“The Care and Feeding of Your Church Staff”(Deuteronomy 25:4; I Timothy 5:17-22)

On my preaching schedule I ended up with an open Sunday today between two sermon series. I just finished the series “Lessons from The Sinai for a Church in Transition” and next week I will start a 4-week stewardship series followed by the beginning of the season of Advent.

So today, on this in-between Sunday, I feel called to go ahead and preach to you a stand alone sermon I preach to all the churches in transition I pastor these days. It’s called “The Care and Feeding of Your Church Staff.” The interim time, I have found, is a really opportune time to talk to congregations about their relationship with their own church staff.

A church member, after hearing this sermon, said to me at the door after the service, “That was a sermon only an interim pastor could preach!” And I agree. It is. It is my way of advocating for your church staff. Having been on a number of church staffs myself, I know personally that it’s a lot harder, if not impossible, for church staff to advocate for themselves, so I like to do it for them.

Let me begin by first naming your current church staff and listing the paid work they do for this church:

Noelle Read, Associate Pastor; Mandy Davis, Music Director; Annette Martin, Church Musician; Stephen Price, Youth Director; Jennifer Poag, Children’s Director; Gray Watson, Facilities, Grounds and Recreation Manager; Jackie Lollis, Office Administrator; Sandy Kallin, retiring Office Administrator and now part-time office consultant to Jackie Lollis; Lisa Moorehead and Shirley Stayanoff, Co-directors of this church’s Preschool.

Let me say here what a delight it is for me to work with all your church staff, each one so unique and interesting and each one doing such good work on behalf of your church, all of them contributing to the whole.

Sometime in the months ahead there will be an important new addition to the church staff, a new installed senior pastor, whom I am calling for now “Not David Bailey.”

As you look forward to the coming of your new pastor, this sermon is meant

to be a timely and Biblical and practical reminder of what you as a

congregation can do to build a good and satisfying long-term mutual

relationship with your own church staff. With stewardship season coming

up, you might hear this sermon as a call to group stewardship of your

church staff.

I want to share with you this morning what the apostle Paul, a pastor, had to say to his young pastor protégé, Timothy, about how a congregation ought to treat pastors. As I read what Paul has to say to Timothy through the lens of my many experiences with church staffs, I notice that the passage has application not only for congregations and pastors, but for the congregation’s relationship with the entire church staff as well.

Paul first brings up the idea that a congregation needs to give their pastor enough personal freedom to get his or her own needs met, even as she or he meets the spiritual and practical needs of the congregation. I would say the congregation needs to give this freed