I have a particular interest in the health and encouragement of church staff members, having served as one for more than half of my ministry. It was with great anticipation that I purchased “The Church Staff Member Handbook” by Doug Fagerstrom. Most books written today for the personal and professional development of ministers targets the sr. pastor. Fagerstrom attempts to answer this disparity with his extensive volume written primarily – but not exclusively – for those who hold other ministry positions in the church.
This book is aptly titled. It is every bit a handbook filled with timely advice and guidance for a variety of situations and challenges that associate staff members face. Given this literary style the handbook will be a valuable resource to have on your shelf and refer to often. It is not the type of book that you will want to read cover-to-cover. I ended up reading the book over several months. Perhaps the biggest challenge will be for the staff member to keep the handbook accessible so that it might be applied as needed.
The broad topics that Fagerstrom addresses are: Establishing Your Ministry Identity, Becoming A Servant, Working Hard, Serving Others, Leaving a Legacy, and Managing Life & Ministry. Under these headings are thirty chapters that cover a wide range of situations for ministry members. Regardless of your specific ministry title you will find several of these chapters to be worth the modest price of the book. I read ‘The Church Ministry Staff Member’ on my kindle but would recommend owning a printed version that can be easily flipped through.
Of particular interest is the final section – five chapters written specifically for the sr. leadership. Embedded in these chapters are significant words of wisdom that most second chair leaders would pay real cash money to pass on to their sr. leaders. Fortunately, you can do so for just the price of this book!
(Full Disclosure Alert! I know the author personally – having once been classmates at Bethel Seminary and currently serving on the Board of Overseers for Converge Worldwide where Dr. Fagerstrom serves as Sr. Vice-President.)