I have had many mentors in my ministry; some of them were unaware that they were mentors to me. One of them is Belton Joyner. While I am sure he doesn’t remember it, we were on the same legislative committee at General Conference 2004. I always found his voice to be one of reason and calm.
He wrote several years ago about how you empower your church staff to do good work. I think this extends not just to staff, but to volunteer church positions as well. Micromanaging ANYTHING is always a mistake, and to do so in the church stifles leadership, discipleship, and the Spirit. Permit me to share the acronym B E S T as the Rev. Joyner explains it:
Believe in the staff. This motivates staff members and releases their potential. By believing in them you engage, equip, and empower staff members to succeed at what they do, and, in turn, your own success increases.You have to give credit where credit is due. We choose people to do a job and then we should allow them to do it! I do my best to “butt out” of stuff unless I’m asked for help, because I know I can’t build leadership if I don’t allow it to develop.
Encourage the staff. Let them know their work is important and personally appreciated by you. Publicly compliment them. Empower staff members by delegating responsibility to them whenever possible.
Share with the staff. Create an environment where communication, creativity, and specific expectations are a clear part of the culture.
Trust the staff. Trust is the glue that holds the staff together. Increase staff members’ freedom and responsibility as trust develops. Don’t get involved in every detail of their work. Trust them to try out new ideas and encourage them if they fail.
I don’t think any of these things apply just to staff – I think they apply to all church leadership. I hope you will think about all of these things in the days to come. If you are asked to serve on a board or committee, I hope you will prayerfully consider it – and know how I feel about volunteer church positions. I certainly want to help and support all of our church staff and officers – but God gave you gifts that are unique to you! We need them, and I don’t want to stifle them!!!