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Not long ago congregations of several hundred often had the pastor as their church’s sole employee. Today even small congregations are known to employ part-time staff in areas such as administration, youth, worship, outreach, children’s ministry, visitation, and social media. Often pastors are not optimizing this new staff potential because they are insufficiently coordinating and encouraging the new staff teams. With a few supervisory investments pastors can greatly increase staff outcomes.

Here are five supervisory investments that increase staff impact:

Identify the staff team

A staff person is anyone who coordinates a particular area of ministry and is directly accountable to the lead pastor. Generally, ministries tend to function more efficiently and are better coordinated when they are staff run. Staff can be a combination of full-time, part-time or ministry volunteers knit into a single team working in common cause in a coordinated way. Even small churches are well served by identifying key staff persons and bringing them into a ministry team.

Clarify the central vision/passion

Staff teams need a clear “why.” They need to know why they are doing what they’re doing. They need to know what a ministry “win” looks like. Having a “why” helps clarify the “what” (what we should do) and the “how” (how we do what we do). Staff teams need a shared battle cry.

Schedule regular staff gatherings

Pastors should schedule twice monthly or, preferably, weekly staff gatherings. Staff meetings focus on shared vision, provide accountability for ministry commitments, coordinate overall ministry plans, dream fresh ministry opportunities and pray for Holy Spirit empowered outcomes.

 Meet with individual staff members

Regular individual meetings are for connecting with each staff member’s story, encouraging them in their work, trouble shooting in areas of ministry challenge, identifying necessary ministry resources, sharing fresh ministry ideas and praying for their personal and professional lives.

Be a constant encourager

Pastors should act as the staff’s chief cheer leader by sending notes of encouragement, having “arm around the shoulder” conversations, remembering special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.), acknowledging work well done, making provision for continuing education and coordinating annual performance reviews focused on appreciation, potential growth and “next step” investments.

The Church Renewal Lab can point pastors to helpful resources for staff supervision. For information please contact the Lab at [email protected].

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