If you pastor a church, that axe is your staff. Apart from God’s guidance, favor, and blessing, nothing is more crucial to the setting up, running, and growth of a church than its staff. The staff practically does everything – from maintaining the premises and handling accounts to running ministries and managing activities.
So, the question is, how do you nurture and grow your church team effectively and efficiently?
We’ve combed through our resources at the Lab and handpicked a four-pronged strategy on building your staff by Léonce Crump, founder and lead pastor of Renovation Church, Atlanta, Georgia.
These tried-and-tested methods used by Renovation Church have helped them to develop their staff and ensure steady growth at a personal and professional level. We’ve summarized Léonce’s four strategies below so that you can apply them in your church.
When it comes to developing church staff, a lot of churches go down the training retreat route with the hope of bringing breakthroughs in team building, communications, and issues faced by their staff. Alternatively, churches get their staff to attend day-long seminars that are often packed with too much information.
Research shows that within one hour, people will have forgotten about 50% of the information you presented. Within 24 hours, they will have forgotten about 70% of new information. Within a week, this statistic goes up to 90%.
So, while retreats and seminars may help in bringing the team together, they are clearly not the routes to take for sustained growth. The key lies in consistency. Your staff-building processes need to be woven into your weekly agenda. At Renovation Church, Léonce and the staff intentionally spend extra time after their weekly meetings to focus on staff development.
Investing in your staff could mean a lot of things. You could invest in their personal lives, spiritual growth, individual roles as staff members, or the way they work as a team. However, if the investment is not strategic, intentional, and tactically aligned with the church’s vision, it will not serve the staff or the church holistically.
Léonce believes that staff development needs to be focused around three crucial elements – vision, strategy, and execution. The vision shows the staff where the church needs to go, the strategy lays out how to get there, and the execution focuses on working to actually get there.
While there could be different focus areas for growth, development should always tie back to these three elements so that the church staff is always moving in the right direction.
Personal growth and team growth always go hand in hand. That’s because a team can only be as effective as the individuals in it. Personal development should be an integral part of the staff development strategy. In fact, it’s the job of the leader to personally challenge the staff in areas of growth.
However, it might be hard for the pastor to be involved in the personal growth of each staff member. This is especially true for pastors leading large churches with a big staff base. Often, personal development can get sidelined in the shadow of the church’s vision, strategy, and goals.
Léonce suggests that one way to combat this problem is by using a tool called PDP – a Personal Development Plan that each staff member builds based on where he/she is and wants to go. Each member will take what is learned in a staff development meeting and apply it to the PDP.
This system ensures that personal development is encouraged even in a group setting. In fact, most of the stuff at Renovation Church either has a present PDP for short-term goals or an impending PDP for mid-term or long-term goals.
It’s all too easy to separate the sacred from the secular, especially when catering to the needs of the church. God is the giver of fruit, and without Him, all our efforts are in vain. However, there is a wealth of information outside the church that could be beneficial to your church staff. After all, running a church is not very different from running an organization.
You can learn a lot of things from various professional practices such as communications, branding, finance, management, operations, and strategy. Léonce suggests exploring the learning resources out there that can be used to educate and train your staff in these areas. This will help you boost the overall growth curve of your team.
With the help of these four strategies, you should be able to build a solid staff development strategy that is focused, consistent, and effective. Focus on your staff’s development, and watch your church grow into a well-oiled machine that functions at optimum.
Note: The above article is an adaptation of Léonce Crump’s strategy on building staff, which is one of the many resources available at the Lab.
At the Lab, we’re are all about helping pastors grow. We identify specific areas of need in the Church and get world-renowned speakers to share their wisdom and insight in those areas. In fact, every month we bring in speakers, such as John Ortberg, Kevin Penry, Chris Willard, and Dave Ferguson, to speak on issues that are universal to pastors.
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