Last week I left Texas for Arizona. The last thing I did before hitting the road was to have a final lunch with my staff at Gateway Church before heading west. It was a bitter-sweet moment as I was able to celebrate this incredible team one last time. I’ll miss them terribly, but I’m so proud of the team they’ve become and I know that great things are in store for them in the years to come!

This team I left behind was a gift. I’ve been leading staff for many years and what happened at Gateway these past two years was really unique and special. I’ve never worked with a team quite like it and it showed me a few things about building a staff team (more on that later). I truly believe that there were two or things at play.

  • I hired strategically. Two people on my staff have been on the team for 4+ years while everyone else had been hired in the last 2 years. What helped was having clarity on what we were trying to do as an organization and we hired specifically for those roles. For the past four years, I had been building toward an integrated NextGen team where many roles are age specific and other roles support multiple age groups. It’s a unique approach to staffing, but having clarity about what each person does and how it impacts the rest of the team has been critical. Each team member could really see the strengths that each person brought to the team which helps tremendously. Basically, I had amazing individuals who were excellent at what they had been hired to do.
  • I led differently. By nature, I’m a doer. There are things in ministry that I love doing and in recent years, I’ve been learning to let go and give those things away. I made it my primary job to invest in and lead my staff, removing every obstacle in their way that I could. I made it my job to build a team culture where the staff loved their work and work environment. This led to having a highly productive team that did great things together. I know that I’ve had amazing staff in the past where they’ weren’t maximized because of my leadership. This is something I’ve improved over the past few years and I believe it’s part of what make this team unique.

So, this week I’m launching a series about hiring/developing staff. I want to share Seven Indispensable Qualities of Staff. In this series, I hope to do two things.

  • I hope to give you a list of qualities you need to find in your staff team. These are the things to look for in future staff or develop in your existing staff. Whether you have hired staff or a volunteer team, these are the qualities you’re looking for.
  • I’d like to honor the staff I leave behind. In my final lunch with them, I shared with them the quality I most appreciated about each one. In this series, I’m going to describe a specific quality and tell the story of how this quality showed up in a particular staff member.

I hope this series helps you as you hire/develop your staff (paid or unpaid). Most of my staff possessed several of these traits, but no one has them all. Just ensure that these qualities are represented by your team as a whole.