When it comes to pastors, as well as ministry and nonprofit leaders, there are hundreds of choices on your radar. In fact, leadership in many ways is about making the right decisions at the right time: short range, long range, strategy, vision – the list goes on. However, there’s one decision that is far more important than most ministry leaders realize:
Hiring the right department managers.
Hear me out here: The truth is, few pastors or ministry leaders are trained in hiring, and as a result, they either pass it off to someone else, or just hire on an emotional or gut level. But when it comes to those leading your departments, the wrong hire can literally destroy everything you’ve worked for all these years – because they have influence over entire teams.
For instance, in my consulting work over the years, I’ve encountered church or ministry department heads who were:
– Embezzling from the ministry.
– Making deals with outside firms so that when the church rented equipment, they would get a personal cut under the table.
– Subjecting their employees to humiliation and ridicule.
– Prioritizing vendor payments based on which would give them kickbacks.
– Behind the scenes, doing the opposite of direct instructions from the pastor.
– Driving donors away because of their behavior.
– Rarely showing up, and blaming others when deadlines were missed.
And that doesn’t count the many who simply fought against my advice as well as other consultants and vendors simply because they didn’t agree, were insecure about their job, or were over their heads. Disagreement is one thing, but refusing to change – even while the ministry is crashing and burning – is something else entirely.
And here’s the scary part: Many of these department heads are masters at “leading up,” so the pastor or ministry leader doesn’t see it. But other employees do, and it’s creating tension, bitterness, and anger throughout the organization – not to mention the fact that it’s blocking your vision from happening.
Leaders – your department managers can make you or break you, so make sure you have the right people in place. If you’ve noticed that things aren’t happening on schedule, your vision isn’t becoming reality, employees are losing their enthusiasm, or momentum has hit a wall, it might be time to look closer at your department managers.
There are many great ones out there, and when the good ones are unleashed, they can completely elevate your message and ministry to another level.
That’s one decision you need to get right.