By Todd Adkins
This role vulnerability matrix is really helping you understand your critical vulnerabilities when it comes to people in your church. If somebody has to step out of a high-level, high-impact leadership role, whether it’s a volunteer, a volunteer leader, or a staff person, it’s really important we understand where we are. This tool will help us do that. In this exercise we will assess the staff and volunteer roles in our church.
When you look at the y-axis, think about the positions that are essential and have a high impact on your ability to do ministry. Document what those key roles are for your church, and also do that for each individual ministry area.
The sloping line represents how difficult it is to replace this person or this position. Some of these roles will be harder to fill than others for various reasons, it could be skill set, institutional knowledge, level of spiritual maturity, any one of those things.
The x-axis is about the individual person. Up to this point, it’s been more about the role, now it’s about the person who currently serves in the role and whether or not they are at risk of being able to serve for now.
Normally, when we ask these questions about potential reasons for risk of vacancy it would be things like stages of life, retirement, kids leaving for college, a spouse changing jobs, etc. In our current climate though, it’s become a lot more complicated. According to the CDC, 91% of those who have died from COVID-19 were 55 or older. For many churches this age bracket makes up half of their volunteer and leader workforce, not to mention their key high-level leaders. If you add this to the additional health conditions within the vulnerable populations of the CDC guidelines, we could have a real problem because someone with asthma or who lives with a child who has asthma may want to opt out of serving in many roles.
Please remember that this tool is meant to be used for high-level, high-impact roles only at this time. We will get into the weeds for the full volunteer audit for every role in a later session. So, just think about these high-level, high-impact roles for now.
Again, some of these roles will be harder to fill than others. Identify your most vulnerable roles, and then name the volunteer currently filling that role and three names of potential replacements for that role. When you have a critical, strategic gap like this in your church, you have to fill it, at least temporarily. Ideally, we wouldn’t want to practice leadership placement, we want to practice leadership development and would have been developing someone in this role for a while. But this is an emergency, so I want to give you one more little tool that is going to help you get clarity on who is the best candidate to fill this role. It’s called the Four Judgements.
We have a tendency to make an emotional decision on how much we like a person or go for the first person that comes to mind when we are in a time of emergency or crisis. Instead, we want to think about each potential candidate that you’ve listed here, one of the three, and the position that they currently hold and how they have displayed these four judgements over the past year. Assessing these four judgments will allow you to make a good decision on who to put in that leadership position.
On a sliding scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most positive, assess each candidate for the following four categories:
- Did the person have good judgment and make good decisions when it came to aligning with your visions and values as a church?
- Did this person’s decisions align with and reflect your church’s strategy?
- How did this person handle themselves when crisis arose?
- Does this person have good judgment about people?
If all four of those line up, congratulations, I think you’ve found your person to fill that critical volunteer gap. Now, it’s time for us to move on and fully assess all our volunteer roles across the church.
Our team wants to help your church respond with vision, understanding, clarity, and agility in the midst of this season. Check out our FREE Guide to Rapidly Recruit Volunteers and Realign Ministries on Ministry Grid here.