A Thought to Consider
Why did you get into ministry leadership?
Was it to process the 501 (c) (3) paperwork? Maybe create budgets? Build organizational charts? Fix broken computers?
Yeah, probably not.
The Operations Team is like Oil to Your Ministry Engine
When you considered getting into ministry leadership, these things probably didn’t enter your mind. You didn’t study accounting, HR, or IT. But while operational issues aren’t the most compelling reason to be a leader, paying attention to operations is essential for any great leader.
Operations are like the oil to the ministry engine. Without effective operations, the ministry engine is not going to run well, and eventually, poor operations will burn a ministry engine up.
That’s why it’s critical for us as leaders to value the operational needs of our organization and implement intentional practices to support them.
Operational issues don’t get me up in the morning, but they will keep me up at night.
5 Ways Savvy Leaders Support their Operations Team
If you’ve been guilty of ignoring your Operations team, don’t worry, I have a few suggestions for you. While you’ll probably never be an expert on operations, here are some things that you can do to make sure operations are adequately supported.
1. Invest in a Qualified Staff
It’s tempting to put off operational hiring. Pressing ministry needs often take precedence, but an excellent Operation’s staff will save you a lot of time, money, and headaches in the long run.
2. Reinforce Operational Systems
Most of your staff will resist filling out the proper paperwork for a check request or creating their annual budget, but as the leader, you must reinforce the value of these processes. The easiest way to emphasize its importance is to model it.
Meet deadlines and turn in your paperwork. Don’t expect to be given exceptions because you’re the leader. What you value, others will value too.
3. Stay On Top of Things
Even though you hired qualified people who understand operations better than you, don’t allow yourself to become too disconnected. I signed every check that our accounting team processed when I was a staff ministry leader. It took me a couple of hours each week, but it helped me see in real-time how we were spending the ministry dollars.
4. Meet Regularly with the Operations Staff
Create a regular meeting time to check in with the operation’s team and hear their needs, frustrations, or concerns. By creating time for them, you’ll convey the value they bring to the overall ministry needs. It will also create an opportunity for you to hear and resolve concerns before they become a crisis.
5. Don’t Underestimate the Value of Your Board
Enlist a Board of Directors with proven competency in operational issues and fiduciary responsibility. Be accountable to the team and heed their advice.
Ministry leadership is a great honor and privilege. While operational issues will rarely be the motivator to get you up in the morning, poor operations will be the thing that keeps you up at night. Too many ministries have floundered because a leader took their eyes off of this essential element of leadership.
Keep leading well.
Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group
** Are You New to The 4Sight Group? **
As leaders, we’re full of ideas and initiatives. We see potential and opportunity all around. We can almost taste the outcome, but often we get bogged down by how we’ll get from here to there.
The “how” can be overwhelming and discouraging, so we give up on our goals or fail to build a plan to help us achieve them.
These five steps will get you and your team on the path to moving from ideas to action! We’d love to have you join our community and access this free PDF!
Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.
Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.