Church Staff Do NOT Have To Be Unhealthy

Church staffing and the team dynamic are incredibly difficult. No matter what denomination or style of church you have, there will be difficulty with staff.

No church is immune from difficulty on staff.

There are no books, conferences, or blog posts that can guarantee zero drama within a church staff. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

But that doesn’t mean we have to have unhealthy teams.

In order for the Church to be a hospital for sinners the church staff has to be healthy.

In order for the Church to be a hospital for sinners the church staff has to be healthy. Click To Tweet

While it will never be perfect there are some things you can work on right now to help create a healthy staff culture.

How To Create A Healthy Staff Culture

1. Point At Yourself First.

Self evaluation is incredibly difficult. What’s easier is to blame everyone else. If other people would just stop being so lazy, entitled, selfish, blah blah blah then your job would be easier. Tell that to Moses.

As John Maxwell famously said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”

If the staff isn’t healthy the first place to look is within. If they aren’t healthy it’s because you haven’t lead them to be healthy…yet.

In America 70% of employees hate their job. That’s alarming. What’s even more alarming is the fact that, according to a Gallop Poll, 75% of employees who voluntarily left their position, did so because of the boss and not the position itself.

I believe that goes to show that when you don’t love something it’s easy to blame someone else.

If an employee hates their job they blame the boss. If a boss hates the results he/she sees they blame the employees. Both miss the mark.

If you want to create a healthy staff culture you must start with yourself.

Go see a counselor.

Get a gym membership.

Read a book or 12.

Get a ministry coach or someone to help speak into your life.

Below are some resources to help evaluate yourself.

2. Point To Mathew 18.

Matthew 18 is the prescription to conflict. It’s a great plan on how to deal with conflict and or sin within a team.

The issue is most people stink at bringing up conflict. If someone is great at bringing up conflict they probably don’t have friends. People don’t like to be around others who are constantly negative.

One of the staff core values at my church is “Mathew 18.” It’s written on the wall. It was on the wall when conflict exploded and some team members left my staff.

For one of the those team members I asked, “Why didn’t you Matthew 18 with me some of these issues?” The response was, “I don’t know.”

It’s not enough to have Matthew 18 on a wall.

In order for Matthew 18 to happen you have to model it. You also have to let go of becoming defensive when someone has the courage to Matthew 18 with you.

That’s hard.

In order for this to work you must be okay with people respectfully bringing up conflict they have with you. Even when the conflict is silly it has to have a safe place to land.

When someone is frustrated they will express that frustration to someone. If they don’t tell you, you better believe they are telling someone. That’s unhealthy and can become toxic.

The human tweet machine Chris Sonksen says, “Frustration is never content until it’s expressed.” When Chris talks every other sentence is a tweetable quote. It’s phenomenal.

Frustration is never content until it's expressed. - Chris Sonksen Click To Tweet

Give time for Matthew 18 after a meeting. When you sense tension, in a loving way, call a Matthew 18 meeting. And ensure your team members who are brave enough to bring Matthew 18 moments to you are heard.

Below are some resources to help you manage conflict.

3. Point Out The Strengths

Have you ever taken DiSC personality profile test?

Certain personalities will not click simply because of how God wired them.

So much of the conflict on church staff is not because of someone’s sinful behavior. There is that, but it’s not why most people are miserable working at a church.

People are miserable because other people. When someone doesn’t think like, behave like, or react like you do the natural response is separation. We like spending time with people who are like us.

The problem is God has intentionally left out various giftedness in order for us to need other people.

The people I need are the ones that have different gifts than I do. And those people get on my nerves.

And I get on their nerves.

When building a team you have to learn what each person brings to the table and celebrate that.

Not everyone is creative. Not everyone is good at details. Not everyone is good with what you are great at.

On the DiSC profile I’m a high “i.” That means I tend to be liked by people and want to collaborate with them. That means I get excited about ideas, but I don’t have a fat clue how we are going to get the idea done. Details aren’t a concern for me. Once an idea is in my head I’m ready to roll. We will build the ship while it’s sailing in the water.

On the DiSC profile a high “c” will get on my nerves. I exhaust a high “c.” The “c” is going to want to plan alone. The “c” is going to want to have all the details hammered out before we make a move. The high “c” is going to resist risk.

If both parties don’t understand their strengths the “i” will resent the “c” because the “c” is slowing down progress. The “c” will resent the “i” because ideas come easy but they don’t think through the details.

The Apostle Paul didn’t have the DiSC profile, but he had some divine wisdom when he wrote to the early church.

 “If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:19-20

If you don’t define what each person’s strength is it will be easy to focus on their differences.

Differences don’t make us better or worse. They make us different.

How often have you been frustrated with someone because they were wired differently than you?

I do it all the time.

Chris Sonksen told me one time, “Don’t try to take out of people what God put in them, and never try to put in them what God left out.”

“Don’t try to take out of people what God put in them & never try to put in what God left out.” Click To Tweet

Find your teams strengths and put them in a position to use them. Keep them, as best you can, out of areas where they are not as strong. The DiSC profile will help you learn how each member of your team handles conflict. It will help you know their strengths and weaknesses. It’s a crucial tool to use to build your team.

Below is a resource to help you manage conflict.

4. Point to Expectations.

The vast majority of people do not like their jobs, marriages, or the band Nickelback. We can’t do anything about the hate of the band Nickelback, but we can do something when it comes to jobs and relationships.

Most people are unhappy because of unmet expectations.

Everybody has expectations, but most of us fail to express them until they are not met.

Here’s a good exercise for your team.

  1. What are your expectations of this team?
  2. What are your expectations of a boss?

Once you have everyone share, communicate what your expectations are.

If you have never expressed your expectations it is not fair to get upset at your team.

Expectations are often unrealistic and have to be managed.

People don’t naturally communicate their expectations, so you have to draw them out. Once they are out you can make sure everyone is on the same page.

Unrealistic expectations lead to so much drama and hurt.

You may have staff members who expect you to do things God didn’t wire you to do. You may have some unrealistic expectations of your staff.

Make sure that your expectations and the teams are in line with your vision.

Manage expectations and you will have less conflict and a more healthy team.

Below is a resource to help your team think through expectations.

Some Final Thoughts…

If you struggle with unity, a healthy staff culture, or even having everyone on the same page please know you are not alone.

It’s difficult to bring people together.

It’s especially difficult when there is a spiritual enemy that wants to destroy the work God is doing through you.

Two of the biggest tools Satan uses to stop our teams from getting healthy is fear and complacency.

Fear of change, fear of failure, and fear of conflict destroy healthy teams.

I HATE conflict. I want to avoid conflict like the plague. I hate talking to someone about difficult situations.

But the health of my team is more important than my own personal comfort.

The problem is that fear’s best friend is comfort.

Often when I get the courage to talk to someone I convince myself that things aren’t really that bad.

Whenever we become afraid we naturally look to comfort.

Comfort is the natural response to fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. But…

Nothing worthwhile has ever happened in the comfort zone.

The same God that parted the Red Sea, raised the dead, and created the universe, lives in you. He has given you everything you need to lead a team to health. Fear and comfort are very real, but the place where you ultimately want to be is on the other side.

What are the most difficult things you deal with when it comes to healthy teams? Which point stood out to you the most? What would you add to the list? 

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