Home Pastors Articles for Pastors Your Staff Needs a Written Job Description: 4 Reasons Why

Your Staff Needs a Written Job Description: 4 Reasons Why

A job description and a title are two different things. To illustrate, think of a football team. “Quarterback” is a title, and calling the plays on the field and throwing the ball to the other players based on those prewritten plays that have been practiced over and over is the job description.

Nobody knows how to be a quarterback just because he is assigned that title. He has to learn the role, understand the functions, and be taught the skills and tasks associated with the title. He has to know what the coach expects of him, and he has to be given a very specific list of plays to be memorized for the big games.

Otherwise, he’s just a guy with a title who doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do. He may be incredibly talented and gifted for the game, but he still needs a playbook.

The job description is every staff member’s play book. Here’s how it works.

1. A written job description gives clarity and direction.

Every job description should include a general description of the job, including the job title, the number of hours per week the job requires, the pay and benefits associated with the job, the person to whom the staff member is directly accountable, and the general duties associated with the job.

But it should also contain several lines (bullet points) that give the staff member specific tasks and assignments to do as a regular function of the job. This is the part of the job description where you get to tell the staff member the specific things you want done on a regular basis.

You can break it up daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually if there is a larger program that requires ongoing ministry, as well as long-range planning for events like retreats, camps, outreaches, etc.

Build those things into the job description, then you’ll have a tool for the second function.

2. A written job description provides objective accountability.

If your new youth pastor excitedly announces that he has dreamed up a cool idea for a Men’s Ministry breakfast, and that he’s already working out the details, you can calmly respond with, “Toby, is that part of your job here? It’s a great idea, buy I really want you to spend your energy working on the job description I gave you first. If you have vision for more, then that’s excellent, but I’m not willing to expand your duties until we’re both sure that you’re doing the things on your job description first.”

Sometimes staff members will lose motivation for their actual job, and start doing someone else’s job instead. Of course, they’ll feel like (and try to convince you that) they are working hard.

The written job description helps you to remind a staff member that their job is not about doing stuff that would be really cool, but is instead about them doing the stuff that pertains to the job they were brought in to do.

That brings up a third helpful function of the job description.