15 things your church staff want you to know

Among the things you didn’t learn in seminary, including what to do when your church is dying, how to shepherd your wife, and when you know it’s time to take a call somewhere else, there was how to manage a staff.

Unless you run a mega-church, you probably don’t have hundreds of full-time and part-time staff. But even if you have a church of less than 100 people, which is much more likely, you probably have a part-time secretary or musician.

You already know that being a good preacher is not the same as being a good congregation leader, which is again different from being a good boss.

“I have had the joy of working alongside pastors who see support staff and those working behind the scenes in the local church as valuable partners in ministry,” said Grace Sullivan, who has worked for seven years as support staff for a church in suburban Chicago. . “I’ve also worked with pastors who cared about the members of the congregation but didn’t see those who came day in and day out as worthy of their time.”

The Gospel Coalition interviewed Sullivan and a handful of other church staff about the best practices of their patron-pastors.

1. Pray daily.

“Daily Staff Prayer not only reminds us of our need and dependence on the Lord for all we do, but it also gives us a daily opportunity to come together as staff, an understanding of the challenges and joys we live, and unity in Our efforts. The timing is 9:15 to 9:45 every day, and we are learning to prioritize this time. I would say it is the most unifying, uplifting, encouraging and important thing we do together – Andy Winn, associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina

I would say daily prayer is the most unifying, uplifting, encouraging, and important thing we do together.

2. Pray for your staff by name.

“It’s powerful! [Lead pastor] Brad Wetherell – and other pastors in our church – not only see the value of sheep in the congregation, but also view the staff as members of the same body. – Grace Sullivan, former director of campus ministries at The Orchard in Arlington Heights, Illinois

3. Sing.

“The best part of our staff meeting is that we start by singing two worship songs, listening to a devotional from one of the staff and praying together. It reminds us not to be too task-oriented. , but rather to focus on Jesus first and support one another.—Allison Van Egmond, Women’s Ministries Coordinator at New Life Presbyterian Church in Escondido, Calif.

4. Be intentional about how much time you spend together.

“Have meetings that are worthwhile; cancel meetings that have ceased to be effective or necessary. Some pastors are reluctant to reevaluate the weekly schedule of church staff. Reevaluate! Reset meeting times if they become mundane. We have often changed the spacing of meetings when weekly becomes too important, changing it to every two weeks or even monthly. –Grace Sullivan

Set meetings that are worthwhile; cancel meetings that have ceased to be effective or necessary.

5. Be present, both physically and mentally.

“Brad is always present in the meetings he attends! I’ve been with him in very different types of meetings from one to another, and he always makes the present moment the most important. Wherever he is, he attracts all his attention! He’s not on his phone texting; it does not check other emails; he doesn’t get up to leave because someone else can pass. If the meeting is on the schedule, then it’s worth it, and he proves it with his attention. –Grace Sullivan

6. Eat together.

“We have lunch together as staff every Tuesday. After lunch, while we are still seated around the table, we have a staff meeting where we talk about all kinds of things, both related to our church and the church in general. These may be praise, prayer-related concerns, or questions of day-to-day operation at the OPCRC. These meetings ensure that we are all on the same page for current church events. – Dori Summers, Discipleship and Outreach Coordinator at Orland Park Christian Reformed Church in Orland Park, Illinois

7. Pay attention to the little things.

“Knowing the names of our spouses and our children! And say “hello” when you see us! (Yes, I have already had to give this advice to pastors!) In one-on-one meetings with administrative or support staff, take five minutes to ask how they are doing personally. A neat person is often encouraged and encouraged to work more efficiently and with joy. And as you discuss so many details and work that needs to be done, end the meeting by praying for your staff member. Often staff do not hear prayers for themselves; encourage them so! –Grace Sullivan

Know the names of our spouses, and our children! And say “hello” when you see us!

