3 Reasons Churches Need Objective Eyes
By: Sarah Robins
I spend most of my day talking with church leaders, search committees, and elder boards from all over the country. The topics of conversation range widely, from pastoral succession to growing pains, church splits to children’s pastors, millennials to compensation studies, and the list goes on.
Our team sees the inside of hundreds of churches a year, so we experience and hear the ins and outs of some of the best-run churches in the nation. One of the largest trends we’ve seen among the fastest growing and best run churches is that they’ve continually sought outside consultation and help. These churches have recognized that they are not experts in something they need to accomplish, be it a capital campaigns, graphic design, hiring, growth strategy, etc. and are turning to consultants and organizations that are the experts.
There are many benefits to seeking outside, objective help for your church team; here are the biggest three.
1. A balanced and well-run staff
Team building is our favorite topic here at Vanderbloemen Search Group, because we both love what we do and love our team. As a growing staff, there’s a distinct, value-driven culture among our team. We love working together and are often together after hours enjoying each other’s company. But it’s not all fun and games – we’re a hard-working, solution-driven bunch, and there’s a great deal of diversity of talents, personalities, and strengths on our team.
Too often, we’ve worked with church staffs that get along great but have a hard time accomplishing things, being strategic, and moving forward. We've also worked with church staffs that get things done but have no staff chemistry and are siloed. A cohesive staff environment is crucial, but if the status quo is never being challenged or sharpened, your staff will miss out on some incredible things God can do through you.
Bringing in outside help to examine the “holes” and needs of your team structure and culture is vital to any organization. A consultant has the ability to ask tough questions with an unclouded and unbiased view of what’s working and what’s missing. They’ve put in the time over the years to recognize where reorganization is needed or where gifts aren’t being utilized. They’ve seen church growth and impact first-hand and what kind of team it takes to get there.
2. More time to focus on ministry and the church body
It’s a given that you won’t always be able to focus 100% of your time on ministry. There are operational and administrative tasks for every position on a church staff. But, if you’ve ever run a capital campaign, done a website overhaul, or hired a new staff member, you know how much unplanned time that takes away from you and your team.
We recently completed an Associate Pastor search for a church in Southern California, and at the end of our search, their Executive Pastor told me: “I know we had a search committee, but this would have taken us months on our own!” This same church was also launching a new strategic plan AND starting a capital campaign. They wisely brought in a consultant to help plan and manage the capital campaign, and along with our help in staffing, their leadership team was able to maintain their focus on their church and team’s needs and vision-casting – not to mention save hundreds of hours of their valuable time.
3. Reduces fear and anxiety
The beginning of any new venture – be it a new hire, a consultation, or a website overhaul – is almost always coupled with feelings of fear. Is this the right move? Will this actually help us grow? What if we get it wrong?
This fear can’t ever be completely alleviated, but it can be lessened when you have someone else walking alongside you and guiding you through it, especially if that person has expertise in the project you’re tackling. Rather than fearing whether you’re doing things “the right way,” you and your team can trust the expert you’ve brought in to help you because they've walked the path before you.
When we begin a new staff member or senior leader search with a church, the heaviness and fear is not lost on us. You’d better believe we’re on our knees about that new hire as well. The difference is that we have a lot more experience under our belts and an entire team committed to every search.
Following the example of some of the fastest-growing churches in America, we’d encourage your church to prayerfully seek outside, objective eyes for your important decisions, as needed (for example, Generis is awesome help for accelerating generosity in churches. Tony Morgan's The Unstuck Group helps churches get unstuck through vision alignment). If you have any staffing needs on your church team, we’d be honored to serve you.
We’re passionate about church teams and team building. Blessings on your team as you seek God’s direction for your church and build the Kingdom!
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