What’s On the Horizon? Prepare to Serve Your PMC by Preparing to Leave

Highway in to the horizon of nowhere

“Man knows not his time.” Or as the NLT puts Ecclesiastes 9:12, “People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy.”

In 1616, the Puritan William Perkins wrote a treatise, ‘The Right Manner of Dying Well.’ One of the themes of that discourse is the idea that we are not really prepared to live until we are prepared to die.

The same idea could be said of serving in the PMC—that you’re not really prepared to serve until you’re prepared to leave.

Whether you are the ED, nurse, development manager, receptionist, or in another role, how would your PMC fare if you were suddenly taken from them?

What if tragedy struck you or your family—like an accident or illness, and suddenly you weren’t there to tell your PMC team where everything is and what needs to be done? What kinds of risks would likely develop at your clinic? What deadlines would be missed? How long would it take for them to recover?

Could your team carry on without you? Would they easily pick up the pieces and keep going or would much be left undone? How do you know? Is it possible to prepare your PMC?

What can you do now to prepare your center for that transition if and when it comes?

Charging each of your team members to “get your house in order,” will not only prepare your PMC for that hardship, it will equip you to serve with greater intentionality, improving your efficiency and effectiveness, when times are not quite as bumpy.

As ED, set the example, and then have each team member follow suit with a strategy like this one:

Create a place to organize your brainstorming. Whatever works best for you. Whether you use a legal pad, a Word document, or an Excel sheet, create a place to jot down all the things you do in terms of frequency like the following:

      • Daily
      • Weekly
      • Bi-monthly
      • Monthly
      • Quarterly
      • Bi-annually
      • Annually

Begin brainstorming. What are the things you do on a regular basis?

      • It’s easy to forget those seemingly insignificant daily duties like checking email, voice mail, cleaning, etc. when everyone gets in their routine. But what happens when the person responsible isn’t there? Will appointments be missed? Will deposits not be made, donations not be recorded, and donors not be thanked in a timely manner?
      • Then there are those tasks that aren’t necessarily daily, but you have to stay on top of them at least weekly. What about receipts and invoices? Supplies? Thank you calls? Reports?
      • You may or may not have bi-monthly responsibilities. If your PMC pays non-exempt employees bi-monthly, you may have to review timesheets or issue pay-stubs.
      • Are there monthly pledge statements to be sent out? What about thank-you notes? Is there a monthly newsletter or ministry update? If your board meets monthly, what are the reports that will be due for those meetings? Development? Finance? Patient Stats? Do reminders need to be sent to position team and board members for success? Who is responsible for making sure everyone has copies of agenda and minutes? How soon prior to the meeting do these items need to be sent to facilitate effectiveness?
      • What are your quarterly obligations? Safety checks? Medical team meetings? Visiting area churches, pastors, schools, or businesses? Do you have any grants that require quarterly reports?
      • Does your policy and procedure manual require that you have bi-annual fire drills? Do you have any grants that require bi-annual reports?
      • Non-profits have many annual requirements that may catch a new or untrained ED by surprise: Filing IRS 990, providing for its access as a Public Access Document, filing a state Annual Report, and registering or renewing according to state Charitable Registration Solicitation requirements.What insurance policies do you have and when are they typically due?  Common ones include board and directors, general liability, medical liability, workers’ compensation, property, and contents.What other events come up annually, and when does someone need to begin planning?  What printed materials do you need to inventory, review, reorder? What month do you review your policy and procedure manual? What about performance reviews?When does your board have its annual meeting? When do you recruit and train new board members?

Create a deadline for this Regular Responsibility document. Give yourself two weeks, or at most a month after you’ve completed your initial brainstorming session, and as you go about your work and do things you forgot to include, you now have a place to put it. Keep adding to it until you reach your deadline.

Clean it up. Review it again, this time making sure you’ve explained your responsibilities thoroughly, including where to find files, website addresses, etc.

Share it with others. Ask someone you trust on your team to go over it, and see if it all makes sense and what questions they have, then edit it a final time.

Tell your team where to find it. What would be worse than you doing all this work, and then adversity storms on your PMC, but no one can find the document?

The reality is that none of us knows what is on the horizon. In chapter four of James, he warns us that none of us knows what will happen in our lives. In verses 14-17, he tells us that we should keep in our mind, “if it’s the Lord’s will, we will do this or that.” To fail to recognize that the Lord could remove us, James tells us is to boast and brag.

Would you or anyone at your center ever be so bold as to say, “The Lord wouldn’t take me away—He knows how important I am here.” I’d guess not. But have you ever had that flickering thought? “He can’t take me now? What I’m doing is just too important.”

Or, are there people at your center that you value so highly, that you think, “No way would the Lord take her—she’s way too important.”

What if He did?

Direct each member of your team to prepare now for their departure and equip them to serve your PMC more effectively and with greater intentionality for what will hopefully be many years to come. And if not, you and they will feel a great sense of satisfaction in having laid the foundation for the smoothest transition possible.

Reni Bumpas
Sparrow Solutions Consultant

Stay updated on information that could impact you in your local PMC

Subscribe to the PMC Advisor Newsletter