There is one magical ingredient that separates great organizations from good organizations: stellar staff culture.
Having a positive, empowering culture creates an environment where staff feels validated, believes in what they offer, and are energized by their work. That excitement then spills over into each encounter with those they serve.
"...the church’s culture will only evolve when the staff culture changes..."
Positive staff culture is achieved by caring for your people, communicating with them honestly, trusting them to use their God-given gifts and providing a product or service they can take pride in.
It's not rocket science – but it's not always easy, either!
Church leadership must foster an environment where their staff feels cared for and communicated with; they must operate in an environment of trust.
The simple truth is this: Healthy staff culture and ministry success have a direct correlation to a leadership team whose first priority is seeking God and aligning with what He is doing. After that, there must be care, communication, and trust. Churches that pull this off have no problem attracting new people.
Who wouldn't want to be a part of something like that?
Know Your Culture
Whether it’s a business, a nonprofit organization, or a church, no doubt we have all walked into a building and noticed the level of excitement from those inside. That genuine, can’t-be-faked energy is the result of a good culture.
If your church’s culture could use a welfare check – and maybe some TLC – here are three aspects that deserve priority attention and focus:
Start with your staff.
Perhaps your church has had trouble getting the right people in the right roles. Maybe some do not share the overall vision. Maybe morale has been low or your middle school minister and high school minister don’t get along. The church’s culture will only evolve when the staff culture changes. Get your staff right so the rest of church life can follow suit.
Study up on leadership.
Morale rises and falls on leadership. How can you change your shepherding approach to help improve commitment, trust, and motivation? Start by reading resources on the topic. Both ‘Leadership Is an Art’ and ‘Leadership and Self-Deception’ are great first steps.
Focus on people.
Empower your staff, lay leadership, and volunteers to take ownership of the ministries they are involved in and approach leadership with fresh ideas. Encourage your team to be intentional with the relationships that are forged through ministry. Just as they show the church and local community that each individual is valued, your leadership team needs to express to volunteers how much they are treasured.
GROW YOUR CULTURE
An unhealthy internal culture prevents the creation of flourishing, "...if that friction continues, it will change the entire culture of your ministry..." thriving ministries but at some point, every church staff member will face ministry friction. It’s inevitable. However, if that friction continues, it will change the entire culture of your ministry. In addition to dealing with them and finding a resolution, we need to have a proper understanding of the implications of an unhealthy internal culture.
There will always be the behind-the-scenes, challenging interpersonal issues that occur in the back office at church – or anywhere people have to work together, really – but an essential role of church leaders is to identify those internal cultural issues and then develop a plan for helping our teams overcome them.
So to build a ministry culture that thrives, here are three things you can do:
Foster an environment where staff and volunteers feel cared for, communicated with, and trusted.
Healthy staff culture and ministry success have a direct correlation to a leadership team whose first priority is seeking God and aligning with His purposes.
Take care of staff like a well-run business.
Businesses thrive if they exemplify the principle of taking care of their employees. In business, if leadership takes care of employees, employees will delight customers and customer satisfaction will please shareholders. In the same way, leadership in the church should foster a culture where staff can thrive. In doing so, they will be better able to minister to the church, and the church can make a massive impact in the community.
Commit to authenticity.
Inspire authenticity within your staff by practicing authentic leadership. Do you give your staff the opportunity to provide feedback each week? If you model transparency and vulnerability, they will too.
The bottom line is that ministry that makes an impact cannot be achieved without a healthy, flourishing culture behind the scenes.
There's always a next step:
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