The Talk

This is not what you think.

For many years I have had what I call “THE TALK” with all new pastoral staff hires. I have started to have a variation of “the talk” with couples in marriage counseling. “The Talk” has four major components, now. It once had only three. That was a mistake. 

Here’s the basic out line of “The TALK”:

  1. We hired you because we believe you can do the job (description). We believe you have the maturity, gifts, education, experience and creativity to do the job we have hired you for. And we believe you have the gifts and ability to do this job and do it well. And that is part of the reason why we are excited to have you on our team.
  2. As member of this church staff and team, your first task is recruit 25 people who will pray for your walk with God and your love for your spouse. Assemble a team of people who will pray for you regularly by the end of your first month of ministry.
  3. Your first task is related to your job description in a way that is not immediately obvious and that is the focus of “The Talk”. You will notice that your job description has two sections: Primary Responsibility and Secondary Responsibilities. The secondary responsibilities are the tasks that we expect you to use all your training, education, and experience to accomplish for the glory of God. We believe in you. We will resource you and pray for you and encourage you and do everything we can to make you successful. But you can do this job. That’s why we hired you and brought you on to our team.
    As important as these “secondary responsibilities” are (they are the tasks that we hired you for!) they are and will always be secondary. It’s the “Primary Responsibilities” that will make or break your ministry, marriage and life. So every job description in the church for every ministry, paid or unpaid, begins with these two responsibilities.
    a. “Maintain a vital, visible and easily discernible love for Jesus and His Kingdom.” 

    b. “Maintain a vital, visible and easily discernible love for your spouse and family.”
    We know you can do the job, but if you don’t take care of these two areas—your love for Jesus and your spouse—you will complicate, undercut and eventually destroy your ministry, marriage and life. You will compromise your testimony and the testimony of our whole team. So this first task of establishing a team of people to pray for these two areas is the first step in insuring success in both your ministry and your life. Take care of these and the ministry will take care of itself. We know you can do the job. But you will lose your opportunity to do your job if you don’t take care of these first two responsibilities.
  4. [This fourth point was never a part of “The Talk” but I wish it was. It will be in the future.]
    After you establish your team of 25 prayer warriors for your walk and marriage, you have one more month to establish your plan for communicating to them and keeping them engaged in praying for your walk and ministry. They will want you know about your ministry. Tell them about it, but keep them engaged in praying primarily for your WALK WITH GOD and YOUR LOVE FOR YOUR SPOUSE.

    Finally, I would make ministry evaluations, primarily about Primary Responsibilities 1 and 2.

Maybe “The Talk” would be valuable to you and your church. Steal it. Adapt it. Do whatever you need to do, but find a way to help your staff keep the first thing, the main thing, above all other things.

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