I can see the end in sight, the light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccine has arrived, and 2021 is here. Unless you are a Chiefs, Lightening, Lakers, or Dodgers fan, the nightmare that has been 2020 is over. Or is it? Could 2021 bring significant staff changes?
I’m not one to spread doom and gloom. I am looking forward to the end of the season as much as anyone else. Like everyone else, I am tired of wearing a mask. I miss my friends and family. I want to enjoy community again – in my church, city, and neighborhood. But my weariness also points me to the reality of what might be in store for us this year.
2021 will be a year when we will see a lot of volatility in the job market. And I do not mean through the elimination of jobs. People will choose to move on. There is a significant chance that your youth or children’s minister has considered leaving for quite some time. At the very least has felt a need for change.
So why do we say this? Why do we believe you should prepare for staff changes, and what can you do about it?
Here are reasons why you can expect staff changes in 2021 and what to do about them.
3 Reasons For Staff Changes In 2021
People are emotionally and spiritually tired. There’s nothing left for them to give. They have tried every idea they know and have received rather lukewarm results. Few are excited about what has been happening in their ministry. So, therefore your children’s and youth minister aren’t excited either. And, if they appear to be, they are faking it in hopes of generating excitement.
So, give them a break.
Be clear on the expectations you have for them during the pandemic and what the realistic expectations will be coming out of the pandemic. Be specific.
Set their minds at ease. And then, permit them to take a break.
A well-timed sabbatical (with healthy parameters) will energize ministry leaders for this next phase.
Change of Scenery
People are associative. We associate smells and sounds with places and periods in our life. When my brother visits his alma mater, he always comments on how the library smells and the memories that it brings back for him.
Unfortunately, 2020 will be associated with the places where people worked during the pandemic. In this instance, the empty rooms are more of a reminder of what could or should have been. The grief associated with the pandemic and its aftermath is not fully realized yet.
This grief will drive people to look for a new start. They want to make new memories.
Instead of a change of scenery, meaning a new workplace, think about changing their current scenery. A fresh coat of paint, a new mural, or a rearranged room may help move people to an emotional restart. Positively changing something will communicate hope to others as well.
Many in ministry have questioned their calling during 2020. Is God now calling them to something else?
There has been ample time to consider other options and life priorities. It makes sense for people to reevaluate their lives in a crisis. When individuals are feeling dissatisfied with their work, they begin to question everything – including their calling.
For ministry leaders, they have been able to spend more time with their immediate family. Indeed this has been beneficial for them, maybe life-saving in some circumstances. Yet, some may now be realizing just how much they have been missing with their family. They may have decided they need a new career that would allow for more significant family time.
Balancing family responsibilities in ministry has always been a challenge and will continue to be a challenge in the future.
Being open to dialogue about the next steps will be critical for those considering a change. Inviting people to consider how God is moving in their lives will help them be heard and, possibly, receive feedback from those they trust.
As you dialogue with your staff member, and you realize they could use some extra support, be ready to provide what they need. Maybe you provide our professional coaching that will encourage your staff member. Perhaps, it will help your youth or children’s minister stay at your church for years to come!
On the other hand, if you realize that you need to fill your newly opened position, we have a job board for you. Better yet, we help clients find the very best individuals for their open ministry positions. Feel free to contact us if we can help you with any youth or children’s ministry needs!
As we prepare for what 2021 has in store, may we be proactive in our approach. Hope is on the horizon. Let’s choose to be part of the group of people that give hope to others.
Steve Schneeberger is the Executive Director of the Youth Ministry Institute. Beginning in 1985, Steve began a vocation as a youth minister serving churches in Kansas and Florida. He is a 1981 graduate of Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, Kansas, has a business degree from Baker University (1985) and a law degree from the University of Kansas (1988). He is married to Carol, a school counselor and former teacher. They have three children.