, it is not
surprising that there are very few human
resources professionals on the staff of
Christian organizations. Without professional expertise Christian ministries
often end up doing the bare minimum
when it comes to job descriptions, employee evaluations, training and professional development, and having best
practices human resources policies in
place around hiring and firing.
Hall notes that many ministry leaders
say they don’t have time to put human resources policies and procedures in place.
“You don’t have time not to do this,”
says Hall. “Human resources needs to be
part of the strategic planning process for
a church ministry.” Beyond just focusing
on program goals and fundraising goals, a
church needs to look at the people impli-
cations of those goals and provide the
right resources for the people to be
trained, engaged, encouraged, evaluated
and productive in their roles.
“Spend up front to hire well and manage
well, and this will actually save the ministry money down the road,” says Hall. /FT
Richelle Wiseman is a communications consultant and
freelance writer in Calgary.
BUILDING COMMUNITIES OF BELONGING