Monday, April 09, 2018

Developing a Staff Team

Several years ago, I was coaching a lead pastor who had served two other large congregations in associate roles.  He recounted that in one church, his only personal conversation with the pastor was when they did an annual performance review.  In the other situation, the pastor did not even do his performance review and sometimes he did not even speak when they passed in the hall way! The pastor I was coaching wanted to invest himself in developing his church staff and was seeking guidance as he did do.

I conducted a staff development day in another church last week at the invitation of the lead pastor. We spent the morning in a community-building workshop using the Peoplemap Personality Inventory.  In the afternoon, I had individual sessions with each staff member to discuss the inventory results, their current work, and their roles in an upcoming staff realignment.  It was a good time for fellowship, learning, and exploration.

The two pastors I mentioned both understood not only the importance of their own personal and professional development, but also that staff development is a priority in today’s church.

In my work with the church last week, I was reminded of several things.

First, every minister on a staff is unique.  Even if their personality styles are similar, the way that they perceive themselves, carry out their work, and communicate with others varies based on experience and training.

Second, every staff minister is gifted and called. Although one may lose sight of that calling from time to time, a person goes into the ministry because of a sense that God is at work in his or her life and that individual can make a difference in the lives of others.  Often, we need a refresher course to remind us of our calling.

Third, encouraging the work of individual staff members and developing a functioning team takes time and work.  We are all busy, but “sharpening the ax” increases our effectiveness and is worth the investment.

Staff development is a way to break down silos in ministry.  It is easy to get into our own little world and forget that each staff minister is not only responsible for his or her own work but is also part of a larger team.  Churches prosper when staff members work together with trust and confidence.  Churches profit when ministers are involved in cross-functional and cooperative efforts where the staff’s varied gifts and skills are brought to bear on an important initiative in the life of the church.

Investment in staff development is not only valuable for the individual ministers but benefits the church through unified effort and effective ministries.  It is well worth the time.

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