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

3. A written job description is the perfect tool for performance evaluations.

I worked as an associate pastor in two churches before being a senior pastor. Over the seven years I spent as an associate, I never received a formal performance evaluation, and I never had a written job description. Even if I had sat down with my pastors to discuss my performance, our talk would have devolved into a cat-and-mouse game of subjectivity about exactly what I was supposed to be doing.

There was nothing written down that either pastor could point to in order to evaluate my performance, so their evaluation would have been intuitive, subjective and inconsistent. 

I always provided staff members with a written job description. When we would sit down annually to discuss their growth, progress and even their struggles, the first thing we would do is read their job description out loud. I can’t tell you how many times a staff member would say, “Oh, man, I forgot about that one.” I would smile and say, “Well, before we leave today, let’s get some goals on paper to address it.”

When you let the job description do the correction, then you’re not the bad guy. It gives you an objective, dispassionate way to help staff members get back on track, and see if they’re doing the things they have been asked (and are being paid) to do.

Finally …

4. A written job description can be used for promotion, correction or even termination.

If Pastor Toby comes in to the quarterly or annual review, and you discover that not only has he done everything on the job description, but he has actually expanded some of the things he’s doing in youth ministry, then you can give him a written letter of commendation (to be read at the staff meeting) and a bonus check or gift card to a local restaurant! You can even give him a raise. If he gets it all done in 30 hours, and wants to spend 10 hours developing a men’s ministry, you can give him a promotion and add a few lines to his job description, and a few bucks to his hourly rate. 

If, however, Toby isn’t doing what’s written down, you can give him a letter outlining the things that he is not doing and helping him to set goals to get them done. If, after a season of correction and recalibration, Toby just doesn’t get his work done, you can put the job description on the desk in front of him and ask him if he thinks he is doing the things written on it.

Since you’ve done the work of writing things down, you can help him, if necessary, to see that he’s not cut out for youth ministry the way you want it done, and you can let him go. But it won’t have to be because he can’t read your mind, and therefore can’t do the things you want done. It will be because both of you know that he isn’t doing his job.

And you will both know that because you have given him a detailed and well-crafed job description.

Again, you don’t have to hire staff members and have employees if you don’t want to. For some churches, that language just doesn’t sound very spiritual.

But if you do hire people, and if you do have employees who work at your church, then you owe it to them, and to yourself, to give them a well-written, clear and detailed job description, and to get some basic training in best practices for human resource management. If you want help with job descriptions, you can get it for a very reasonable cost at http://www.jobdescription.com. Here is an example of the kind of job description they can help you develop in a matter of minutes.