You Don’t Have To Be A Big Church To Have A Great Church Staff


The size, style or situation of your church doesn’t have to dictate the effectiveness of your church staff.  You don’t need a lot of people to have a very effective church leadership team. Both small and large houses can have well manicured lawns.  It doesn’t cost more to have nicely mowed lawn, it’s just requires discipline.  Every church is uniquely gifted with the people needed to help accomplish the kingdom mission in your part of the world. Here are some of the ways that every church staff team can be highly effective:

Build Systems.

Create ways for work to flow.  This will help raise the level of accomplishment.  If there is something you’re doing you know another person could easily do, document it – write it down step by step (this is one key to delegating, yet, most often skipped).  Once documented, you can pass it on to the secretary, the admin assistant or a volunteer in your organization.  Other systems may include assimilation, how to process guests in worship, how to track attendance or how you get publications ready.  Work little by little to get these into place so you become more free to work on other areas of ministry.

Develop Clear Expectations.

This is one of four things every team member needs from their boss.  Developing a job description, even for the smallest staff roles, can be really helpful.  Does everyone on your team know what is expected?  Some of these expectations can be laid out from a manager perspective – when to show up, how long to stay, etc.  Other expectations can be less task focused and more vision focused.  These would fall more in line with church values and culture.  Things like “how we do things around here”, “how we behave toward people”, “putting our all into our work” can fall into culture and value expectations.

Run Effective Staff Meetings.

There is no excuse for poorly run meetings.  Leading highly productive meetings is one way you can help transform the effectiveness of the church staff for absolutely no cost!  Meetings fuel action and you need them.  You probably even need more (shorter) meetings with your staff during the week.  Be creative – hold some late in the day for volunteers to jump in.  It would do every pastor and ministry leader well to Google “how to run effective meetings” at least a couple times per year.  Begin implementing agendas, start on time, end on time, attach a name to each item needed on the agenda, do not have your phone out, take notes, stay engaged, don’t come empty handed, etc.  You don’t have to become an impersonal taskmaster as you lead – you can still be caring and connected in community – but use your time together wisely. Here are some thoughts for leading effective meetings.   Here are three components every church meeting should have.

Encourage Training and Development.

Training always helps move a person forward in ministry. Invite your staff to go with you to local seminars and larger conferences. Encourage them to attend.  Find things they can attend.  Budget money to pay for them to attend.  Have them share what they learned when they return.  Here are six reasons to attend a training event. 

Involve Volunteer Staff.

In some cases, all you may have is volunteer staff.  Delegate bite-sized bits of ministry leadership to them.  Encourage them.  Give them access to you.  Develop them to grow in leadership.  Set up meetings with them.  Keep them in the loop.  Teach key lead volunteers to round up, train and care for their own teams of volunteers.  Read: How to “pay” volunteer teams. Encourage each of your paid staff to really grow their volunteer teams!  There’s no other way to grow a church.  Read:  7 Steps To Keep Your Volunteer Team Growing. 

Bring Clarity to Roles.

Who is responsible for what?  A person’s name needs to be attached to every ministry that happens.  Delineate the roles so there is no confusion about who will make sure it gets accomplish. Here are 7 Reasons Clarity is a must for Churches to be Strong!  Church leadership can’t always be cut and dried – there are lots of ministries, lots of people, and lots of volunteers, but do your best to make it clear so things don’t fall through the cracks.

Develop and Teach a Healthy View of Church Staff.

The church staff is a unique team, designed to help the congregation more fully accomplish their mission.  Of course, the staff serves the church.  But, the ultimate goal of any staff role is to further the mission of the congregation.  Pastors and staff leaders can help teach the congregation what church staff do through writing, speaking about it, and supporting the staff work and decisions.  Church ministry staff need to think of themselves as coaches. Read: Your church needs coaches, not staff. 

Ask Questions.

Always ask your staff questions.  Invite them to share.  Do annual reviews with each one individually.  Here are five great questions from Andy Stanley:  1) What are you most excited about right now? 2) What do you wish you could spend more time on? 3) What is the most challenging part of your ministry right now? 4) Is there anything bugging you?  5)  What can I do to help?  Here are five more every day questions you can ask your team members.  Once you’ve asked questions, listen to your team.  They are closer to aspects of ministry that you can be.

Request An Annual Plan From Each Staff Member.

How to write an annual plan for ministry. Teams need to be developed and directed.  Inviting each staff member to share what they plan to work on over the course of the year isn’t micro management, it’s love.  Don’t trade micromanagement for non-leadership – you will be in a mess! People want to be successful and setting goals is one great way to do this.  Push hard to get clear goals from each staff team member and then hold them accountable.  Read: 8 Ways the Church Can Influence the Staff. 

Set Expectations High.

When I was in fifth grade, I had two different teachers.  One teacher started the year really “mean”, and the other one seemed to be our friend.  As the year progressed, it became obvious to me, even as a fifth grader, that I enjoyed the “mean” teacher more.  She was able to let us know what was needed, I got my work done and I was motivated.  By the end of the year, she was on good terms with everyone and we all enjoyed the class as she smiled and had fun.  The other teacher, who started off fun, must have realized we hadn’t gotten as much accomplished as he would have liked and as a result, had to get tough, which was opposite of what we had experienced up to that point. It really got ugly toward the end.  It’s best to set expectations high from the start.

Enjoy community with the church staff.

Work to build community within the staff team.  It helps on several fronts including a more connected leadership, more team minded approach and greater sense of purpose and fulfillment. Here are nine ways to build community among the staff.  



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