Whose Job is It?: Articulation, Accountability, and Assessment in the Church

If you’ve ever heard or said the following, welcome to the world of church work:  “I thought you were supposed to do that,” “I’m just trying to stay in my lane to avoid an accident,” “That’s not my job!” 
 
Common in all three statements is a lack of clarity about job descriptions and performance.  Church leaders often feel bewildered if their job descriptions don’t clearly include three key areas:  articulation, accountability, and assessment.  
 
I believe the following example called “Who’s Job is It Anyway?” best illustrates a daily occurrence in churches:
 
This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.  1
 
How can we avoid this crisis?
 
Articulation
Job descriptions should articulate the scope and depth of paid or volunteer work. If your church doesn’t have written job descriptions, I highly recommend asking those who currently or recently worked in these jobs to offer input by creating lists of things and timelines of tasks. This isn’t the most idea situation but it’s a good start.  
 
If your church doesn’t have written job descriptions, I suggest using resources such as Dr. Larry Gilbert and Cindy Spear’s The Big Book of Job Descriptions for Ministry which contains a CD of editable files referenced in the handbook.  I’ve used this a number of times at my church and when consulting other churches.  In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve emphasized written descriptions because as someone told me years ago, “If it’s not written, it didn’t happen.”
 
Accountability
Without accountability measures, job descriptions are not worth the paper they’re printed on because employees or volunteers will operate without restraint and administrators can be accused of favoritism.  
 
Accountability language in job descriptions answers two essential questions: “Who watches the watchers?” and “How do you achieve and maintain fair process?”  In other words, under whose authority and framework do church leaders operate?  
 
We should also be very careful, here, however.  Our ultimate authority and accountability is to God.  Therefore, we must constantly remind ourselves that we are His stewards, not His dictators.  This should not be viewed as an opportunity for a major power grab in our church. By the same token, the Bible commands us to operate with a spirit of love while also providing a guideline for reconciling and restoring believers in times of conflict (Matthew 28:1-35).  Bottom line, good church leaders are good followers much like Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1 when he links his pattern of living to that of Christ.
 
Assessment
Job performance involves the collection and assessment of qualitative and quantitative data related to the job description.  Prior to selecting an employee or volunteer, we should always review the assessment process with them to ensure honesty and fairness.  Depending on your church or denomination’s guidelines, it’s also a good idea to provide as much detail as possible about what your assessment looks like to avoid awkward if not illegal behavior for all parties involved.   
 
We all have an important job to do as believers!  Let’s do our due diligence to ensure transparency in church job descriptions that include articulation, accountability, and assessment.
 
1  Daskal , Lolly. “The Story of Everybody, Somebody, Anybody And Nobody – Lolly Daskal: Leadership.” Lolly Daskal, 28 Aug. 2018, www.lollydaskal.com/leadership

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