the shape of leadership

Three Mistakes You Should Never Overlook

Staff issues you can’t ignore

Influence Magazine on June 28, 2018

As leaders, you will have to deal with the mistakes of those who follow you. But those errors will come in all different shapes and sizes. It takes wisdom to know what to overlook and what to zero in on, or when to apply grace and when to apply pressure.

Reacting too harshly could damage a relationship. But responding in a manner that’s too lenient might foster more bad behavior.

Here are three mistakes you should never overlook. When you uncover a flaw in one of these areas, don’t hesitate to address it.

Sexual Impropriety

If you have a staff member who is engaging in sex outside of marriage, you must call him or her out on it. But the issue goes even further than that. What about those mistakes that don’t necessarily rise to the level of adultery?

We don’t just mean the type that Jesus warned about, the lust of the heart (Matthew 5:28). What about charges of sexual harassment or sexual discrimination? In the current climate, we must be on guard against any and all impropriety, especially in the Church.

It may begin innocently enough, such as joking that borders on innuendo. There is no room in the body of Christ for obscenity or coarse joking (Ephesians 5:4). And such behavior can be a warning sign of more serious issues.

We must be on guard against any and all impropriety, especially in the Church.

Mishandling Finances

Anyone on your staff who oversees finances must remain above reproach. When people give tithes and offerings, they trust the church to handle those resources with the utmost integrity.

Make sure each person who comes in contact with cash, carries a church credit card, or fills out expense reports has a good record of financial integrity.

Mishandling finances rarely begins with large-scale embezzling. It’s usually subtle and small. It could be swiping supplies from a closet or a drink from the soda machine. That may lead to taking a few dollars from an offering plate now and then. Before you know it, the theft may total thousands of dollars.

Copying the Work of Others

Though it may not seem as bad as the first two issues, plagiarism has been a major sin of some church leaders. Preachers, writers and even scholars have come under fire for taking someone else’s work and passing it off as their own.

The root of this problem can be as simple as taking credit for a job they had nothing to do with. Over time, it becomes easier to deceive in other areas. Make sure staff members understand the importance of doing their own hard work and never taking credit for the accomplishment of a fellow colleague.

There are other areas that are just as important as these. The Holy Spirit will help you discern these problems and give you the wisdom to address them.

But it’s important never to shy away from confrontation when you encounter an issue. After all, “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins” (James 5:20).


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