Standing Firm: Not Starting Until They Get to 100%

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By on September 1, 2004   /   Leave a comment

Backbone. I know we all have one–it’s just hard to find sometimes! Jesus was full of “grace and truth”, but most of us choose grace over truth more than we’d like to admit. Even though exercising tough love with our staff may inhibit some of the close emotional bonding we all yearn for, it’s usually the right path to take.

All this to say: you will be doing your staff a huge favor if you do not let them report to their ministry assignment until they have at least 100% of their monthly budget raised (not just pledged). I know you want to launch new staff as quickly as possible, but if you cut corners on this standard, it will come back to haunt you.

Even though new staff beg you to let them start early—even promising to keep working on support—most will never get to full budget. As a result, their ministry suffers, their marriage suffers, and the long term stress will force many out of full time service. So, if you’re looking for short term, marginally effective people who they (and their spouses) feel emotionally and spiritually drained, then turn a blind eye to this critical issue. Having financially healthy staff is not THE key to ministry success, but it sure goes a long way towards creating good morale, happier marriages, staff retention, and new staff recruiting.

Am I sounding a little too dogmatic? I guess it’s from years of listening to the horror stories of person after person, couple after couple in so many organizations. I remember one ministry where many of the single staff guys were at such low support they felt compelled to go give blood several times a week just to put food on the table. Needless to say, people were not lining up to join their staff!

Well, having this policy and enforcing it are two different things. Get with the decision makers in your organization and determine if you are willing to insert this standard into the mix. Then figure out who and how you will implement an iron clad “no exceptions” follow through plan. You may not win a popularity contest the first few months, but in the long run, your staff will rise up and bless you. Funny how others tend to respect us a little bit more when they see we really do have a backbone!

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