8. Pay attention to big things too.

“Most pastoral personnel will encounter [lead pastor] Andy Davis at least twice a month (with a couple meeting weekly). These meetings are not long (an hour or less), but they are regular. These meetings focus less on daily and weekly responsibilities and more on the person’s own family or spiritual growth. A staff member can certainly raise a ministry or logistical challenge, but usually time is set aside to grow as a father, husband or pastor or simply in his love for the Word of God. –Andy Win

9. Be available.

“Our two pastors, Derek [Buikema] and Dan [Roeda], have what I call an open door policy when it comes to staff. When we have something to discuss, a work-related concern, or even something personal, their doors are always open. I think with some pastors there can be a feeling of “I shouldn’t bother him”. But I never felt like I couldn’t approach any of them, which is key to building trust in our relationship. – Denise Vander Plaats, communications coordinator at Orland Park Christian Reformed Church in Orland Park, Illinois

10. Go out.

“I really appreciate that Pastor Derek comes to our offices once in a while during the day just to pull in the breeze. He sits in one of the free chairs in our workspace and we talk. Sometimes he s This is an issue that weighs heavily on him, one that he shares with us and invites our input in. Sometimes it’s just a matter of talking a little rubbish about the Fantasy Football league from our staff at the OPCRC He’s not above hanging out with us and he treats us like equals which creates a sense of trust And every Friday morning we all put our Dunkin’ orders on our apps we’ll fetch and then we sit together and talk and enjoy our coffee and sweets together. It’s one of my favorite times of the week. – Denise Vander Plaats

Every Friday morning, we all place our Dunkin order on our apps, pick it up, and then we sit together and talk and enjoy our coffee and treats together. It’s one of my favorite times of the week.

11. Loosen the reins.

“One thing that I see as a real benefit to the work environment is autonomy. I believe Pastor Darryl [Williamson] does a fantastic job of allowing us employees to complete tasks without heavy demands, but also allowing time for these elements to grow and flourish over time. This creates opportunities to build trust in the workplace and reinforces the idea that responsibility is not driven by pressure or simple duty, but by individual character. – Fenol Dera, Next Generation Ministry Leader at Living Faith Bible Fellowship in Tampa, Florida

12. Make room for growth and failure.

Andy will very rarely be [Davis] tell another minister how to do something or do something differently. There is room for growth in areas of giftedness or interest that a staff member wishes to explore. In fact, as long as the daily needs of ministry are met, how staff members use their time, gifts, or ministries is largely determined by their interests. That said, there are times when ideas and initiatives fail. When this happens, we can discuss what led to a less than stellar outcome, but it’s rarely done in a way that discourages creative ministry efforts in the future. The “freedom to fail” has been the key to the staff’s joy and creativity to thrive in their ministries. –Andy Win

13. Jump into work, even if it’s not technically your job.

“People are often motivated by the task of the ministry initiative rather than the task of the job description. When staff members see Andy’s willingness to serve, it motivates them to do the same. We all try to avoid the “it’s not my job” mentality and replace it with a “how can I serve?” attitude. The benefit over time is that everyone feels he or she has an active role in the ministry here. –Andy Win

The “freedom to fail” has been the key to the staff’s joy and creativity in thriving in their ministry.

14. Open communication between staff and management.

“Each month our ministry staff complete a report that is sent to the elders, and each year the staff attend an elders’ meeting. Bridging the gap between staff and elders is so important. As a staff member, it’s encouraging to know that alumni know about what I do and what’s going on with the ministry. –Allison Van Egmond

15. Make sure they rest.

“Early in his ministry, Andy [Davis] has established family as a priority, which most often results in the understanding that Fridays are reserved for family time. In fact, there were times when Andy asked another member of staff, “Now why were you here last Friday? Over time, this had a significant effect on the families of ministers. Although it may not be said, there are funerals, weddings and emergencies that will take priority, but the pattern is to prioritize ministry to the church during the office and ministry to the family during the office. ‘absence. –Andy Win

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