8 Perks To Provide Your Church Staff To Help Them Thrive
By: Vanderbloemen January 9, 2017
There are many standard benefits that churches can offer their staff. Things like medical benefits, dental benefits, and paid time off are well-known and great to offer. These are fairly standard benefits to offer today, so what would it look like to be more generous with benefits and really help staff people to thrive?
I’ve compiled a few less common benefits that would be great additions to your church staff's benefits package. Take a look at these and consider if they might be a great addition to what you can offer the staff team at your church.
1. Gym Membership Or Fitness Stipend
Gym memberships and fitness stipends are fairly common practice in the corporate world. Companies will cover the cost of a gym membership, and the assumption is that most people will use it. Another option, since all of your staff members might not want to use the same gym, is to offer a fitness stipend - a certain amount of money a month they can use for a fitness regimen of their choice (i.e. yoga, crossfit, etc.).
If you are going to provide a gym membership or fitness stipend, make sure to provide a) some incentive & b) the flexibility to go! There are several great ways to promote gym usage like:
- A monthly award to the person who goes the most times
- A yearly optional fitness competition that acts as a springboard for those who need to start a new routine
- The flexibility to go during the day
Whatever you do, if you, as the leaders, offer some benefit that involves exercise, support it with your own enthusiasm and participation!
2. Flexible Work Hours
Nearly everyone benefits from having a work routine, but not everyone benefits from having the same work routine. Allowing your church staff to bend and flex their work schedule during the day promotes autonomy and creates happy staff people. You’ll want to maintain a core group of hours that people overlap, to allow for collaboration. If you do allow flexible work hours during the day, then the early risers can rise early and the night owls can hoot when they want to. Your team will thank you. Flexible hours also allows your team members to visit the gym or go to appointments when they choose, while still working a full day's work.
3. Help With Counseling Services
Caring for your staff should include some provision for counseling or relationship therapy. Serving in ministry can be emotionally taxing. Providing an opportunity to meet with a trained professional counselor could help keep your staff in a mentally healthy place or keep their marriage on the right track. This opportunity for healing could come from a partnership with a specific counselor, a counseling practice, or list of suggested counselors. Even if the full cost of the therapy is too much for the church to cover, you could provide a discount or cover a portion of the fee. This benefit is often overlooked but truly could be a major part of supporting your church staff’s health and longevity in ministry.
4. Sabbatical For All
Many pastors are already familiar with sabbaticals, but what if sabbaticals were offered to all of the church staff as a time of retreat and restoration. All pastors and staff would benefit from a yearly or semi-yearly weekend retreat (not vacation) where there would be intentional focus on spiritual renewal. This might be a new experience for your non-pastoral staff, but it would be a great way to refocus and allow your team to encourage a deeper walk with Christ. Additionally, pastors should have a schedule laid out so that they know when a sabbatical or spiritual retreat is available to them.
5. A “Get Out Of Sunday Free” Card
Ok, I’ll admit, this is a wild idea. But every once in a while, we all need a break. What if you offered your church staff a once per year “Get out of Sunday free” card that allowed them to have off on a Sunday? Sure, you could set some parameters about when it could be used (i.e. no holidays or surprises on Saturday night). This might help some stressed out pastor or staff member to breathe a little bit and get some rest.
6. Summer Childcare
Though it is usually my kids’ favorite time of the year, summer break throws a wrench in our family’s routine. Because many families have two working parents, summer break creates an annual struggle for parents who no longer have the structure that school provides. People on a church staff are no exception. Could your church provide a place for these staff kids during the summer months? Wondering who you could hire? How about some of the teachers who are also home for summer? Even if it wasn’t full-day childcare, some support with the kids during the week could be a lifesaver for those on your church staff.
7. Staff Breakfast
Ten years ago, I was on staff at a Young Life camp in Oregon. Every Friday morning there was an event called “Morning Mud,” where they opened the coffee shop early for staff and families to enjoy espresso drinks and breakfast. For many of us, it was a highlight of the week. Getting to sit and enjoy some coffee and breakfast with those you work with was a huge blessing. How often does your church staff break bread together? A monthly or bi-weekly staff breakfast is a great way to create an environment of fellowship among the staff, and let’s be real: breakfast makes people happy.
8. Bonuses & Other Rewards
This may be a controversial topic in ministry circles, but it doesn’t need to be. Setting tangible and attainable goals for people in ministry is a way to motivate people to work smarter and more focused. Along with those goals should be some reasonable bonuses or rewards. It doesn’t have to be money, though it could be. Rewards could be donated by church members, things like: a weekend at a beach house, a gently-used iPad, a meal at a fancy restaurant. Whatever it is, setting realistic goals and providing incentive to achieve them is a great way to motivate and delight your church staff.
Churches have a great opportunity to bless not only their congregants, but also their staff people. By caring for the needs of those who work on staff, churches are better positioned to love and serve others in the church and beyond.
What are some other benefits that could be great additions to a church’s benefits package?