Thursday, December 20, 2007

Leader Leak

This is about as candid as I can be on a public blog. I'm feeling crappy. And that is totally out of character for me. The end of a semester is always a tumultuous mix of joy and sadness. It's exciting to see new leaders stepping up to the plate and new groups emerging. But it's terrible to see leaders leave.

That happens a lot around here at NCC. We've generally got folks for about two years, and then they're off again for grad school, missions work, run for office, etc.

This semester, I'm losing about a half dozen leaders. Some are leaving because of life change issues, and we are excited to be a part of their transition to new things in life. Others are leaving because NCC is just not the right fit for them anymore; and that's where the issue gets tough for me. And where the crappiness comes from. I feel caught between two strongly held beliefs that 1) people need to be plugged into the church where the can best grow but also that 2) people need to be committed to the church they are plugged into.

So how do other people deal with leader leak? Do you have exit interviews? Do you use the departure as an opportunity to re-evaluate your own leadership or to re-evaluate your structures and systems?


At 10:49 PM, Blogger Kathy Cannon said...

"Do you have exit interviews? Do you use the departure as an opportunity to re-evaluate your own leadership or to re-evaluate your structures and systems?"

Yes. Sorry, not the fun answer, but you're on the right track. Our church turns two in January, but we've already had our share of folks who "needed something else." Of course, we're also sure that once we have buildings, Wednesday night programs for their kids, etc, that we're going to see many of them again. It's hard not to take any "church transfer" personally because sometimes, it truly is a personality issue.

I try not to do anything too formally when someone's either done a disappearing act or is open about wanting to church shop. As evil as this sounds, e-mail comes in handy here. People feel they can take time with their answers and studies show we are more honest/bold than we would be face-to-face.

Bottom line--I always thank them profusely for everything they've done, encourage them to get involved wherever and also to continue the relationships they had while attending. Then I bless them in their journey.

Not easy. You're right--it's quite crappy.

At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As one who just left a church that I was on staff at.....

I strongly encourage exit interviews! Most businesses, corporations, and organizations do that. I think it is appropriate and professional. It also shows that one cares about your thoughts, feelings, and transition. Exit interviews should be done in the spirit of love!

I believe there are pastors that are hesistant or afriad of taking that step because it leads to people being vulnerable and open. I think that is great! That is what the Church needs to be like! We need to be real with each other!

Exit interviews may help the staff person that is leaving to leave without bitterness or grudges. It may also help the healing process!

We, the Church, should always be re-evaluating our own leadership, structures, and systems. I think it will help us grow which will help us effectively disciple and make an impact on the unchurched and lost.


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