I’ve been a human resources professional for over 25 years. I’ve also been a writer (of one sort or another) since I was a kid, so let’s just say it’s been a whole lot longer than 25 years! However, what I never thought I would be is a writer writing about human resources!
God is full of surprises. This was one of them in my life. In retrospect, I suppose it was a natural fit–tying my business brain to my ministry heart in a way I had never envisioned. For the last fifteen years I have been providing HR services to the nonprofit community exclusively. To say that HR in churches and ministries is a little tricky is a bit of an understatement. It seems there is always a tension between fulfilling the organization’s external mission and honoring the organization’s internal responsibilities as an employer.
Somewhere along the way I realized I was particularly good at navigating that tension. Unfortunately, I also discovered that a lot of pastors and nonprofit leaders aren’t so great at it–in fact a great many of them aren’t even aware the tension exists. As a result, they often all but ignore the employer side of their responsibilities. Ignoring these issues not only puts the organization at risk for all kinds of potential liability, it also fails to create a healthy collaborative environment where people thrive and do their best work.
As representatives of Christ, churches and ministries should be the best of the best as employers. Sadly, that is not how the employees of most ministries describe their work environment. In fact, if anything, it is usually quite the opposite–dysfunction and burnout actually seem be much higher in ministry environments.
I believe most ministry leaders want to create a healthy work environment, but with limited time and resources, they simply don’t know how. To make it even more complicated, there are few relevant resources that address these issues from both a business and spiritual perspective. There is obviously more to this story, but in a nutshell, this disconnect is the reason the book HR Matters exists.
I hope and pray this book becomes a valuable resource for pastors and nonprofit leaders who really do want to honor their staff and demonstrate excellence as employers. I not only want to help them see the things they don’t currently see (things that are most likely already hurting their ministry whether they realize it or not)–I also want to provide them with practical tips tools that will make the whole process seem a lot more doable.
HR Matters really do matter! Excellence matters. Honoring people matters. Most of all honoring God matters. Jesus is worthy of our very best in every area…including the way we conduct ourselves as employers!