Staff: The Right People, On the Right Bus, In the Right Seat

I love the game of baseball,  I have from an early age.  I started in little league and played through high school baseball.  My career ended at high school for multiple reasons, but the primary reason was my inability to hit the curve ball with any consistency. 

It was my lid.  I was above average in a few areas of the game, but this one glaring weak spot kept me from playing at the next level.

It was, and is, this lid that not only ended my baseball career, but so many other baseball players with way more athletic ability than I.  Rising minor leaguers with all the athletic talent in the world who cannot consistently hit the curve ball are doomed to a life without reaching their dream.  The dream that we baseball lovers affectionately call Major League Baseball.

It isn’t talent or the love of the game holding them back or the ability to run or throw. It is the inability to lift the lid off of hitting a baseball, traveling eighty plus miles an hour, appearing as if it is going to take off the batters head, but eventually ends perfectly in the strike zone.

Lids of church health and ministry impact

Churches are the same way.  Every church has certain lids keeping them from maximizing their ministry impact and health.  If these lids are not lifted they will most certainly keep a church from reaching her full potential.

Over the last decade of working with churches of all shapes and sizes, Healthy Growing Churches has identified seven lids that show up most often.  We call them the 7 S’s of church health.  Over the next couple of months, we want to blog about each of them. We hope to spark an ongoing conversation about what churches can do to address each lid.

Let’s deal first with church staffing.  Staffing obviously includes those who are on the church’s payroll, but could also be extended to some key unpaid volunteers or other key leaders in the church.

Is your staff a lid for ministry effectiveness?

StaffJohn Maxwell had it right when he said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”  That’s a tough pill to swallow for any pastor or church that needs to stare down some staffing issues that are creating lids for ministry effectiveness.  But the reality is, the pastor and/or the team of staff could be impeding the church’s health and ability to multiply.  The stakes are simply too high to not address this, or any of the other six church health issues.

You may have heard some version of the Jim Collin’s quote from his best selling book, “Good to Great.”  It goes something like this, “Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”

The challenging issue of staff lids

There may be no issue more challenging for a leader to address than this one.  It’s tough for multiple reasons:

First, it demands we wrestle with whether we are the right person on the right bus and in the right seat. In other words, am I as a pastor functioning in my most gifted area?  If the answer to that question is yes then we have to figure out what other leadership lids are at work and how I can break through them.  I have spent multiple seasons of my ministry fighting through leadership lids.  It isn’t easy, but it is an incredibly rewarding journey because it brings greater impact for the leader and the church they lead.

If you aren’t the right leader or you are on the wrong bus or even in the wrong seat; then it imperative you transition for the Kingdom.  God has a new spot for you and someone else to lead where you currently are.  It won’t be easy, but remember what is a stake: your maximum effectiveness in the church and the church’s effectiveness in the Kingdom.

Second, it challenges us to ask the same question about some key people God has placed on our team.  Ask yourself, “do I have the right people in the right seats around me?” as you process through your current potential staffing lids.  If the answer is yes then great!  If the answer is no, we have to figure out the delicate path forward. We have to figure out how to get people on and off the bus or in the right seats.  As hard as that might be, church health, impact, and ministry effectiveness hang in the balance. We believe in eternity we will see it was worth the risk of some crucial conversations.

Our response?

This is one of the reasons we created our Level 1 assessment.  It is a 2 hour online video debrief. The debrief includes seven reports which give clear insights into a person’s unique wiring and calling.  The written report is always affirming of how a person is “fearfully and wonderfully made” in the image of God.  From this reflective time, it is obvious where a person’s right seat and bus would be.  If you are interested, contact me

So, does your church have a lid?  Is it a staffing lid?  What do you plan to do about it?

Post contributed by Tom Planck, HGC Healthy Church Catalyst.