Thursday, August 24, 2006

How should a church hire staff?

More reflections from Dever and Alexander’s The Deliberate Church (Crossway, 2005):
In the chapter on staffing, the authors discourage the typical contemporary practice of hiring ministry specialists (youth minister, music minister, etc.). The alternative is to hire generalists to serve as pastoral assistants involved in the "all-around ministry" of the church.
They list four pitfalls of the specialist staffing approach:

1. Professionalization. This approach comes from the niche-marketing driven corporate world and not from the Bible.

2. Fragmentation. This approach tends to divide ministers, members, and ministry into "their own ministry cubicles" (163).

Youth ministry is given as an example. Here’s a longer quote:

"Simply by specializing the youth, we’re separating them from the adults. But aren’t we trying to train them to be adults? So why are we trying to take them away from the very source of influence that can help them grow up? We’re doing it, often, because we’ve professionally specialized our ministries to make them look more marketable to our ‘target audience.’ And so adults pass teenagers in the hallways like ships in the night, never dreaming that each could build up the other" (164).

3. Territoritality. This is an offshoot of #2 above.

4. Program drivenness. This approach makes the church dependent on various programs for success and not on the corporate witness of the body.


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