Thursday, May 30, 2013

Supervising Assistants, Interns, and Associates in College Ministry

I am convinced that one of the poorest things we do in Christian ministry is supervision. There are most often one of two extremes....the CEO who micromanages and no supervision at all....with the latter being the most prevalent.

In being the overall director of an intern type program some years ago, I was amazed to hear one of the Campus Ministers of a one year intern say, "I tell them they are a professional, just go and do what you know needs doing.". My response to that is most of them didn't have a clue what all needed doing and what they did showed it.

If someone is an Intern or new to ministry, one of your jobs is to help them grow in their skills and understanding of ministry. You should know more than they do....and if you don' are at least supposed to be in charge and give direction and focus. So, how do you supervise?

1. Have weekly staff meetings...that's ok if it is just the two of you. Divide up responsibilities; Evaluate past events; encourage them and help them talk out and learn from experiences, if they are real inexperienced.

2. Early on it is important to give some very specific direction and give helpful feedback. Some family members recently shared that there was frustration that their new Youth Minister did not go down front during the invitstion and help the pastor with those making decisions, the former Youth Minister had. I asked if anyone had ever told him to do that...they said, "Shouldn't he know to do that?". Wonder how many things new workers have not been told that people are frustrated that they are not doing?

Again, early feedback...affirmation and correction are very important! That is when it is most needed and when it is best received.

3. One of the most helpful things I ever did was to ask my Assistants to make up a to-do sheet at the beginning of each semester. They had a general job description, but this was to be a list of specific tasks they planned to do such as....Eat in the U Cafeteria every Tuesday....Lead one freshmen guys Bible study group, etc, etc. Then, I would look at the list and often would add one or two things and then We would both agree to it. We would revisit it about a month into the semester for needed adjustments OR a needed reminder what was on the list. Then, we would talk about it and evaluate at the end of the semester. Then, we would do a new one for the new semester.

Accountability matters. Experience teaches you more little things to do and how to do them than big things. You can share, teach and model these things as you go along....rather than them learning them the hard way or over the long haul.

A while back a church I am familiar with fired their Minister of Music for concerns that had been mounting over the past couple of years. At his year end meeting with the pastor, just a Few months before, the pastor had told him he was doing a great job. His supervisor failed him with lack of helpful honesty. He had no knowledge of the fact he had to I prove in some areas and what those areas were.

A good supervisor is lovingly honest!

I had one staff member who said he did not want to learn from my experience, but rather from making all their own mistakes. This staff member did not do well....I learned a lot about hiring out of that...but, that's another blog.

If you are not supervising and helping those under you grow and be more effective, you are not doing your job!

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