Working on a church staff can be a uniquely rewarding experience and extremely frustrating at the same time. It's wonderful when you see lives changed and people growing in their relationship with Christ. It's stressful when you have fewer resources than ideas and a never-ending to-do list.
If you're in a leadership position, it's wise to conduct a periodic check on the health of your team members. You need to know if they're feeling overwhelmed - or if they're starting to burn out. That way you can help them thrive in ministry for the long haul by dealing with any issues before they become serious problems.
One way to take the pulse of your team and cultivate a healthy staff culture is to initiate a conversation.
Talk with each team member and ask questions such as:
1. What do you love about your job?
2. What would you like to see changed or improved?
3. What resources would make your job easier or more efficient?
4. How does your family feel about your work and the church?
5. How many nights a week do you make it home for dinner?
6. How often are you able to attend a service and sit with your family (without being interrupted or asked to work)?
7. Who are your key volunteer leaders? (Hint: If a staff member can't name any that could be an issue.)
8. Is there anything I'm doing that you wish I would stop? If so, what?
9. Is there anything I'm not doing that you wish I would start? If so, what?
Now, you might be able to ask team members these questions in one-on-one meetings.
Personally, I think that's the best approach. However, if you're not sure whether you'll get fully transparent answers you might want to do an anonymous survey.
Use an online tool such as SurveyMonkey.com and email a link to the survey to your team.
Regardless of how you handle these questions, make sure you let your team know that you want them to be completely honest with their answers.
They might be afraid of what you'll think or if they'll get fired for telling you something you won't like to hear. Let them know you won't get upset or defensive, but that you truly care about how they're doing and want to improve as a team (then follow through on that promise).
Once you have these discussions or receive survey responses, it's time to take action:
- Consider whether you can include purchasing any tools or specific resources your team mentioned.
- Work with team members to recruit and develop volunteers.
- Go home on time as often as possible and encourage your team to do likewise. Note: They'll feel awkward if they leave the office before the boss. You need to set the example that your family is your top ministry priority and go home on time.
- Compile the list of items they'd like to see improved and work with your team to figure out how to make those improvements. Ask for their ideas on how to solve each issue and make a plan together to accomplish those improvements.
- Put together a list of the things they'd like to see you stop doing. Decide which ones you can stop and put that list somewhere you'll see it each day.
If you ask those questions and get their input but don't take any action on what you learn, you'll lose credibility with your team. You may not be able to deliver on everything they requested. Do what you can and let them know why you can't make other changes (at least not right now).
Your team will appreciate you for taking action and for being honest about what you can't implement.
Take care of your team, listen carefully to their input, and take action on what you learn. Those steps can make a significant impact on the health and effectiveness of your church staff.