Making Hard Staffing Decisions

The hardest decisions I have ever made as a pastor are staffing decisions.  Decisions to release someone from employment, or to reposition someone within the team, are absolutely gut wrenching.  Thankfully though, the church has at least one advantage over all other organizations when it comes to making these types of hard staffing decisions. In the church, the good of the individual is never in competition with the good of the community.

In every other organization in the world, organizational leaders often feel pressed to choose between the lesser of two evils when dealing with employees–hurting the individual or hurting the company.  But within the church, we know from Scripture that whatever is good for one is good for all, and this is a tremendous comfort.

For example, it is not uncommon for non-church organizations to weigh the financial benefit to the company of reducing the work force.  In these deliberations, little consideration is often given to the impact work force reduction has upon individuals.  While leaders in non-church organizations may feel bad about releasing staff, it is often thought that individuals must suffer for the survival of the whole.

But in God’s economy, in God’s community, the good of individuals and the good of the community are never at odds.  What is good for an individual person, even it means being released from employment or being repositioned within the church, is good for the entire church. We know this to be true because Scripture teaches that we are all a part of the same body (1 Corinthians 12:27). This means that as the Lord directs church leaders to make even the hardest decisions, all involved can rest assured that what is good for one part of the body is good for all parts of the body. I’ve seen countless church leaders, hesitate to make the hard staffing decisions that they knew were needed, because they believed that the needs of an individual employee and the needs of the church were somehow in competition with one another.  But this can’t possibly be the case, because God is in charge of all.

Don’t get me wrong. The decisions to release staff or reposition staff are still difficult, and we want to move slowly and deliberately in the process, in order to make sure that we are following the Lord’s leadership closely. But there is great comfort in knowing that Christ is the head of the church and that he has in mind what is best for every individual within the church. We can be confident that although some decisions may be difficult, God is working everything together for the good of all of those who love him and are called according to his purposes (Romans 8:28).

As leaders within the church, we must have every confidence that God is presenting his Son a “bride” (singular), not brides (plural) (Revelation 19:7).  Although the church is made up of many individuals, we are one community and must act accordingly.