10 Steps To Create The Perfect Church Staff Culture Part I


Jim Collins coined the staffing phrase, "Get the right people on the right seats on the bus." But that's only the first step in effective teambuilding. After you hire the right people for the right positions on your team, your responsibility as a church leader is to provide a church staff culture where your team can thrive and have the biggest influence possible in helping build the Kingdom in your community.

I've created a list of ten steps to help you create a staff culture where your team can thrive. I'll share five here and five in Part II. 

1. Allow Freedom

If you're on a church staff in a growing church, you are likely trying to continually improve, to evolve, to become more effective and relevant. The goal is to reach as many people with the Gospel as possible, and in order to do that we need to constantly change things up in some way or another to ensure we're engaging the people in our community. The single most effective way to do that is to offer your church staff freedom. Offer your employees freedom to take ownership of their job and the way they do it – freedom to make it better. When you take away all the pressure they may feel to accomplish things in a specific way, processes can be reviewed, trimmed, and sharpened. Creativity, efficiency, and morale are maximized when people feel they have freedom to do their job in their own way.

2. Maintain Boundaries

Freedom is extremely important within a staff culture, but so are boundaries. Freedom without boundaries and clear expectations is chaos. Setting clear expectations for your church staff will enable them to be free while still accomplishing the job set before them. Boundaries keep your staff focused and sharp, while still allowing them to enjoy their work. When people know what’s expected of them and have the freedom to do it in their own way, the result is a happy, cohesive, and effective staff.

3. Set Goals

Imagine a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It is staffed with a full, capable crew. Morning comes, and they are ready to set sail, but no one is directing them. They have no set destination and no instruction from the captain. He is at the helm ready for the ship to begin sailing, but instead, the ship sits in the same place. The result is a ship tossed by the waves, surrounded by a cloud of frustration and despair. This is the imagery that comes to mind when thinking of a church staff without goals.

A common misconception about goals is that they are limiting, when in reality the opposite is true. Goals, much like boundaries, provide your team with a commonality that increases performance. Employees work harder when they know they are accomplishing the intended result within a unified body. For employees who seem to be lethargic or uninterested, goals provide them with the necessary accountability to become good (or maybe even great), productive employees.

4. Offer a Sense of Purpose

No one wants to feel like they are wasting their life away. Dying alone in a cubicle is not anyone’s idea of happiness or success. Championing a vision and purpose for your church staff will give meaning to their day-to-day work. Seeing life and excitement in the eyes of your staff or fellow employees will make ministry and work life a much more enjoyable place for everyone, and when people enjoy their work, you can be sure the result will be a staff that runs like a well-oiled machine.

5. Hear Their Opinions

Ask for the opinion of those working with or for you. Create a staff culture that is open to collaboration and the sharing of ideas. Be open to running with an idea that is not your own. As Pastor Matt Keller of Next Level Church stated in an interview with our staff member, Holly, “At Next Level Church, team is everything to us. I stopped believing that I had the best ideas in the room a long time ago.” People work harder for something in which they feel personally invested. Your team will become more cohesive, individuals will grow in their position, and so will your efficiency.

These are only the first five of my five tips for creating an effective church staff culture. Stay tuned for Part II coming in the next couple of weeks.

How do you implement these five steps on your church staff?