Read an Excerpt
Why Read This Book?
I remember the first time, as an associate minister, I was privileged to perform the sacrament of baptism. After the service,
a rather prominent leader in the church critically approached our senior minister and pointedly and purposefully asked, 'Did the baptisms performed by Doug this evening count?'
That question reported back to me was devastating news. I could not believe the ignorance (my thought at the time) of that comment. It was insensitive. It hurt. As an associate, I was perceived differently; there was an honest lack of understanding of my role and relationship to the body of Christ. My credentials were not really recognized and it did not even seem to matter that I was ordained. I was a ministry staff member, not the senior or lead minister.
Throughout the years, members of the congregations where I served as a ministry staff member would ask questions such as, 'When are you going to become a real pastor?' or, 'When are you going to get your own church?'
or, 'How long will you be with us?' After a while, I learned that most people,
including many ministry staff members themselves, have differing views of what it means to be a ministry staff member. For some, it is a 'steppingstone'
to a senior leadership role. For others, it's a resident internship to discover if this is what they really want to do for the next thirty-plus years.
Very few understand that a person in ministry could be called by God to just that place and would be content to serve as an associate for their entire ministry life. Given such unfocused definitions, it's no wonder that people often have a weak perception of the ministry staff member.
The Ministry Staff Member is designed and developed to paint a clear picture of the role and responsibilities of volunteers and paid staff members in every area of Christian ministry. It was written to encourage a church congregation or parachurch ministry to appreciate and honor all those who serve; to inspire renewed confidence in ministry staff members serving Jesus
Christ and the family of faith with the gifts and competencies that God has given; and, most of all, to foster unity among those who work alongside one another in the body.
When I think of 'staff members' in the Old Testament, I think of men and women such as Joshua, Caleb, Ruth, Esther, and Elisha. I think of their courage, of their impact on thousands in their day and the millions who have followed their example. I am reminded how God uniquely used them unlike any other in their time. When I read the New Testament, I think first of Jesus and his twelve 'ministry staff members.' Then my mind goes to Paul, Barnabas,
John Mark, Lydia, Martha, Silas, and Timothy. I begin to imagine how they struggled, shared, sacrificed, and served. And the more I think of them,
the more the twenty-plus 'one another' exhortations of the New Testament come alive as characteristics that must have surely marked the spirit of their lives.
The role of a ministry staff member cannot be communicated without considering the underlying character qualities of submission and humility.
The greatest model is Jesus Christ. He was submissive to the Father, giving up the splendor of his heavenly throne and glorious 'rights' as he served among us (Philippians 2:6 -- 7). He is our example, our model to imitate, the
One every ministry staff member can follow.
It all comes down to obedience to what God has asked us to do. For some it is to serve as a volunteer. For some it is to serve as a senior or lead minister.
For some of us, our act of obedience is service as a ministry staff member.
And that is God's idea. As I wrote this book, I was constantly aware of my thirty-one years of service as a ministry staff member. I wore many hats and had many titles related to youth ministry, music, adult ministries, single adult ministry, and administration. Through every topic in this handbook I
saw my own failures and weaknesses. I was reminded how at times I failed people and did not always honor God. Yet I found moments in my memories to thank God for wonderful coaches, mentors, and people he brought into my life and ministry. I would not delete one year of my experience as a ministry staff member.
What Will You Discover in The Ministry Staff Member ?
Inside The Ministry Staff Member are anecdotes, dialogue, and action points from seasoned ministry staff members' experiences. The ideas are practical and useful because they have already been tested and tried. They do more than make sense. They work. And applied carefully and prayerfully,
they can work for you too.
The short stories you read in each chapter are real. Of course, the names, places, roles, and situations have all been changed. Yet each character comes from real-life ministry experience. No matter where you are in ministry, you will likely find some of the narratives to be rather familiar.
The Scripture passages referenced or quoted in each chapter are God's truth and principles for effective ministry and leadership. Read each text carefully, either as you go along or later. Read the context. Discover the greater narrative. And find the joy of God working in the lives of ordinary men and women.
The sidebars are simple, quick reference tools to grab out of the ministry toolbox at any time. Each one features well thought-out principles that can provide the kind of support and advice that may trigger the right response for your ministry goals and objectives. Use them. Share them with others.
Teach them to your colleagues and ministry staff members.
This book applies to every staff person engaged in ministry. That includes:
* Youth pastors and children's ministry leaders
* Youth campus leaders, including Young Life and Campus Life directors
* Collegiate ministry directors, including InterVarsity, Campus
Crusade for Christ, and Navigator staff
* Single adult ministry and senior adult leaders
* Christian education directors and adult ministry leaders
* Women's and men's ministry staff leaders
* Associate pastors, teaching pastors, mission pastors, and visitation pastors
* Music directors, worship leaders, choral and orchestral directors
* Business managers, facility managers, technicians, and information system managers
* Executive pastors, lead pastors, chefs, custodians
* The countless volunteers who work diligently and faithfully. . .
* . . . and of course, your title and role that is not listed above
Chapters 31 -- 35 are written specifically to the senior pastor, senior leader, lead pastor, executive director, and the governing board members.
While each ministry staff member will do well to know the content of these chapters, there are certain responsibilities which fall on the ministry leaders'
shoulders. The staff members serving in your ministry are your responsibility before God and others. Treat them as gifts from God. Treat them as you would desire to be treated.
God desires that we pursue godliness (1 Timothy