How Staff Values Can Impact Church Culture
By Mark Lenz August 27, 2020
If you’ve been in ministry for a while, you may have noticed how easy it is for a church to stray from its original purpose. Mission drift happens subtly and over time, but if it’s not addressed it can lead your church down a well-worn path towards irrelevance. This can lead to churches getting really good at things that don’t really matter.
One way to fight against this trend is to establish church values. Creating clear values will help clarify direction, determine resource allocation and determine priorities. They are a foundational component of any church culture.
The same is true for creating values for your ministry staff. As with a congregation, a church staff can forget the reason they do what they do. So, establishing staff values reminds everyone in the room what your staff is really all about. They are great, written reminders of the “rules” by which your staff agrees to operate. Here are six staff values to consider implementing with your church staff.
Loving people is really the bottom line of ministry. Jesus said love God, love others. That’s it. Ministry should always focus on loving people with the love of Christ. When your staff makes decisions that affect your church, always ask, Is this about loving people? The answer will determine your next steps.
Let’s face it. We live in a high-tech world. If we’re not keeping up with technology, we’ll soon find ourselves equipped to minister in a world that no longer exists. The wise use of technology leverages our efforts and multiplies our results. Combining this value with loving people gives a high tech / high touch approach to ministry.
Laugh a lot
They say laughter is the best medicine. While technically not true, laughter can be very healthy. Humor goes a long way in healing hurts, relieving stress and adding joy to your staff’s ministry experience. It’s always good to laugh at yourself and occasionally at each other. It keeps us humble. I think Jesus laughed a lot. So, let people on your staff and in your church know it’s ok to laugh.
Lean in to conflict
Conflict happens. Even in the church. Even among staff members. Where two or three are gathered together there’s potential for conflict. Hiding, ignoring or pretending won’t make it go away. Conflict needs to be met head on, in a direct and loving manner. Matthew 18 gives us a blueprint for dealing with it. Conflict will happen, so lean into it and resolve it. Doing this will bring greater unity for your staff and be a great example for your congregation.
Learn from others
Author and Pastor Andy Stanley puts it this way. Learn from outsiders. Outsiders give fresh, honest perspective. They think things we never think and see things we never see. Familiar eyes often overlook the obvious. So, learn from others, even outsiders. Military leaders, politicians, sports coaches and business CEO’s all can have insights the church may benefit from. Since all truth is God’s truth, learn and apply it whenever you can, regardless of who it comes from.
Have you ever gone into a meeting with the boss with a list of things to talk about, but you leave with one important item left undiscussed? That’s because that one issue was uncomfortable to talk about. Even risky. The last 10% typically gets put off and never addressed. But it’s not good to keep avoiding it. Establishing the value of saying the last 10%, while not easy to do, will lead your staff into deeper levels of communication, understanding and effectiveness. It takes time to establish higher levels of trust but it’s well worth the risk.
Creating, agreeing on and practicing staff values can help lead to a thriving, vibrant staff culture. A culture full of optimism, enthusiasm and joy. Who wouldn’t want to work at, and stay on a staff like that? So, use some of these, or create your own. Work with your team to create staff values that fit you and your culture and watch your staff’s joy and ministry output grow.