One of the great blessings of my life is serving with a team of servant-hearted co-laborers in ministry.
In a previous post, I wrote on principles for hiring quality staff. But to develop a quality team, it takes wise hiring and continued investment.
Here are seven ways a senior pastor or a ministry leader can develop a quality staff team:
1. Pray for them.
This one should go without saying. Pray for your staff—regularly, specifically, fervently. This requires that you know them and know their needs.
We pastors like to remember Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ hands in prayer (Exodus 17:12). And we know that we need our church to uphold us in prayer.
But Moses wasn’t only the recipient of prayer; he prayed for those under his leadership. In fact, one the most poignant, fervent prayers in all the Bible is a prayer Moses prayed for those he led:
And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.—Exodus 32:31–32
2. Love them.
True love expresses itself in giving. Find ways to give to your staff or team—thank you notes, having them over to your home for times of fellowship, encouraging them in their role, etc.
Your team can tell if you genuinely love them. So do! And be sure to express it to them.
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.—1 Peter 4:8
3. Train them.
I have not met the church staff member who doesn’t want to be trained. A servant-hearted staff wants to understand their pastor’s heart and ministry philosophy. Conduct regular staff meetings, assign reading, hold annual staff training—integrate training into weekly and annual routines.
Incidentally, providing consistent and thorough training now is a help later when there is a need to reprimand a staff member. It’s difficult to reprimand someone for not performing a responsibility you never trained him to do!
4. Confront them.
When a problem does arise, it should be dealt with, and it should be dealt with in a way that develops growth in the staff member.
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:—Ephesians 4:15
I heard some time ago of these three categories of leaders when it comes to dealing with problems:
- Hiders—Afraid to tell the truth and ignore the problem.
- Hurlers—Use the truth like a verbal hand grenade, dealing with the problem but not in love.
- Healers—Speak the truth in love, addressing the problem with the intent of growth.
5. Meet with them.
You cannot develop staff from behind a closed office door. It may work for managing, but it doesn’t work for leading. You must interface as a team.
In meetings, ask your staff for testimonies concerning their personal soulwinning and ministry. Ask them to share reports related to their specific role. Use meetings as a time of accountability and developing team spirit.
On our staff, we have weekly all-staff meetings with a lesson, but individual departments meet in settings such as described above. I look forward to the meetings I have with our pastoral staff. It is a blessing to hear their testimonies and to grow together as a team.
6. Compensate them.
There are excellent studies on compensation published by the National Association of Church Business Administrators or the Church Law and Tax Report. Do your best to pay a competitive rate for labor, and look for creative ways to give encouragement and communicate thanks.
Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.—Colossians 4:1
7. Rejoice with them.
When God blesses in ministry, there is nothing more natural than to want to share that blessing with others.
And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.—Luke 15:6
When God uses someone on your staff, rejoice with them—personally and, when appropriate, publically. Allow them to share a testimony of God’s blessing in a team meeting, or you share with the church the ministry God is doing through them.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice…—Romans 12:15
Investing yourself to develop a staff team does take work. But by developing a staff, you not only extend your ability to serve your church family, but you also engage in one of the most important aspects of the ministry—training new leaders. And hopefully, you are training them in such as way that they are continuing the cycle.
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.—2 Timothy 2:2