Making the Church a Wonderful Place to Work

Making the Church a Wonderful Place to Work

What if you could create the perfect work atmostphere at your church?  One that made your staff really happy and really successful?  An atmosphere that promoted teamwork, taking risk, and enabling leadership?  What if…?

I think much of what your staff thinks about you (personally) and your church (corporately), they’ll learn in the first few months.  It’s important for the senior leader to set the tone and make a great first impression.  In fact, if you don’t get off to a great start in the first few months, the chances of having a well-rounded, long-term staff member are reduced significantly.  They’ll simply find another place to serve after a couple of years.  It happens all the time.

But how do you start off a good relationship with a new employee?  What if you send something like this to your new staff member.  In this case, we’ll call him Bob.

Dear Bob,

I am so glad to have you here with us on staff.  I know that you and your family will be a great addition to our team here at [your church name].  On your first day, I wanted to share a few things that may help you feel a little more at home with us as a church, and with me, personally:

1.  My most important priority is your happiness and ministry here at the church. If there’s anything I can do to make you happier and more efficient, tell me right away. This isn’t idealism, it’s good ministry, because happy and fulfilled people are more productive in their Kingdom work.

2.  I will not burden you with endless rules and regulations. You’re an adult. I trust you to use your best judgment.

3.  You have my full permission to screw up, as long as you own up to it, apologize to those affected and learn from it.

4.  Please tell me when I screw up so I can apologize and learn from it.

5.  Please make sure to hunt down people who do great work and praise them for it. I will do this as much as humanly possible, but I can’t do it alone.

6. If I get it right occasionally, I’d love to hear about it from you, too :o )

7.  I will always have time for you. My calendar will never be so full that my next free time to talk to you is three weeks from next Friday.

8.  I want to know about you as an employee AND as a human being. I DO care about your private life, about you and your family’s health and well-being.

9.  Life is more than work. If you’re regularly working overtime, you’re just making yourself less happy and more stressed. Don’t join the cult of overwork, it’s bad for you and the company.

10. I expect you to take responsibility for your own well-being at work. If you can do something today to make yourself, a co-worker or me a little happier at work,“ do it!

I’m looking forward to getting to know you and your family, and to you having many fruitful years of ministry here with us.  Welcome!

[Your name]

If you sent this letter to a new employee, and actually held to it, would it make a difference?  I think it would.

I’ve seen many a church that didn’t value their employees.  This letter sets the standard that people on staff are valued.  It gives permission to fail.  It expects that the staff person will lead.  And it perfectly balances work and family as well as employee and team player.

A few of questions for you today…

1.  What do you think of the letter?  Could you honestly send this to your new employees?  Does your church practice what this letter preaches?

2.  Would this letter have made a difference in your employment if you had received it?

3.  What would you add or take away from this letter?

4.  Is this type of thing a great or horrible idea?

I’d love hear your input…


This post was inspired by Alexander Kjerulf’s Chief Happiness Officer Blog, who revised it from Michael Wade’s post over at ExecuPundit called Note from boss to employees.

Title vs. Influence

Title vs. Influence

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

What are ‘rapidly growing churches’ talking about?

My colleague Tim Nations, who is heading up Leadership Network’s “Rapid Growth Churches” Leadership Community shares some insights from the fourth group of quickly growing churches that convened recently in Dallas. Here are the concerns these churches are talking about.  Tim writes: Each church came into the room with a unique set of questions, challenges, and opportunities.  However, the following three shared issues emerged that teams spent time working on together: Staffing and StructureEvery team realized that staffing and structure were key issues to ongoing, sustainable growth.  Some of the questions they wrestled with included:

  • How do we reorganize reporting structures and current responsibilities, and develop staff to minimize multiple hats?
  • How do we staff for need vs. growth, using metrics to operate by principle rather than pressure?
  • When do you move someone? (It’s the leadership’s responsibility to train and develop; point to vision and communicate clearly and honestly; do it with honor)

Assimilation, Spiritual Growth, Leadership DevelopmentIn rapid growth situations, systems that move people from attendee to leader often get broken down.  Each of these churches have a strong desire to ensure newcomers and existing members are cared for, nurtured, and developed.  Key questions included:

  • How do we define discipleship?
  • Groups – managing the tension between rows and circles; it’s a “both and”.
  • What are the onramps to leadership?

Multisite Issues and OpportunitiesNot every church that was present is currently multisite, but all of them are engaged in the conversation as a potential future possibility.  Much of this discussion centered around:

  • What do you centralize/decentralize?
  • How much variety in sites is ok?
  • What are the advantages to video sites vs. live preaching?
  • What is the key issue for site success?  (Staffing!)

// read more here…

As your church grows… what are the things that you are dealing with the most right now?  Do they coincide with the list above?

Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube



How to get your people to do extraordinary things…

How to get your people to do extraordinary things…

David Kelly, the founder if IDEO has this to say about motivating those you work with:

“If you want the people you work with to do extraordinary things, you really have to understand what they value. I’m trying to get people to remain confident in their creative ability. In order for them to have that kind of creativity, you have to be very transparent. Understand them and involve them in the decisions being made…The worst thing you can do to a creative person is have commands come down from the top so they don’t see their role and don’t see the trade offs.”



Reasons Churches Won’t Hire You

Reasons Churches Won’t Hire You

Consultant Charlie Balmer shares over at LifeHacker the reasons that he doesn’t hire people when they come in for an interview.  Charlie writes:

When you first walk in to my office, I am expecting you to be one of the 99%+ people who I know I won’t hire in the first 5 minutes. I am hoping I will be proven wrong, because I really want to hire you and be done interviewing. Unfortunately, most people looking for jobs don’t deserve them.

