Most of us could probably tell some great stories of horrible church staff situations. I’ve been a part of several, some of which were highly political where few trusted each other and I’ve been a part of church staff where things even got hostile. I’m not quite sure that the perfect church staff culture exists out there, but I’ve been a part of some good ones too.

While at The Orange Conference last week, Andy Stanley spoke specifically to to the issue of staff culture. Many of the points I’ve heard before in one of his leadership podcasts, but it was a great and timely reminder. He spoke at length about creating a staff culture where mutual submission is present. Yes, God may have called key leadership and senior staff to do something significant and the primarily purpose for additional staff is to serve that vision (I truly do believe that), but this doesn’t mean that senior staff doesn’t and shouldn’t serve the staff that works for them. This type of mutual submission creates a healthy culture where people want to work.

Specific points from Andy’s talk include:

  1. Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone. Don’t buy into the myth that you have to do it for everyone.
  2. Systematize top-down service.
  3. Create and maintain a sustainable pace.
  4. Celebrate and reward mutual submission when you see it. What’s rewarded is repeated. What’s punished is avoided. What’s neither rewarded or punished gets neglected.
  5. Confront your ego. If you have a big ego, then let your staff know.
  6. Drop the term loyalty from your vocabulary. If you need to demand loyalty, you’ve got personal loyalty problems.

All of these items are leadership gold, but I wanted to speak the the two that stuck out to me the most.

Systematize top-down service

I recognize that I’m a systems guy to the core. I’m always looking for time-savings tools that allow me to automate tasks. I also recognize that systems also keep me accountable. There are things that I want to do, but left to my own devices, I’ll neglect them. I need a reminder or process that triggers my action. Andy talked about how they do 3 month reviews for every employee. In this review, new employees communicate how leadership could better help them get their job done. Whenever possible, they act on this request as an opportunity to serve the staff. So, I’m writing this one down as an area for personal development. I want to serve my staff and I want them to feel like they’re loved an valued, but I’ll be far more successful at this when I create a system to help me.

Create and maintain a sustainable pace

This statement brings all kinds of conviction and guilt at times. I suffer from work-aholic tendencies. I take on more than I can handle and on top of that, I’ve been attempting to maintain two jobs for the past year as opposed to just my normal work. In addition, I’ve taken on some side projects that are both time consuming but also very important to me. At this moment, I don’t really know what a sustainable pace is. I’ll have to dissect this one more… maybe asking for a little help here from others.