Churches rise and fall by the work of the many dedicated men and women in leadership.
But just because ministries have amazing people on staff doesn’t mean things will always be positive and thriving. If just one or two people or a smaller team within the staff is exhibiting signs of poor health, the entire staff can become distracted from achieving ministry goals.
And these issues don’t just work themselves out with time. There are plenty that pastors and other executive leaders can do to boost individual and team health and grow a thriving church—starting with ministry leaders.
Here are five things to look out for when evaluating the health of your church staff.
While every group of people will include at least a few folks that don’t get along, a healthy church staff has synergy. People work well together and can put their differences aside to help accomplish team and organizational goals.
This not only reveals how socially healthy people are, but indicates that the team understands and practices strategies for conflict resolution, compromises, and prioritizes the team over self.
While everyone experiences spiritual lows, thriving church teams are staffed by spiritually healthy people.
In most organizations, executive leaders and managers set up one-on-one meetings with individual team members. They use these syncs to chat about concerns the individual might have, what they’re doing, and ideas for the organization—or frankly, whatever comes to mind. Churches should do the same to ensure leaders are spiritually healthy. Staff members who are struggling spiritually without proper support can grow unproductive and toxic to the wider team over time.
Make sure every team member has facetime on a weekly or bi-weekly basis with an executive or their team lead. This is a great opportunity to check in and ask probing questions about their walk with Jesus. Churches like The Austin Stone Community Church have created resources to help guide these discussions. The Life Transformation Group model helps leaders drill in to the spiritual health of their team members and support people through challenges they’re facing.
On the topic of healthy workers and volunteers, a word must be said about physical health. Flourishing staff members respect their bodies as God’s temple and strive to be at their healthiest. While a flu or cold may take multiple people down for the count every few months, it’s not common for illnesses to linger for months at a time.
Often, it’s not enough to start a staff running or swimming club or remind them that taking care of their bodies is part of spiritual worship. Church leaders should reinforce the value of getting check-ups and seeking medical attention regularly. If your ministry offers staff health insurance, then bring in nurses for flu shots and encourage visits to general practitioners when colds start cropping up.
If your church doesn’t offer health insurance right now or you suspect you might be overpaying for coverage, Remodel Health is a great organization to connect with. They leverage technology to transform health benefits while cutting church costs by an average of 30-50%. They’re also a great resource for finding ways ministries can save money on insurance plans without shirking staff of much-needed benefits.
See how Abundant Life Church partnered with Remodel Health to prioritize staff health while saving 34% on annual premiums and improving benefits across the board.
Inclusivity and Diversity
A healthy group is one that celebrates differences. For many churches, the congregation and leadership are made up of people from the local community. However, while churches increasingly work to reflect God’s love for all people and make services more welcoming to others, leadership teams tend to remain homogenous.
Healthy teams not only welcome people from various ethnic groups, but search for people with diverse backgrounds. For many ministries, this means hiring people with corporate backgrounds, not just ministry experience. For other churches, this means working alongside people who’ve served in international ministries and non-profits to bring a more global perspective to outreach efforts.
Thriving teams make an effort to learn and grow from people of diverse backgrounds. Teams where everyone has a similar background tend to become an echo chamber. Staff work harder to maintain the status quo and tradition than to find new solutions to help the wider church grow.
Do your teammates practice healthy rhythms of rest and work? What’s their work/life balance like? Do you see people working long hours for long periods of time that aren’t related to a specific season or event?
Strong church staffs understand the importance of having a work/life balance—and prioritize rest. Burnout is often hard to spot when things are moving a million miles an hour, but it’s critical to reinforce the importance of rest like Jesus did. Church leaders are encouraged to lead the charge in spiritual disciplines like prayer and fasting—and taking an afternoon off to practice those disciplines is one way to reflect Jesus’ own patterns of rest.
Tell your workers and volunteers to go home when the work is done. Hire part-time work to pick up any extra duties. Schedule monthly team bonding activities. Whatever you do, build good habits of rest and labor so your team members are willing and able to work for as long as they feel called to serve your particular ministry.
For more on building a stronger, healthier church staff, watch the free on-demand webinar from Pushpay today. Click here to view, 4 Ways To Build A Strong Church Staff in 2019.