Here are some of the reasons:

1.  You send me a stupidly long resume

2.  You can’t tell me why you like your current job

3.  You have no career plans or vision

4.  You have no skills

5.  You answer my questions with conjecture.

Then Charlie goes on to tell you how to win with your interview.

If you’re looking for a new church job, this article will be helpful to you.

And hey… while you’re at it… post your resume at my new website.  It’s free!

When Raises Aren’t Possible

When Raises Aren’t Possible

The economy is still in a hard place; and so are some churches.  So what do you do when you have valuable staff, but you’re not able to show your appreciation with a raise in salary?

Liz Ryan has worked in corporate HR for over 20 years.  Recently, Matt Branaugh from Managing Your Church sat down with her and asked:

What is one immediate thing many churches can do to reward staff, absent of a pay raise or a new health benefit, but might overlook?

Here is her response:

“We tend to think of churches or nonprofit organizations and assume they have a special burden because they don’t necessarily have the cash or fancy stuff to throw around. But even in the big corporations and organizations that you’d expect to have the cash and fancy stuff to throw around, the biggest issue is recognition and the value of employee contributions.

This can come a variety of ways. For instance, it can be as simple as making it a habit to ask the front desk receptionist how to do things better in the church office.

Leadership is free. Management is expensive. Having to watch people on (the management) side of the equation, making sure they don’t do the wrong thing, writing the policies—that’s expensive and time consuming. Leading people the way they’d like to be led, giving them latitude, and really recognizing their contributions—that’s pretty cheap. That’s free.

People know the state of finances. But senior pastors need to understand their situation is no different than any other leader [who is] responsible for people. They say, ‘I’m a senior pastor and I have such limited chips. I’ve got so little cash, it’s hard to talk about. It’s painful.’ And they assume it’s maybe best to put everything under wraps and not talk at all. That’s the last thing they should be doing. Once a month, they should say ‘Hey Jack, you’re a great youth pastor and I hope I tell you that enough. I would pay you more. You know our finances and know we’re not in a position to do it, but I would if I could because you deserve that. Your contribution is massive.’

That’s the conversation you can have when you don’t have the cash. For many people, when it’s sincere, that’s as meaningful as the cash. If people are motivated by soul energy, give it to them!

She also has some other advise for things churches can do for staff when cash is low.  They are good suggestions you should check out.

Has your church ever been in this situation?  How did you handle it?

Worship Leader Openings

Worship Leader Openings

Here are two brand new Worship Leader ministry openings added yesterday at


Worship Arts Pastor
River City Church / Missoula, Montana
River City Church is one of the newest churches in Missoula, MT. Missoula (pop. 100,000) is nestled in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of western Montana and is the home of the University of Montana, and has a growing population of college students and young families. River City Church is currently adding to its core team in preparation for a relaunch in 2012. We are looking for motivated individuals to join us in reaching Missoula in a culturally relevant way. We currently have about 30 adults and 30 children in weekly attendance. Read more.

Worship Pastor
Pantego Bible Church / Fort Worth, TX
Pantego Bible Church is looking for a Worship Pastor.  General Responsibilities include working with the Senior Pastor, Media Director, Executive Pastor and others to create a worship “environment” each Sunday morning that invites people to meet the living God; partnering with the Media Director to create multi‐sensory experiences that engages people through all elements of a worship service; and exploring current music in order to bring fresh relevance to our church, while being sensitive to classic hymns (with contemporary arrangements) or timeless choruses. Read more.

If your church is looking for a new staff member, take a few minutes to add your opportunity to our database (for free!) and we’ll include it here at the blog tomorrow!


John is looking for a Children’s Ministry position.
Bob is looking for Senior Pastor position.
Rena is looking for a Stewardship posision.

You can add your resume (for free!) right now! (and we’ll include it here tomorrow!)

You can search and download all these resumes for free.  You just need to sign-in with your free account (it takes less than a minute to register).

To get all the newest job openings as they happen, follow @churchjobs on Twitter.

Staff Spouses: What should we expect?

Staff Spouses:  What should we expect?

Nelson Searcy gives his perspective on staff spouses:

The key to avoiding issues with spouses (like so much else on a church staff) is 100% crystal clear communication from the beginning.

In other words, no matter what you expect from the spouses of your staff, they need to know that before they’re hired.

Read more here…

What is your church’s policy on staff spouses?

Paula White Causes Protest

Paula White Causes Protest

Some members of an Orlando area mega-church spent their Christmas protesting the possible appointment of a new pastor.

Churchgoers at New Destiny Christian Center are concerned over the possibility of Paula White replacing the church’s late pastor, Zachary Tims.

Last week, the group passed around petitions and asked board members to resign. They claim the church’s board has ulterior motives.

The petitioners said Tims’ ex-wife, Riva Tims, should be the pastor.

“The majority of the congregation does not want Paula White. We want our mother back, and our mother is pastor Riva Tims,” Mary Walker said.

White began serving as the church’s temporary pastor after Tims was found dead inside a New York City hotel room.

New Destiny board members have not not confirmed whether they plan to name White the permanent pastor. White currently serves as the senior pastor at Tampa’s Without Walls International Church.

The board’s decision on a permanent replacement for Tims is expected to be announced on New Year’s Eve.

via WESH Orlando.

Uh… wow.  This would be a fascinating story without Paula White in it.  Add Paula and you’ve got something.

By the way… I’m hoping I can get my new Lead Pastor to take a publicity shot like Paula’s.

She’s not just here to look cute, you know.







Our Staff Rarely Leave

Our Staff Rarely Leave

Kevin East thinks that employees will, of course, come and go… but when they leave your church or organization, it’s much better that they be ‘launched’ than ‘leave’.  Here is how Kevin suggests you put yourself in the position to properly ‘launch employees’ when the time is right…






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