Basic Ingredients for Strong Staff Teams

Basic Ingredients for Strong Staff Teams

as picked up over the years

by talking to many senior pastors and staff members

You decide, but this is more than friends operating together.



A.     The senior or lead pastor

1.       Both the senior pastor and the person reporting have a discipleship group of either all men or all women, depending on which one they are! J

2.       He can say the vision of the church.

3.       The senior compliments and speaks highly of staff members—in small and large settings.

4.       The senior uses his influence to be sure other staff are paid in a fair way.  Many churches are fair to the senior but not to others.

5.       He is an example to everyone on staff—in godly character, love, and hard work.

6.       It is understood that the senior’s main responsibility for quality is the sermon.  It is the main billboard for the church.

7.       The leader knows there is the need for informal connections with staff when possible, not just MBWA by Kindness-concern By Walking Around.

8.       The leader and leadership team do what they can to prevent staff people from working in “silos” rather than playing as a team.



B.      The staff pastor or director

1.       Three C’s are intact – Character, Confidence, Chemistry.

2.       Both the senior pastor and the person reporting have a discipleship group of either all men or all women, depending on which one they are! J

3.       They can say the vision of the church.

4.       He or she knows the job description that is written.

5.       He is willing to sit in the “second chair,” or third, and does not consider that secondary.  He/she wants to glorify God and help the “first chair” be successful.  He does not compete with the senior but complements.


C.      Staff relationships

1.       There is a written and regular report.  Every two weeks or every one week, to the person to whom he or she reports.  It is not just, “Ah shucks.”


2.       There is a regular meeting face-to-face with the person to whom they report.  Every two weeks at a minimum.  Every week is better.

3.       There is an understanding about “open door” and when there can be just a quick question.  Both parties also understand that eye-to-eye is much better than even phone.

4.       There is an understanding that no arguments take place on email or texting.  Arguments get worse when in print.  Eye-to-eye gives feelings and invites love to be present.

5.       The report given to the senior includes certain lists of DNA of the staff – thank you notes, family dates, exercise, personal worship… There is an accountability for little things.  People do not necessarily voice that they want that, but they care that the church supervision cares about the little things.  “The little pixels make the big picture.”


6.       There is an understanding about which all-church events the staff member is asked to be involved in.

7.       There is a clear job description.  It can be simple, but it needs to be candid about time and reports and areas and even some specifics.  The last sentence of this should be, “And other things as assigned.”

8.       There is a sense of appreciation back and forth.  There is an understanding of what “straight talk” is.  There is a promise of candor between each other and love and defense of each other outside of the meeting!


9.       Both work hard.  No one “floats.”


10.   Both agree they can differ one on one but support each other in public.


11.   There is no sarcasm between staff members in public.  Instead they model unity and mutual respect.

12.   People care about each other’s personal life.

13.   Women are treated with equality and respect.

14.   People know how to ask forgiveness (not in lieu of permission J). 




D.     The staff as a team/staff meetings

1.       There has been discussion about silos.  Every staff member knows they serve the whole church and care about other areas.

2.       There is prayer for the whole church and for the areas.  Most staff members are told to begin every meeting with a few verses and prayer to set the mood of dependence.

3.       Whether there are 2 or 22 or 102, there are staff meetings for “cheers and tears.”  There is a time to relax together as well as pray together and plan together.

4.       Many staffs have seen how important it is to meet on Thursday or Friday to pray for Sunday.  Just to do that.  For all the ministries and to feature the worship service and let people know what the purpose is that week.  Even inviting all support staff and part-time who can, including custodial.  It helps everyone not only feel Sunday but own it in the best sense.

5.       Staff meetings once in a while are just for fun, with some long-range planning.