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Tony Myles writes:  I once worked in a job where I feared for my job… everyday. And I wasn’t alone. It wasn’t because of the economy, and it wasn’t because we were all bad employees. It was because our boss was insecure and came across like a lion to everyone. He was someone who only cared about the idea of success than in creating the environment for it. I’ve been in the exact opposite situation, though. I’ve served in church staff teams where we were so inspired by the character and direction of our main leader that we climbed over ourselves to be a part of what he was up to. It’s the difference between transactional relationships versus transformational relationships:
  • Transactional relationships:
    • You focus on what needs to happen.
    • You’re concerned with the appearance of non-failure.
    • You spend your time one-upping each other.
  • Transformational relationships:
    • You focus on who each person is becoming.
    • You’re concerned with the health of people.
    • You spend your time sacrificing for each other.
Every relationship, organization, classroom and work environment tends to run with one of these two models dominating. You can influence that, whether you’re at the top or bottom of the totem pole.
  • T: Take the initiative in your own life first – become the person you want others to be.
  • R: Raise your eyes – set your focus on things above versus things of the earth (Col 3:1-4)
  • A: Ask others questions – find out who they are and what they’re most concerned about in life.
  • N: Nurture conversation – set up regular lunch times where everyone gets together to chat.
  • S: Say the mission – don’t just nod your head at what’s on the wall, but use it in conversation.
  • F: Face people – don’t multitask during conversations (close the laptop and turn off your phone).
  • O: Own mistakes – if you know you did something wrong, apologize right away.
  • R: Raise standards – stop using the phrase “That was good enough.”
  • M: Mind your mind – introduce people to new thoughts and ideas that can lead to change.
In the end, you will influence others either out of your:
  • Title: Parent, spouse, employer, employee, customer, teacher, student, pastor, tither, guest, regular, etc
  • Influence: Your integrity, your passion, your relationship with God, etc
So… what is your next step to create healthy people instead of yet another power play?
The most important [commandment], answered Jesus, is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
By: Tony Myles

Are you happy in your church job?  Well… a new study says that if you fake your happiness when you’re at work, it can actually make things much worse. According to, few people consider being 100 percent honest when asked how it’s going at work. But overcompensating on a bad day can not only make your secretly bad mood worse, it can hurt your task focus. Here’s the scoop… essentially, people who smile and act happy when they are having a bad day are actually more withdrawn from their work than people that are honest about their day.  And… it’s worse for women than for men, according to the study. According to the article, those who created smiles by thinking positive thoughts, or engaged in “deep acting,” seemed to actually cheer up, and their work output increased. So, I guess attitude has a lot to do with it. How do you act when you’re having a bad day?  Or when you hate your job?  Do you cop the fake smile, or actually think positive thoughts that help you stay engaged in the actual work you have to do. Seems like a fine line to me many times… but it could be important in how much work you really get done… even on a bad time or during a bad season. via Faking Happiness Can Make Your Bad Mood Worse. Your thoughts?

My friend Jim Sheppard has posted an interview with William Vanderbloemen and Justin Lathrop on how they see staffing issues changing in churches today.  Here are some of the highlights:
  • They are starting to see new staff positions emerging, particularly among the larger and more innovative churches.  Examples:  Pastor of Social Media, Pastor of Generosity.
  • The role of the Executive Pastor seems to be expanding. More churches are hiring XPs these days.
  • Campus Pastors for multi-site churches are still in big demand, but they are not merely administrative roles…many have to be gifted communicators as well to fill in the gaps with speaking.
  • Succession is THE looming issue in the church.
You can read more details here… it’s good stuff.

The pastor of Greater New Zion Baptist addresses a fight that broke out at the church on Sunday. Pastor Levonia Ray was not there yesterday, but says he’s the focus of the controversy. He says a group of people in the congregation have called for his resignation. Pastor Ray says he will abide by the decision of the members, but that a small group of people have blocked the vote three times. The violence at the church required more than 30 deputies and officers to control the crowd. HT:

This just in from my friend and colleague Warren Bird…  Thanks to over 700 churches that responded to Leadership Network’s “lean staff” survey in January, we have some helpful insights for everyone. We compared churches that spend only 10%-35% of their budget on staff (which we call “lean”) against churches that use higher percentages for their staffing costs… Responses included churches of all sizes, from attendances of 50 to 20,000. Among the things we learned:
* Lean staff churches do a better job with volunteers and lay leadership development. * Lean staff churches invest a noticeably higher percentage of their budget beyond the walls of their church. * Growing churches spend a smaller percentage of their budget on staffing costs, so they’re “leaner” than plateaued or declining churches. * Staff costs become leaner with size — as overall weekend worship attendance increases, but not dramatically so.
We conducted the survey in partnership with our friends at Your Church magazine and Leadership journal, both publications of Christianity Today International. Options: Lean-Staff-report-cover Get the 45-slide presentation. Today we released the report pictured at right, for free download here. It’s in PowerPoint style, so it’s visual and easy to follow. Read a two-page summary: See Matt Branaugh’s “A Closer Look at ‘Lean’ Church Staffs.” He’s editor of Your Church magazine. Listen to a 12-minute podcast where Matt and I talk about the project, free download here. Next Steps: Consider joining our “Lean Staff” focus group, a one-day forum on May 20 in Dallas. We’ll cap attendance at 25 people for maximum discussion. This is for churches that:
* Have staff costs at 35% or less of their total budget (or are intentionally and rapidly moving that direction). * Want to compare notes with others, learning healthy ways to downsize staffing costs. * Have a worship attendance (not membership) of 2,000 to 6,000.
If you’d like to learn more, contact This fall we’ll release another more in-depth report, announcing it in this blog and in Leadership Network Advance. No doubt we’ll blog a few other findings too, including a summary of learnings from the focus group. dollar-signs Salary Survey: As long as I’m writing about budgets and staff, may I invite you to be part of our just-launched 2010 Large Church Salary Survey? We conduct it every other year. Reports from previous years (2008, 2006, etc.) are available for free download at It’s a very popular download because larger churches with attendance of 1,000 to 25,000 want to learn from peers in their size range – which we cluster by different size groupings. Participants get the findings much sooner than everyone else. To participate, click or type this link: (case sensitive). Bird-Warren-jacket-adjusted Warren Bird, Ph.D., is Research Director at Leadership Network, and co-author of 21 books on various aspects of church health and innovation. Recent blog posts include More Sociologists “Get” Religion, Report from “The Unthinkables,” Meet Some Amazing Leaders Reaching Hispanics in America, More Large Churches Are Bridging the Racial Divide, Why Is “Everyone” Interested in Leadership Development, What’s New in Young Adult Ministries, Questions Raised by Executive Pastors, Downtown Churches: How Visible?, What Is Your Church Learning about Outreach? and Nigerian-Based Church Comes to North America.

