Why Your Church Staff Isn’t Bought Into Your Vision


I was meeting with a group of lead pastors recently, and one of them asked how important it was for a new hire to be aligned with the mission of the church. He figured, “Couldn’t they 'buy in' once they’re already on staff?”

I replied by emphasizing vision and mission alignment as crucial to the success of a church or parachurch organization.

If the staff isn’t bought in, the congregation will probably follow suit.Tweet: If the staff isn’t bought in, the congregation will probably follow suit. https://bit.ly/1R0mNCz via @VanderbloemenSG

Here are the top three reasons we see misalignment in vision and mission among church staffs.

1. The vision isn't being championed at the top.

The vision of a church starts at the top; likewise, buy-in only happens when the leadership champions it first. We see this all the time: a church roles out a new 2020 vision and everyone on the team is pumped to start working towards achieving these new goals. But, as time passes, the leadership gradually stops emphasizing these goals. It’s so important that the staff knows that the vision and mission are top priorities for the leadership. A team that’s bought in will fall in line quickly when the path forward is clear. 

One of my favorite examples of this is from our own team's fearless leader, William Vanderbloemen. Part of our mission is to create quality, useful, free content for churches. With over 190 years of combined ministry experience among our staff, everyone is expected to contribute towards this goal. Last year, William created more content than anyone else on our staff. When the person at the top is putting in the most work, it will surely trickle down to the rest of the staff!

2. The vision isn't top of mind.

A huge piece of vision alignment is not just getting your team onboard but keeping them engaged and bought in for the long term. Keeping your vision and valuesat the top of everyone's mind is crucial for continued success. Here are a few thoughts on how to practically carry this out:

  • Staff meetings: Staff meetings are a stellar opportunity to reinforce and remind your team your goals and values, each and every time you meet together.
  • Strategic vision updates: Schedule specific times throughout the year to give updates on progress updates or ways in which you’ve see the vision carried out throughout the church and organization
  • Visual elements: Here at Vanderbloemen, everyone on our team has plaque on their desk that lists our core values. So everyday, we look at this list and are reminded to excel however we can at Broadband Love, Ever-Increasing Agility, Constant Improvement, etc.
  • Celebrate the little successes: Publicly celebrate the small, tangible successes and milestones that happen throughout the month. Send out an office-wide email about a great volunteer story, or post on Social Media about a staff member who is doing great work. The little successes that will move things forward.

3. You haven’t given the staff a "why."

Like any millennial, I’m prone to ask “why?” a lot. When I was considering joining the Vanderbloemen team, William’s vision was clearly backed up by a “why” that I could get behind. In an interview, he said to me, “Sarah, I believe that helping churches get the right staff in place is how I can make the most impact for the Kingdom while on this earth. The Church deserves the best, so that’s what Vanderbloemen is trying to deliver.”

Does your staff know why your vision is what it is? Not just, “We want to grow by X percent this year,” or “We want to plant a new campus,” but why your church and your team is called to this specific mission.

Give your staff a reason to buy in and they will take on this vision as their own. Tweet: Give your staff a reason to buy in and they will take on this vision as their own. https://bit.ly/1R0mNCz via @VanderbloemenSG

How can you help your staff buy into the vision of your church?

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