hmm... thoughts management

What Makes Romeo Different?

differentWe’ve had a lot of visitors lately and I’ve gotten this question a couple of times… I’ve been to a lot of churches, why does this one feel different? This was a reminder to me of just how different we do church at Romeo.

I don’t mean musical style or programs that we offer… though that is very different from a traditional church… I mean that we are different in how staffing works.

Let me share the two typical ways churches are run.

Traditional church staff = The senior pastor calls all the shots. He hires and fires to his specifications associate level staff. Practically speaking, he both gets all the stuff done and he is lord over the church’s programs.

Contemporary church staff = There are ministry directors who run their own departments. Each department head, “Pastor of Students” or “Pastor of Music” or “children’s director” all report to the senior pastor but they are pretty much lord over their departmental domain. Generally, 90% or more of their time is invested in their department and they compete for people, resources, and money to each grow their own ministry. The other 10% of their time is either voluntarily or involuntarily spent helping in “general” church ministry stuff.

I dislike both of those models. They are good but not geared at “whole church” ministry. In other words, participants in the youth program don’t typically regard the children’s director or senior pastor or music pastor as their spiritual leaders. Their allegiance is to the youth pastor… and that’s bad for the long-term health of the church. Likewise, the department heads are always seen as replaceable if their particular department fails. This is simple-minded since it’s not fair to judge the adult music program when music hasn’t been fostered in children and youth. Just like it isn’t fair to blame poor Sunday school attendance on the pastor’s preaching. In a small to medium-sized church a departmental-style or a traditional “pastor-ruled” method actually acts as a growth limiter. The growth of the church is limited by the capacities and talents of either the senior pastor or the individual department heads. That makes hiring nearly impossible. Each department is looking for a person who can do everything! No wonder people fail. Expectations are completely unrealistic.

In the past, Romeo has used both of those structures. And both didn’t work out too well long-term. At least not in my opinion.

That’s how we now come to the question, “What makes Romeo so different?” I call our structure a “holistic ministry staffing.”

Holistic church staffing = This starts with an understanding that a diverse staff team makes for a well-rounded and healthy church ministry. Instead of basing a staff member’s ministry around an age-group— each staff member’s ministry is based around their giftedness. For me, I’m the tech/video/internet guy on top of my love and desire to reach students. So about 50% of my time goes to non-student ministries with the goal of making each ministry area excellent in what I am strong at. The same is true with all the other areas of our church. Also unique to our set-up is the expectation that each staff member contributes to the other areas… this shocks people who work in the other two methods! That’s why you’ll see our pastor be a big part of kids ministry and the children’s director adds a lot of administration to all of the other church ministries. From our perspective, this methodology gets the most bang for our staffing buck. Likewise, our hope is that every staff member is regarded as a spiritual leader of the whole church. Of course, we all are subordinates of the pastor… but that doesn’t mean we all don’t work together any less. Just like I’m interested in making Sunday morning services the best we can possibly be, the other staff people pitch in to make students or music or children’s ministry the best we can.

I know this is unconventional. But for us it works. Moreover, I think this style of staffing is where most church staff’s need to work towards.

How does this start? It starts with brave senior staff and leadership teams who are comfortable in their skin. By admitting that there are things you aren’t great at you can focus more of your time at what you are good at.
From there… it’s mostly a matter of submitting oneself to the greater good of the ministry over your personal preferences.

Why didn’t you talk about lay leadership and volunteers? Next time.

management Marketing

Do you need a resume? It depends.

resumeRecently, Seth Godin made this statement on his blog.

I think if you’re remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular, you probably shouldn’t have a resume at all.

The reason is simple. If you are really, really good at what you do [remarkable] the resume is just a formality. I’ve been on plenty of job hunts both from both perspectives and I know this to be true. When I’ve been looking for a job I have always translated “We have your resume and we’ll be reviewing it soon.” to mean “You aren’t our top choice, we’ll call you when the #1 person isn’t coming.” And when I’ve been looking to fill a position I have already talked to the best candidates before I start collecting resumes. Or worse, when I’ve started looking for resumes it means that I don’t know what I’m looking for exactly.

What is a resume, anyway? It’s a self-marketing tool. That’s all it is. You are casting a light on yourself to highlight what you are good at and hide what you aren’t good at.

Confession time. In both my ministry and my health insurance career I have been “lucky enough” to land on head hunters phone lists. What that means is that I have occasionally gotten calls from people whose job is to talk happy employees (me) out of their jobs to try a new business or ministry. [Trust me, I’m not going anywhere! 28 years left on the mortgage.] My response has always been the same two fold answer.

  1. “Why would I leave a place I’m happy with for a place that had to hire a head hunter to get someone?”
  2. “Why should I send you a resume when you’re calling me tells me “they” want me because you’re calling me out of the blue to try to talk me into leaving this job?”

In that instance, my resume isn’t important. When a headhunter calls you, you are already in the drivers seat for that job. That’s a scary place to be but it is the truth of the situation.
When is your resume important?

  1. When you are looking for an entry to mid-level job.
  2. When you are trying to get a first job in a new location or field.
  3. When you aren’t sure exactly what you want.
  4. When you are forced by circumstances to cast a wide net. (laid off, fired, or living in Michigan)

When is your resume unimportant?

  1. When you’re not looking but get a call asking for it.
  2. When you’re a “known” entity in a job field or location.
  3. When the aggressor in the job search is the employer.

If all three of those are true, you might as well send them a napkin with your phone number as you’re skipping the pre-screening phase and going right to the big interview.

What do you think? What are your job searching tips?


Vision, Goal, and Mission Statements

SuccessEvery organization can measure success.

It doesn’t matter if you’re running a non-profit, a government agency, a corporation, small business, or an educational institution… you need to have some ways to set the course and measure your progress. That is, if you would like to succeed.

If you are willing to fail (must be a government agency or educational institution where money comes “magically” from the tax gods) goals, mission, and vision are pointless as your default measurement of success is merely “Did I keep my job another year?” While those in businesses without defined goals have default, meaningless measurement tools like “Did we make more money than last year?” From a business perspective, that’s a stupid measurement tool as you can kill next year by maximizing profits this year to reach the “make more money than last year” measurement tool. Just ask Enron. Organization driven by meaningless measurements like profits will always fail!

So, let’s define some terms. Maybe this will help your organization.