Simple Excellence: Making the Right People Happy
Growing up, I came to visit my dad a lot at work. He taught at Taylor University and he loved introducing us to his co-workers especially those who weren’t professors. He would introduce us to the cleaning crew, the office administrators and workers in the dining commons. My dad always showed an immense respect to those in the service industry who are often overlooked. So much so that when I ended up at Taylor as a student, a smile came to many of those same people when they found out I was Gary Newton’s kid.
Since then I have been driven to connect with those in my work environment who hold some of the most important roles, yet are overlooked because they aren’t pastors or managers. Have you ever noticed that it is those who don’t ever get the credit who actually keep the business or ministry running? What if the janitorial staff didn’t show up on a Sunday morning or Saturday night? What would happen if the back of house staff at an Apple Store didn’t keep an accurate inventory? These people are the true heart and soul of an organization, but do they feel like they are a key part in the organization?
In a church ministry setting here are three of the most important people to reach out to and encourage. Your job will be much easier if you support these folks instead of being a thorn in their flesh.
- Maintenance Staff – So often the maintenance staff at a church are overlooked and treated as subhumans. At one church I served we had a saint of man who had a master’s degree, yet people seemed to just overlook him because he was “just the custodian.” He was a true servant yet he was never recognized for the integral part he played in the life of the church. If you are a pastor or leader in the church, say thank you to your maintenance staff the next time you see them. More importantly, set up some chairs yourself instead of always asking them to do it. The point when we think we are above setting up chairs because we are pastors is the point at which we stop being a pastor. Jesus was a servant first.
- Administrative Support – Imagine what would happen if the phones weren’t answered, people weren’t greeted with a smile or any of the many important tasks that our administrative support people do on a daily basis. These saints are overlooked as well. They need to know what an important role they play. Honestly they know more than anyone else in the church when it comes to the church’s culture and dynamics.
- Church Accountant – One of the classes that I wish we had in seminary was something related to budgets and handling a church’s finances. Running a nonprofit like a church takes a lot of financial wisdom and knowledge. Pastors and church leaders need to partner better with the church accountant. In most churches the relationship between the pastors and the church financial team is not a great one. Unless the pastor was involved in the business world at some point running the “business” side of the church is hard and frustrating. This is why the relationship between the church staff and the financial team needs to be an honest partnership.
These are just of few of those within the church who are overlooked yet are integral to the ongoing mission of the church. The church is a body and each part is essential for it to be effective. How do we let people know their role is essential and that we are thankful for what they do?