As believers, we're instructed to "work as unto the Lord." While perfection is a bit elusive, we can certainly strive for excellence in everything we do.
Striving for excellence involves constantly looking for ways to improve. This is also part of good stewardship, ensuring we're making the best use of the time and resources God provides.
So, how do you get your whole team improving together when they've already got a full to-do list?
Here are a few practical tips to help your team to the next level:
Tip #1: Learn together
Send out an article or blog post to your team and assign someone to lead the discussion at your next staff meeting. Even better, ask your team to be on the lookout for great articles and send them to you for discussion.
Have the whole team read a book over a few months and discuss a chapter each week. Identify 1-2 key actions you can implement from what you've read and monitor the results.
Tip #2: Evaluate processes
Examine 1-2 processes per month or per quarter. Have the person in-charge of that process (example: children's check-in) walk the team through the process, then ask for feedback and ideas to make it better. Include volunteers in this evaluation process whenever possible.
Tip #3: Get feedback from your volunteers
Conduct an annual survey of your volunteers. You can easily create one online (SurveyMonkey.com is an easy-to-use tool) and email the link to volunteers. Ask questions about the process of signing up to serve and being trained. Ask for input on how to improve key areas.
Tip #4: Gather input from new staff members
If you've been at your church for several years, it's hard to objectively review a process (especially if you created it). Talk with new staff members within a month of their start date. Find out what systems or processes seem cumbersome. Ask if there's anything about how we do what we do that seems off or unclear.
Tip #5: Attend conferences
When you're in the thick of things at your own church, it's hard to think of other ways to accomplish the same goal. This is where church conferences can be very useful. If you don't have much (or any) travel budget, there are even conferences online that you could attend.
If possible, however, send a few people to 1-2 conferences each year. Don't let them just hang out together in-between sessions; they need to chat with other church leaders and ask lots of questions. Listen for new ideas, different ways to do ministry, and information about various products or services that could make your work easier. When you return home, present what you learned at the next staff meeting.
Tip #6: Visit other churches
Give 1-2 team members a Sunday off where their task is to attend another church and observe.
Do they feel welcomed?
Is children's check-in run efficiently and with friendly people?
How is the stage setup?
What did they learn from the sermon? What did their kids learn?
Have them present their observations at a staff meeting and decide if there's anything you want to change based on what they learned.
Tip #7: Talk with other church leaders
Reach out to staff members at a church you respect. If they're local, go out to lunch to share ideas, problem-solve, and encourage each other. For out-of-town situations, use Skype or Google Hangouts to chat on a regular basis.
Pray for and with each other. Be generous with your expertise and ask lots of questions. While we may serve in different congregations, we're all part of the Body of Christ. Learning from each other and serving one another should be a natural occurrence.
Regardless of your church size, location, or length in existence, there are always opportunities to grow and get better as a team.
You don't even need to do all of these tips at once to reap the benefits. Try 1-2 for a few months and then add others as you think will work best for your team. The point is to make incremental changes that can lead to a healthier team and a growing church.