Are donations tied to church staff development?
Let’s first define what church staff development is. It can take many forms from team building exercises to educational courses for pastors, treasurers, secretaries, and so on. It can be leadership training sessions or church administration classes for certification in one or more areas. The underlying theme in all of these, is the enrichment of the church staff to fine tune the skills they have, increase their knowledge, or develop new skills.
Some may believe that church staff don’t need ongoing training and education. My response is that most people in the work force get training on the job or training classes to become better at what they do. Church staff are no different. Many skills that are required for a senior pastor, a worship pastor, church administrator, and other church positions require ongoing professional enrichment just like any professional position. This is why there should be an annual budget for these activities for each church employee.
When leadership and church staff aren’t given the opportunity to advance their knowledge base or skills, like sermon content and delivery, the congregation as a whole suffers. For example, a senior pastor’s sermons may not offer new insights for the congregation to glean from. A treasurer may not know about new laws for accounting that affect churches, if he doesn’t stay updated with continuing education courses every so often. When a senior pastor or treasurer aren’t given the opportunity to expand their knowledge, what does that do for the people they lead? It hinders the group as a whole.
How is staff development tied to donations?
People are moved to donate to an organization many times by an emotional tie or they believe in the causes the organization’s stands for. Using the senior pastor example, what happens if new insights aren’t offered in sermons? People tend to grow disenchanted with the organization’s message. Some comments from the congregation may be — ‘I didn’t learn anything new during the sermon’ or ‘didn’t we just hear this same sermon a few months ago?’ So if people become disenchanted with the message, their emotional connection to the church becomes less, which may decrease their donations over time.
Using another example of the treasurer who accounts for donations. What happens if his training is not up to par and he/she accidentally accounts for the money without taking a new law into account? One of the fastest way people leave an organization is when their donations are not properly accounted for or distributed.
Quotes from Leaders:
- ‘Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other’ – John F Kennedy.
- ‘Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them’ – John C Maxwell
- ‘If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader’ – John Quincy Adams
- ‘Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower’ – Steve Jobs
- ‘The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership’ – Colin Powell
The examples above show how continuing training is needed in only two key areas of the church. Each church has unique needs and will have to answer the question, ‘what other areas may need training respective to the given staff member’s area of responsibility?’ Staff should have the opportunity to hone their skills and become better in their area of responsibility. These educational enrichment seminars don’t have to drain the church’s bank account using a little creativity and budgeting. It may take a few churches to get together to bring in an expert in the tax and donation field, for example. What ever the method is, shouldn’t the church be giving the very best to its congregation that supports them financially?