Can a part-time employee still be effective?

Hiring at a part-time level is purposeful in our ministry setting. It’s a part of our strategy to manage our resources until other factors drive us to full-time positions. We refer to it as “incrementalism.”

There are typically gains with small, incremental steps in both cost and efficiency. This is true of most ventures, but employee hours especially.

We’ve found if you have the right part-time people, and they’re managed well, they can produce far more results than their hours suggest.

Here are four key things a supervisor should ensure his or her part-time employee is doing so their hours can be maximized:

Anticipate

  • Last-minute boss tasks and other tyranny of the urgent matters;
  • Post-meeting tasks—and give time to address them;
  • Deadlines. Schedule out the time slots to hit deadlines. Annual budget submittals, Disciple Now, and VBS shouldn’t surprise you;
  • And avoid black holes. Give yourself a time limit for activities that tend to eat up time, such as Facebook, trips to the break room, engaging certain people in conversation (we all know people who can’t end a conversation).

Delegate

Ask yourself: is this the most effective use of my time? I’ve had to realize that although others may not say or do things like me, their work is still adequate.

I have to delegate and pass things along so I can focus on mission-critical initiatives. This is true for part-time employees as well. Which five-minute tasks could they give away?

You don’t always need position power to delegate. Be creative in determining who could willingly accept a task (there are capable and called volunteers).

Advantage Moments

Typically small in length, these can be fulfilling if used properly:

  • Mean-time tasks (phone calls, making copies) in between meetings or over lunch;
  • Group-like tasks;
  • E-mail templates (i.e. volunteer schedules, regular scheduling of meetings and agendas) See Michael Hyatt’s post to learn more about these;
  • And use computer shortcuts (find tutorials or ask a “geek”).

Meaningful Moments

  • Develop weekly Must-Do, Should-Do and Nice-To-Do task sheets;
  • Know what you have planned each day, before beginning the day;
  • And block out time every week for projects. Don’t try to squeeze in preparation for a presentation in between fielding e-mails from church members.

Whether the part-time role is a minister or support position, you can manage their limited hours to produce more than part-time results.

P.S. If you want your part-time role to go full-time, make your supervisor notice you. Let them see the amount of work you’re producing. They can’t ignore quality and results for too long.

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5 Ways to Leave a Church Well

After seven years of service at my church, I was granted a sabbatical leave. For those eight weeks, I scheduled activities, learning opportunities, rested, concentrated spiritual connection time, journaling, Christian counseling, and one writing project.

The writing project was my theological, philosophical, and methodological construct for how a minister could leave a church in a God-honoring way. Primarily, this was for me. I wanted a well thought-out accountability system for whenever it was my time to leave. I wanted to leave well—my time to leave came within three years.

After seeing first-hand and hearing horror stories of ministers leaving in ways that damaged the church they left behind (whether voluntary or forced), I determined I wouldn’t do that.

Culling resources from other leaders (not a lot had been written on the subject), searching Scripture, and simply thinking through things that make sense to do when you love the local church, led me to these points:

• Stop citing God for your pettiness.

• Lose your delusions of grandeur.

• Be willing to take the road less traveled—the high road.

• Finish well, including your work and appointments.

• Write an Apostle Paul-style resignation letter.

You can read the five pages of “Leaving Well” where I unpack each of these points. Below is the closing thought to my full article that will give you an idea of my thesis and hope:

We can choose to leave well. Our impact at our “former” churches shouldn’t be measured by the chaos we leave behind. There are no spiritual medals awarded for causing the biggest wake at our former places of service. We have to determine that our leaving will cause the least amount of disruption. Better yet, what if our leaving can glorify God?

For the whole article, click on Leaving Well

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How Journaling Heartache Can Lead to Effective Pastoral Care

The morning of our fourth child’s birth, I was three weeks into a new city, new church, and new staff position. Before my wife went back for a C-section, three ministers from our new church came to pray with us.

They said they would stay. I remember saying, “It’s going to be fine. You all go home, and I’ll update you when she’s out.” They prayed and left.

The baby was born successfully. I left the room with our little girl, Blake, and went with the nurses for the weighing and bath in another room. While videoing the weight (as all proud dads do), I began to see changes in her.

The nurses began working frenetically. They asked me to leave the room. A lot more transpired, but bottom line: she had heart failure.

Within 30 minutes, she was en route to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. I left my wife in her hospital room and headed to where my new baby would be.

Upon entering the NICU, two doctors sat me down in a quiet room. I grabbed my notepad to take notes so I could relay the details to my wife over the phone. The doctor looked me in the eye and said, “Mr. Dodridge, it’s unlikely your child will survive.”

I put down my pen and notepad.

She spent the next 16 days on life support. Throughout that time, I wrote in my journal. I wrote down all the raw emotions, including anger and disappointment. I wrote my selfish desires, and I wrote pleading prayers to God.

All wired up day 2

Blake Jules, three days after birth

Through the power of God, His use of crazy awesome medical staff, and a life support called an ECMO, Blake is alive and has recently turned one year old.

But even in the 12 months since, I’ve reread my journal to gain perspective and learn from some broken moments. The journal entries have been a gift.

Since Blake’s ordeal, I’ve already been able to minister to families in our church who had infants on ECMO at the very same hospital. I don’t transpose my journaled feelings on them, but it gives me perspective while ministering. My journal entries give me vivid memories that allow empathy for others.

Other experiences I’ve written in my journal have served me in ministry as well—my hurt when we dealt with infertility, or my anxiety when awaiting news on whether the cancer was in my lymph nodes.

All these experiences have translated to a written record I can access, both to learn from my past and help others in my role as minister in times of crisis.

Journaling can be an ally in ministry and pastoral care.

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