Leadership, Staffing
There was a great piece by Tim Schraeder over at CatalystSpace this past week about the top ten things that will drive you crazy about working for a church.  See if any of these resonate with you… 1.  We are really good at burning people out. The average church employee stays at a church for about 2 years before they peace out.  We all need to learn one simple word: NO. Even though something may be for a great cause, it’s not worth losing your soul to make it happen. 2.  We focus way too much on what we don’t have. We need to focus on what God CAN do rather than what we have to work with initially. 3.  We are afraid of change. We need to give change time and be more concerned with what the voice of God is saying to you and let that influence you more than the voices of other people. 4.  We use “let me pray about it” as an excuse to get out of making decisions. Wow.  So true. 5.  We LOVE meetings. For some reason, we think that things get accomplished in meetings.  They make us feel good about our progress.  95% of the time, meetings are a waste of time. 6.  We try to do way too much. Tim says:  “Most churches are hyperactive and never sleep. We thrive on activity. The whole “less is more” thing hasn’t sunk in yet.”  I agree that this is the case in some churches.  In other churches (maybe the majority) though, I think we try to do too little.  While some churches are hyperactive, many more are asleep… not trying ANYTHING great for God.  (In this point, I disagree a little with Tim). 7.  We try to be something we’re not. Tim says:  “If I see one more 40 something pastor dressed in Abercrombie so help me…”  Amen, brother. 8.  We spend too much time looking at other churches. Again… agree:  “Your church has a unique and specific role it’s meant to play in the life of your community. If your church ceased to exist, what would people miss? Whatever that is should be where you focus your time and energy.” 9.  We worry about people leaving. “We’re quick to cater to the needs [or demands] of people who have been around for a while instead of focusing the needs of people who are new.” Why do we do this?  Money?  Pride? I like what one preacher said recently.  “Some people look better goin’ than comin’.”  Couldn’t be MORE true sometimes. 10.  We don’t feel trusted. Tim says:  “For whatever reason churches tend thrive in a weird culture of mistrust. It’s not or conducive to a positive working environment. Some churches have crazy rules, policies and procedures that create layers of red tape that, while probably well-intentioned, communicate a lack of trust.” Wow.  That is so true.  I’ve seen it time and time again, and it’s something we’ve struggled with at my own church.  Policies in and of themselves can foster an atmosphere of distrust.  You’ve got to watch that one. You can read much more of Tim’s thoughts here… OK… those are Tim’s ten.  Which ones do you agree or disagree with?  And what would you add to the list?  What is the ONE thing that is driving you crazy in your church job right now? Todd

Your weekly church staff meeting is the most important meeting of the week. It is an opportunity to gather key staff leaders to celebrate victories, identify missed opportunities, communicate dates and plans, and keep focused on your stated vision and purpose. In an article by Craig Webb over at LifeWay, Craig offers the following things to consider about your staff meetings: 1. We will make our weekly staff meeting a priority. 2. We will follow a pre-set agenda and have a designated meeting leader. 3. We will leave our mobile phones off and agree about computer use during meetings. 4. We will focus on the one person who is speaking and give them our full attention. 5. We will not use staff meetings to attack or embarrass to get our way. 6. We will celebrate the work God is doing in and through us by mutual encouragement. 7. We will end the meeting with agreement on next actions and persons accountable for those actions, and the time frame in which they are to be completed. You can read more here. What do YOUR church staff meetings look like?  Are they regular?  Organized?  Eventful?  Beneficial?  How could you improve yours?

OK… not a real uplifting title.  Many ministry staff people absolutely love their job.  Others are… well… simply miserable.  With us ministry folk, there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground sometimes.  Maybe this piece could help those of you who feel terribly miserable in your current situation… Here is some advice from Liz Wolgemuth:

Look around the office. If you hate your job, there’s a good chance that other people around you do, too. Negativity breeds negativity. Despite what got the ball rolling in the first place, you can choose to be part of a move in the opposite direction. “You can go to work and actually make someone else’s job less miserable,” Lencioni says. “Use your job to help others.” Although there may be other methods of reducing your unhappiness—by improving your skills or shifting some of your workload to a coworker—money and staff are tight, and employees probably won’t have too many levers to pull during this recession.

Do you HATE your current church job?  If so, why?  And if you’ve had a church job you hated in the past, how did you remedy the situation?  Stick it out, or change jobs? More here…