S/PPR chair and members - Holston Conference of the United

Relations Committee
Practical Tips on
Conferencing for Effective Ministry
• The Book of Discipline (Nashville: The United Methodist
Publishing House, 2008)
• Pastor-Parish Relations: Connecting the Pastor, Staff,
and Congregation, Betsey Heavner (Cokesbury, 2008)
• A Survival Guide for Working with Humans: Dealing
with Whiners, Back-Stabbers, Know-It-Alls and Other
Difficult People, Gini Graham Scott (New York: AMACOM, 2004)
• Managing the Non-Profit Organization, Peter Drucker
(Butterworth-Heinemann, 2004)
AMACOM is the publishing arm of The American Management Association. www.amanet.org.
• Reality Check
• Christian Conferencing
• Unity and Mission
• Human Resources 101: Managing and Nurturing Staff
• Human Resources 102: Managing Conflict with Integrity
• Sustainability
Reality check
S/PPR chair and members
• Will possess a broad and diverse set of gifts and
• May have little understanding of their responsibilities
as outlined in The Book of Discipline
• Will be at very different places in their faith journey
• May not have fully internalized the mission and
purpose of the church aka., The Great Commission
Reality check
S/PPR chair and members (continued...)
• May at times seem to view the church as a business,
a community service organization or civic club
• May possess little or no organizational/business
human resources/personnel management experience
• Will often tend to look to the past rather than toward
the future
• Will often prefer to perpetuate the status quo until
crisis forces change
Reality check
S/PPR chair and members (continued...)
• Will at times surprise you (and, perhaps, even
themselves) with their spiritual ability to grasp how
God may be moving in new ways within their
There is a tremendous opportunity to promote mutual
spiritual exploration and organizational development
through engaging in Christian Conferencing
“While there are appropriate and useful business-like
practices that apply to church life, Christian practices
distinguish the church as the church. In the United
Methodist tradition, how we meet and work together is
important. “Christian Conferencing” involves listening
not only to each other, but also listening intently for the
will of God in any given task or conversation. This makes
prayer essential in the midst of “business as usual.” As
Christians, we are called to “speak the truth
in love.” This is a special way to speak in which we treat
one another as if each of us were Christ among us. As a
spiritual leader in your ministry area, you have the
privilege and opportunity to teach and model these
practices. By remembering that each of us is beloved of
God and discerning the presence of God in all that the
church does, every task becomes worshipful work.”
“Pastor-Parish Relations: Connecting the Pastor, Staff, and
Unity & Mission
• The Church Council is responsible for establishing a
vision for how the local church fulfills the mission of the
• Carefully establish written goals and objectives with the
S/PPR committee and Church Council that will support
that vision and review progress toward those goals on
a regularly scheduled basis
• Practical Tip 1: Often it would be best to do this in a
work session with the S/PPR and Church Council chairs
after they have been in consultation with other key
committee chairs
Unity & Mission
• Practical Tip 2: Develop SMART goals: Specific,
Measurable, Attainable, Resourced, Time-bound
• Practical Tip 3: Be careful to set realistic goals that don’t
over-stretch the capabilities and resources of your staff,
your chairs, your congregation and yourself
• Practical Tip 4: Covenant with the S/PPR chair and
Council Chair to meet once a quarter for spiritual reflection
and a formal progress review
Human Resources 101:
Managing & Nurturing staff
• Once a clear set of organization goals and objectives
have been established, spend time with the S/PPR chair
reflecting how best to share those with staff based on the
size, history and culture of the local congregation
• Practice Tip 1: Job descriptions should be established for
all non-clergy positions and should be formally reviewed
and approved by the S/PPR committee annually
• Practice Tip 2: It is important to set annual goals with –
not for – your staff in consultation with the S/PPR chair and
committee and ask key staff to submit an annual self
evaluation prior to preparing their annual evaluation (in
concert with the S/PPR chair and committee)
Human Resources 101:
Managing & Nurturing staff
• Practice Tip 3: Encourage the chair to remind the
committee members that their authority exists in
committee and that it is inappropriate for individual
members of the committee to engage staff on
personnel/management issues on a one-on-one basis
without formal authorization from the committee as a
whole and consultation with the pastor. Staff issues
identified by individual committee members should be
directed to the pastor first and then, if further resolution is
required to the S/PPR chair.
Human Resources 101:
Managing & Nurturing staff
• Equally important is to prepare professional
development plans for yourself and members of
your staff
• Practice Tip: Identify training needs within yourself and
your staff and work with your S/PPR chair and committee
to identify cost effective workshops and seminars offered
through the conference, local colleges, Wesley Institute,
United Methodist colleges, online schools or professional
organizations (e.g., Local Bar Association, AMA, SHRM)
Human Resources 102:
Managing Conflict With Integrity
• Keep the focus on ministry goals and objectives – and not
on personality - in all dealings with the S/PPR chair,
committee and staff
• Encourage the S/SPPR committee and staff to model
Christian community
• Act with integrity and transparency toward the S/PPR
committee, congregation and staff even when the news is
unfavorable, difficult or very bad – you’ll gain credibility in
the long run
• Avoid “Management Override” – never, ever massage facts
or figures to promote your own goals and ambitions even
with the best of intentions
Human Resources 102:
Managing Conflict With Integrity
• Make an agreement with the S/PPR chair that they will not
permit staff “end runs” to the committee and commit in
return that you will fully and timely disclose issues with staff
(especially those with lengthy seniority and/or deep
relationships within the congregation)
• Remember that you are directly or indirectly their spiritual
leader – care for them as if they are God’s children because they are!
• Finally, if professional separation is inevitable as a last
resort - make absolutely certain that it is not a surprise to
the S/PPR chair, committee and especially the affected
staff member
Human Resources 102:
Managing Conflict With Integrity
• Do your level best to develop a transition plan for an
affected staff member with the S/PPR chair and
committee well ahead of termination or resignation and be
certain to clear actions with a reputable attorney
experienced in employment law within the appropriate
legal jurisdiction
• One measure of a congregation’s spiritual health is the
number of members in pre-candidacy and candidacy
• Despite the current trend of oversupply (more
provisional candidates than pastoral openings),
demographic trends will eventually prevail and a
shortage will occur
• This is also a common concern in many professions
including medicine and business
• The majority of S/PPR committees are not aware of
their responsibility to “enlist, interview, evaluate, review,
and recommend annually to the charge conference lay
preachers and persons for ordained ministry and to
enlist and refer to the General Board of Global Ministry
persons for candidacy for missionary service….”
- The Book of Discipline(2008) ¶258.2g(9), (p.182)
• Practice Tip 1: Discuss ways that you and your S/PPR
chair can challenge the S/PPR committee and
congregation to identify inspired disciples with the gifts
and graces to undertake the journey to apostleship
• Practice Tip 2: Remind your chair, the committee and
congregation that the only way to insure high quality
pastoral leadership in the future is to develop a robust
enlistment process now!
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