We continue our discussion on making wise personnel decisions as Kingdom leaders. Today’s topic is one where we definitely need wisdom from above – James 1:5.
Discerning between care or development needs versus too costly a use of limited resources
- When we use the term ‘too costly,’ what does this mean? If a staff needs professional counseling, for example, who pays for the counseling and for how long? What type of outcomes/change are we expecting from this counseling that will determine whether they stay or leave? Define the process, responsibilities and outcomes before you start the process!
- Do we send/allow staff to pursue advanced degrees (i.e. leadership, counseling, seminary degrees) as part of their personal development? There are legal implications, labor laws that apply here – especially when using donor funds (untaxed, organizational funds) to pay for degrees that are not relevant to current roles and may prepare them for different jobs. Know the law before you give permission on this!
- When a staff or employee fails to fulfill their responsibilities, we would hope that there will be change/improvement given more time and good supervision. We are sometimes tempted to think that changing the environment (i.e. job or supervisor) will bring improvement, but, in my experience, this rarely helps.
- We want to help people succeed by resourcing them well. Jesus said, “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden. The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:6-9 NLT
- Note the attempt to bring fruitfulness to the barren tree within a specific time frame. Three years of patiently expecting results were now coupled with an additional year given for change with added attention and ‘fertilizer’ from the gardener. But, there were limits. If there is not the expected change after the additional year of help, then the gardener is to ‘cut it down.’
- What to do when a leader violates trust – for example, demonstrates a moral failure? There is no ‘formula’ for this situation. We must be wise and visit this on a case-by-case basis. Restoration of the fallen or wounded is our primary goal and we would want to have a strong bias towards this. We don’t want to ‘shoot our wounded.’ When a leader sins, we can and should seek to restore them to fellowship with their appropriate repentance and time for healing. But the question arises on whether we should restore them to leadership once a trust is broken? Prudence and wisdom would seem to guide us to evaluate the heart and actions of the individual as well as the nature of trust that was broken. As in all complex personnel issues, the answer ‘ it depends’ means we need the guidance of the Spirit to discern our course of action.
- How do we act in love to those leaders who have broken trust? It is not necessarily loving to ‘forgive and forget.’ Certainly there will be a ‘disciplining’ of those who have broken trust. The Lord does discipline those He loves (Hebrews 12:1-13). But His discipline is not unending and it does yield change – the ‘fruit of righteousness.’
- We can expect a difference of opinions on what to do. Those with mercy and compassion gifts may not want to fire or lose someone from the team or mission. They may tend to think that with the right care, given more time and help we will see lasting change and the person be recovered. A different view from those with more prophetic, exhortation or leadership gifts may emphasize mission over person and not want to risk entrusting leadership authority and responsibility to someone who has previously proven unfaithful. These are always difficult decisions.
- A general principle here is Luke 6:31 – “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” The Golden Rule of Leadership is – Lead others the way you would want to be led.