Posted in Executive Pastor

An Intentional Office | Guest post from David Fletcher, founder of XPastor.org

He was a Mega Church Executive Pastor, and I was in his office for the first time. His open and comfortable office had already impressed me. But then he did it…he set the tone and comfort level for the meeting by pulling over an ottoman, and slipping off his loafers.

Message received: I don’t have to be intimidated by you or your office.

He was intentional about having a work space that allowed for no pretense or intimidation. That one meeting has impacted my office presentation and productivity.

Dr. Fletcher agreed to add this writing to my blog. Whether you need tips on office productivity or how to make your office feel more pastoral and less CEO, it’s in here. I’m honored to have David Fletcher, Executive Pastor, and founder of XPastor.org guest post.

The Paperless Office, Not Even a Paperclip

Dr. David Fletcher

Julie

Julie was an endearing, young missionary who had a fantastic ministry that I was dying to learn about.  About fifteen years ago, Julie came into my office and was on the verge of tears.

“What’s wrong?”  I asked.

“Well, you said that you wanted to see me, and there you are behind that big desk … and I feel like I’m being called to the Principal’s office … and have I done something wrong?”

I pondered what I had done wrong, not her.  I kept coming back to her words, “that big desk.”  For a month, I asked people about it.  I learned that my height (6’3”) can be intimidating.  Put an imposing guy behind a desk, and I become formidable.  I wondered, “If I appear serious when happy behind the desk, how much more when I am perplexed?”

The Paper Question

I discussed getting rid of the desk and people always came back to the same question, “what are you going to do with papers and reports?”  Even without an answer, I got rid of the desk.  I opted for a couch, two comfortable side chairs, and a small coffee table.

With the experiment, people found me easier to talk with and get to know.  The change of furniture also helped me relax in the office, not being so “down to business.”  I began to pray more with people.

The “paper question” was with me until the era of laptops.  Then I had my answer.  I would go with a paperless office and carry all needed items on my laptop.

From people around the nation, I have gotten the same response that many of you readers are thinking right now:

Question:  In a meeting, how do you handle a report that is given to you?
Answer:  Read it and give it back to the person at the end of the meeting.

Question: What about vital reports that you need to keep?
Answer: Ask the person so send it to me in MSWord or PDF format.

Question: What about … and generally people don’t have a third question.
Response:  See how easy it could be?

Janet

Janet was the wife of successful president of a large mission agency.  She came with her husband for a conference in my office.  We were having a wonderful time, talking about overseas ministry.  All of a sudden, Janet let out a gasp and put her hand on her husband’s arm.

“Is this your office?” she asked me.  I nodded.
“Where are all the filing cabinets?”  I told her why I didn’t need any.
“You don’t even have a paperclip dispenser!”  I confessed that she was right.  In my office I no longer needed paperclips, staplers or a trash can.

Janet’s eyes bulged at the prospect.  Her husband’s office was littered with 5 drawer filing cabinets and paperclipped reports.  Perhaps for him, paperclips were like brooms in Goethe’s “Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

Pending files either go on my computer in a special area, or are kept by my executive assistant.  The same is true for ongoing projects and long-term files.  I don’t leave work scattered in my virtual or physical office.  When I come into my space, I see a clean work-slate each day.  Ken Blanchard, the management guru, once said that people accomplish more when then arrive at their office and the desk is clean.  Yes!

Conclusion

Hundreds of Executive Pastors have heard of my answer to “the paper question.”  Lately it has even become fashionable to not have much paper and go “green.”

  • Go paperless for 30 days.
  • Put all work in folders and “hide” them each night: pending, ongoing or long-term files. Use automatic software to back-up your computer each hour.
  • Maximize relational time.  Listen to the needs of those who God brings into      your office.  Pray with superiors, subordinates and sheep.  When relationships are strong, business discussions go much quicker.

Be the master of your office.  Work efficiently.  Focus on people.

About David Fletcher

For over 30 years, David has served churches from 1,000 to 8,000 members. As well as being a pastor, David is a spiritual entrepreneur. He founded XPastor as a global ministry tool for leaders of churches of all sizes. It provides the website, the annual XP-Seminar, workshops and certification courses.

 

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What To Do Before You Solicit Resumes

Word gets out about your church’s open staff position. People begin spreading the word via social media. Church members come up to you and tell you about their nephew who’d be great for the position. Less than capable church members submit resumes.  You begin receiving resumes and comparing candidates to candidates, to see who stands out.

drawing person

This is often status-quo, and it has sometimes been the process I have used. But, what you really want is a picture. Not a physical photo of a candidate, but a mental picture of the ideal candidate.

What skill-sets, temperament, experience, and education will allow this person to fulfill the position? You must look at your open position, zero base it, and begin asking questions. What do you want the position to be able to accomplish? What does the ideal candidate look like? Then you begin creating your picture.

Some skill-sets are must-haves; others may be merely nice to have.

At the church I serve at, we first develop a picture, a profile. Once that is complete, we use the profile to solicit resumes. Potential candidates can see what we want, and can submit resumes if they think they are a possible match. From that point, we are not comparing candidates to candidates, but instead we are comparing the candidates back to the picture we first created.

Click here to view a see a sample position profile.

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