I caught up with an old friend today who is now working in church and we discussed about the difference between working in a church and in the corporate world. I only had a few months of it to talk about, and even that, not from a church perspective but from a para-church organisation, which I worked in for a couple of months many, many, many years ago. I believe she has now been working in the church for almost half a year if not more.
She found it hard to adapt to the difference. She raised a very interesting question - what is she suppose to optimise on while working in a church?
In a regular company, she will optimise on efficiency, lowering costs and increasing profits. That was clear to her when she was working in one but now in church, she admits being pretty confused. She asked then, what would be the basis of making decisions?
I suppose it's effectiveness and not efficiency which needs to be optimised by staff in a church settling? But no, I think it's both, towards meeting the intention of the Gospel of Christ to reach all peoples and all nations.
I blogged about Henry Mintzberg's book, The Structuring of Organisations, two weeks ago, which I did get a copy and started reading it. He was talking about limiting the number of operators any one manager can supervise, or span of control, when he actually quoted Exodus 18:21-24! I'm not joking, he actually had the entire four verses in print in that organisational book of his. In those verses, Moses's father-in-law advised him to form a hierarchical organisation of leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty and ten. So biblically, efficiency is also there, I bet not only in Exodus but in many more other passages. But not for profit but for salvation in the kingdom of God.
For a pastor, I think it's quite clear cut. His duties are to care and teach. He will be optimising the people's theological and spiritual life. And if that is the case, the work of the church staff will be to enable the pastor to do so.
I know...I've said it too simplistically. So what do you think?