Some mottos have stood the test of time. You know the sayings like “Measure twice, cut once,” or “Always be prepared.” They have endured for good reason; they’ve been tested and found worthy of following. As you choose how best to prepare, measure, and cut into your ministry goals, think about Christ’s sayings. He taught the early church how to pray, how to give, and how to share the gospel, but he also taught them to be shrewd. He, the master builder, laid foundational principles to guide them. He didn’t send them out before setting an example to follow. And neither should we send nor go without a worthy example and foundation.
Some churches would like to be known as the most welcoming in their community. Others believe that as long as the Holy Spirit leads, nothing will go awry. But sadly, this is not the case. From scripture, we know the Pharisees, Israelite leaders supposedly at the pinnacle of their religious awareness, were getting it wrong. Jesus was quick to point this out to his disciples. What He pointed out (among other things) was a severe lack of humility. In today’s ministry environment, admitting we need a little help in certain areas is paramount. Laying a foundation is not a small thing. It begins with an admission. We might not be knowledgeable in handling everything that comes across our desks.
For instance, you wouldn’t mix cement and spread and lay the foundation of your dream home, right? Not likely. You’d find someone more qualified who knew about cement work and had the proper tools. In the same way, you must find help and support in handling your ministry’s human resource practices.
Churches often spring to life by the calling and desire to share the love of God, but this alone does not keep them running. Many of us have seen how a small group can quickly manifest into a full-fledged ministry and all before they know how business and ministry collide at the intersection of compliance and laws and kingdom work and spiritual growth. But instead of facing this reality, we like to say things like, “God’s in control” or “He’ll fight our battle for us.” As absolute as this is, God’s perfect design in Eden was one where He gave us jobs to do. In giving us work, He essentially taught us to partner with Him, including doing our due diligence in maintaining the garden.
Without the proper foundation and help, many churches have lost their way and become THAT church. You know the ones… THAT church facing a lawsuit, or THAT church with a revolving door of discontented employees and parishioners, or THAT church accused of abuse or moral failure. And while our inner Church Lady may tell us we need to show grace rather than condemnation, churches must also comply with unavoidable laws and mandates. The sad truth we face on this side of Heaven is that life is hard, and how churches handle these instances can make all the difference in the life of the church body, both individually and universally. Becoming legally compliant and up to date with requirements is vital.
When you build a strong foundation of good human resources practices, train your team right, and protect your exemptions as a religious employer, you create a place where ministry can happen effectively.
Church HR Network was built with this in mind. Our mission is to help ministries flourish by equipping you to navigate the unique HR challenges you face as a faith-based employer. Drawing on decades of ministry experience, we provide the help you need to avoid common pitfalls and stay current with ever-changing HR legal requirements. We are ready to partner with you so you won’t be THAT church. Find us at churchHRnetwork.com.
Leslie was born and raised in the city of Ventura, California. She and her husband, Brian have six adult children and currently reside in Ventura. Leslie holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and is a retired Peace Officer with extensive law enforcement, civilian security, and human resources expertise. Leslie’s law enforcement career was cut short by an on-duty injury that forced her medical retirement.
Leslie has spent the past 35 years in human resources and operations. Including 15+ years leading all aspects of human resources and operations at Ventura Missionary Church, School, and Counseling Center. In 2014, Leslie left Ventura Missionary and started DeMattia Consulting, now known as Church HR Network. Serving hundreds of clients in California and throughout the U.S., she and her team are passionate about taking their experience to churches, schools, and other faith-based groups with the goal of furthering God’s kingdom through training leaders that support the infrastructure of the organizations.
Leslie enjoys her faith and her family. She spends her free time biking, kayaking, and competitively showing her top-ranked Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers in the Conformation dog arena.
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