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Why You Can’t Wait to Fire That Staff Member


One of the biggest challenges senior leadership face is the decision to release a staff member.  In the past, about the only reason a staff member had to worry about being released by a church was if he or she was caught in immorality.  Today, churches do a much better job of evaluating and setting expectations for staff members. However, with all the homework done, it still can be very difficult to release a staff member.

Having the ability to release a staff member really begins when you hire that person.  Ministries throughout America are robbed of their full potential because  people serving on their staffs are “un-fireable” due to their standings within the congregation. A recent trend has churches hiring staff from within their membership in large numbers. At the time of their hiring, this question should be asked, “What will the ramifications be if  this person does not work out and we have to release him or her?” We often hire high capacity volunteers only to find out that they were a much better volunteer than they are a staff member. When a spouse of or a key lay person is released, the result is often the lost of that couple and their service and financial support as well.

Churches will move an ineffective staff member to another position rather than release them. While sometimes we simply have a person in the wrong position, more often than not if a person is ineffective in one position, it will be the same in the next position. Now we have done harm to 2 areas of ministry.  We have taken the time and resources to train that person in 2 different areas with nothing to show for it but 2 frustrated department heads. We still have to deal with the situation.

Another factor that we often struggle with is the thought that: “we will loose a lot of members who are loyal to that staff member if we fire them.”  The real question is how any people are you loosing every week because of the ineffectiveness of that staff member?  The price of people lost can be much higher by letting that staff member stay rather than releasing him or her.

The real fact that we should consider is this: Every day we allow a person to  stay in a position where they are not effective, we are hurting them and the ministry that God has put us in. We are keeping the person from finding the place where they can be a “10”.  We are also missing out on the opportunity to reach the people God is going to hold us accountable for reaching.

When God says, “Let him go!” We should be efficiently obedient. We should be generous with severance and honest in words. But care more about the lost than  the immature saved who might not understand. The stakes have eternal ramifications.  Don’t wait!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ray Woolridge permalink
    09/12/2009 9:32 am

    Lamar, preach it, bro! Wish I, and we, had consistently lived this out, for you are exactly right.

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