Why we require a leadership course for staff and 5 reasons you should too

It felt just like the first day of a college class. The syllabus was passed out and the instruction method was explained. And then, the assessment tool was revealed—a comprehensive test at the end of the semester.

Worse yet for me, the instructor and test proctor was my direct supervisor!

In college, I always remember being overwhelmed by the syllabi the first week of classes. And six months into my new job at Brentwood Baptist, I felt a little overwhelmed too. But this 40-hour required course on leadership has grown on me, and its value to the church staff has been evident.

Eleven years ago, a key lay leader introduced Brentwood Baptist to a leadership class. He had several key staff members certified to teach the course, called Model-Netics, a Main Event Management course.

At that time, we were the only church to engage it. It’s mainly corporations that teach it to their employees. But even as a church, we wanted to teach leadership principles. While our instructors have some ability to contextualize it to our church situation, it’s mainly about applying leadership principles, wherever you work.

Here’s why we require all of our full-time employees (support staff, administration staff, professional staff, and ministers) to take this course and pass the test:

  • The leadership models give us a common language. Of the 151 models, I’d say 25 of them are used in everyday nomenclature amongst the staff. When the language is used, we’re all on the same page and clearly understand what is being communicated.
  • It gives us a common approach for “accomplishing pre-determined objectives through others” (Model-Netics definition for management).
  • For those who supervise, it gives clear goals for supervising. For those who don’t supervise at work, it gives them a clear expectation of how they should be supervised.
  • As with most leadership principles, they can be applied in everyday life outside the office. Most everyone exerts leadership in some realm, so this content is helpful wherever they might lead.
  • In addition, our church leadership trumpets self-development. This is one of the methods we offer for self-development.

Every organization needs to improve, and the church is no exception. Many ministers feel accomplished when they complete seminary, but it doesn’t take long for them to realize the lack of parallels between their school curricula and their actual job responsibilities.With our staff leadership, this course closes that gap.

If a church is led well, it gives an excellent opportunity to minister well too.

Model-Netics is a worthy course. There are other great leadership courses, but the point is that we as church leaders should be teaching management and leadership. We should facilitate self-development.

Do you have a required leadership course at your church?

What’s been your experience?

Do you feel there’s a place for leadership training in church that isn’t focused on the biblical leadership?

I’d love to hear from you via Twitter or email.


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Coping with Church Leader Jealousy Syndrome

My name is Brian, and I suffer from church leader jealousy syndrome.

Despite it being the day the church I was serving was being featured in a local Metro newspaper article as being the biggest in the county, and having launched another regional campus, I felt jealous.

Sin perpetuates jealousy and competition.

How’d I become jealous after reading the newspaper? Later in the day I was reading a recently released book that was authored by a young leader (a peer in age). It talked about all his successes and friendships with other notable church leaders. Jealously emerged.

I was so jealous that I mentally posted a review of his book on Amazon.com in righteous judgment of his writing and name-dropping.

I remember it first happening at my church in Texas. Our church had done some great things for Christ, and for a while, we were the place to be. Then, three miles away, God chose to bless another church, and they became the “it” place.

The pastor of the new “it” church (who was the same age as me) took a church of 150 people up to several thousand in just a few years. I became jealous. God convicted me of this, and still does. I have to work hard to combat this sin.

One way I chose to get over my jealously of other church leaders was to take an opportunity to get to know them. It’s harder to dislike someone once you actually know them personally (their calling, gifting, their values and intentions).

I later served at a larger church that had a larger influence. That should’ve ended my jealously, right? Nope, my jealously then focused on the next largest churches or the their influential leaders.

Have you ever felt this way?

We’ll never be satisfied if we equate church size to success. That’s the problem in equating church size as an affirmation of God’s calling or even favor. I know better. Size is only one factor of many to determine a church’s effectiveness for the kingdom. I’ve witnessed that firsthand.

If by chance you suffer from my same syndrome, I suggest:

  • Be prayerful and remind yourself via Scripture who you are in Christ.
  •  Get to know those of whom you are jealous.
  •  If need be, stop reading their press. If their Twitter feeds cause you to sin in jealously, stop following them.
  •  Be comfortable where God has placed you. Rarely, if ever, is church staff ministry a ladder to climb.
  • Accept that no matter your success or your church’s success, you’ll be tempted to be covet the next biggest thing, so, get a grip on who and where God has called you to be.

p.s. When I first published this, I was an XP at mega and multi-site church. and now, I’m at a small church plant. Yet, I still believe in what I wrote, and at times, I still suffer from “church leader jealously syndrome.”

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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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