best practices for leadership

Why Ministry Leaders Deserve Professional Development

As soon as I sat down for the first session, I let out a sigh of relief. I knew that the next few days would be challenging, but I needed it. I had been feeling stuck in my ministry, and I needed fresh perspectives, reminders of what matters most, and the encouragement of others. I know that I am at my best when I'm investing in my development as a professional lay ecclesial minister.

Professional development should not be seen as a mere line item of privilege; it should be mandatory. Expecting staff, whether they are volunteers or paid, to figure everything out without proper resources and training is ridiculous. Many lay ecclesial ministry leaders express a desire to attend training, join cohorts, take courses, or attend conferences, but they often cite time and money as barriers, even when the sacrifice is worthwhile.

Parishes and dioceses need to prioritize the development of their ministry leaders. While it may seem like a costly endeavor, the return on investment is worth it. Here are some reasons why parishes and dioceses should invest more in developing their ministry leaders:

How We Do Ministry is Constantly Changing 

Professional development helps ministry leaders acquire new skills, knowledge, and expertise necessary to address the ever-changing mission field. It allows them to stay up-to-date with trends, technologies, and best practices, enabling them to become more adaptable and flexible.

There is So Much to Get Done

Hiring more people may alleviate the burden felt in ministry, but it is not always financially feasible. Investing in professional development improves individuals' skills and competencies, enabling them to work more efficiently and effectively. It equips them with tools and resources to overcome challenges and adapt to changing work environments, leading to increased productivity for both the individual and the organization.

Happy Employees Lead to a Healthy Culture

Offering professional development opportunities demonstrates that the organization values its employees and supports their success. By providing the necessary tools for their job, employees grow in confidence and joy. Happier leaders are more likely to stay, reducing turnover and fostering consistency and momentum. Prioritizing growth cultivates a sense of purpose and contributes to a healthier staff culture.

There is a Lot of Opposition Out There

Parishes face numerous distractions and competing activities for the attention of parishioners. While they may not have the resources to outspend marketing and production efforts, professional development equips teams with the knowledge, tools, and resources to stay current. Developing the team leads to innovative ideas and fresh perspectives. Additionally, the team will encounter spiritual opposition, and investing in their faith and personal relationship with Jesus Christ is significant. Strengthening the team's faith enhances their confidence in facing the challenges thrown their way.

Overall, professional development for the team is crucial to help them fulfill the mission God has placed on their hearts. It enables them to do more, listen to God carefully, and work effectively with others. While it requires financial sacrifice, the investment is worthwhile. A church that invests in its staff will, in turn, experience growth in its congregation.

What are some effective strategies or experiences you've seen in your organization or community to prioritize and invest in professional development for ministry leaders? 

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