The greatest assets of ministry are not tools or computer programs. They are people—the people who serve and work alongside you.
Over the years, the Lord has assembled a truly awesome team in our staff at Lancaster Baptist Church, Lancaster Baptist School, West Coast Baptist College, and Striving Together Publications. It is a joy to serve with these dedicated servants of God.
Yesterday and today have been a blessing to me as the entire days have been blocked off to spend with our staff at our annual two-day staff orientation.
Spending personal time with our staff is always humbling as I am reminded of the godly men and women who God has brought to assist me in the ministry. I thank the Lord for them, and I want to do any and every thing I can to invest in their lives.
If you lead any sort of ministry team—whether as a senior pastor with a staff or a Sunday school teacher with one helper—investing in those who serve with you is not just smart for the furtherance of the ministry, it is a way to show gratitude to those on your team.
How can you invest in those you lead? Here are five suggestions. Feel free to add more in the comments section below.
1. Pray for them.
And I’m not talking about “Lord, please bless all the staff today.” Pray for them faithfully and specifically. By name. Pray for their walk with God, their Christian growth, their family, and any personal needs they have shared with you. Pray for them to have wisdom in their life and in their area of ministry.
Praying for your team is not only a vital way to serve them. It is also a way to unite your hearts as a team. Praying for others prepares your heart to overlook personality differences and to function as a team in the work of the Lord.
2. Mentor them.
The verse that has shaped my philosophy of ministry training since day one is 2 Timothy 2:2: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
One of the most personal investments you can make in your team is your time. Look for opportunities to serve with those you lead. Take your Sunday school helper with you to visit the class. Strategize an upcoming project with a team member.
Staff meetings are another form of time investment. I look forward to our ministry staff meetings when I can share my heart with our staff and provide ongoing training in biblical ministry philosophy.
For our staff, the annual staff orientation training is our most intense season of training. I see it as an opportunity for me to invest in our staff. Many pastors bring their staff to the Spiritual Leadership Conference here in Lancaster each summer for a similar purpose.
3. Encourage them.
I have a knack for noticing the one typo in a brochure, the one flaw in a plan, or the one hiccup in an event. (I like to think of this as the gift of discernment.) Because of this, I have to be intentional in encouraging others.
How long has it been since you’ve written a sincere note of thanks or given specific positive feedback to those who serve with you? A word of encouragement can make a tremendous difference.
If we as leaders will be sensitive and responsive to the impulses of the Holy Spirit, He will often prompt us to encourage a team member when He knows they need it. Listen to Him and follow through on every impulse He gives.
4. Provide tools for them.
I want those on our staff to be growing in their personal ability and effectiveness. I encourage them to read, study, and grow in their areas of responsibility, and I do what I can to provide the resources for them to do it.
Be it a computer, a piece of software, a book, or even a comp day to rejuvenate, be proactive in making the tools available that will aid your team. Although every leader has budget constraints in this area, it is important that you see tools as a viable and important investment in your most valuable assets—the people on your team.
5. Grow as a Christian and as a leader.
Growth is not an event but a process. This is true for my staff, and it is true for me.
If I am not continually growing as a Christian, I will stagnate as a pastor. My messages will lack clarity, depth, and the biblical application our church family needs.
If I am not growing as a leader, I will lose the vision, perception, and execution needed to lead a staff. I’ll lose the ability to effectively challenge our staff to personal growth.
It may seem a paradox, but one of the most important ways I can invest in our staff is to spend time seeking the face of God, studying His Word, and growing in my relationship with Him.
Similarly, I invest in our staff when I read books on servant leadership and grow personally as a leader. By continuing to grow, I can continue to invest.
People are such a valuable resource that they are worth every investment we make in them.
I’ve listed five investments:
- Your growth
What have I left out? Share in the comments an investment a leader made in your life that made a significant difference.