Over the past thirteen years, eight of those years being on staff, I’ve been lucky enough to build a great relationship with my senior pastor. He’s become my best friend, something I that know is very rare in the church world. But it didn’t happen over night, and it didn’t happen by accident.
Now, I realize not every pastor is going to become best friends with those they work with, and not every staff member is interested in becoming best friends with their pastor. There are way too many variables that go into that type of friendship.
Although you may never become best friends, the relationship you have with your staff has a huge impact on the health of your church. And I’m not just talking about paid staff. I’m talking about key volunteers as well. I’m talking about the relationship with your worship pastor, student pastor, children’s pastor, etc.
The health of the relationships you have with your key leaders has a huge impact on your church. In order to keep those relationships healthy, there are a few things these leaders are going to need from you.
- They need to know your heart. They need to know what gets you excited, and what breaks your heart. They need to know you care about them, the church, and the community you serve. They need to know you can be trusted. This usually isn’t accomplished on Sunday mornings, or in meetings, often this takes time outside of the normal church routine. How much time are you spending with your staff outside of normal church hours?
- They need direction. This is critical. They shouldn’t have to guess what you want from them. I’m often amazed at the lack of communication that takes place between lead pastors and their staff. You can’t just hand someone a job description and leave them to it. You have to share a vision for what you want the church to accomplish and how their ministry can help accomplish that vision. When’s the last time you had a vision conversation with your staff?
- They need you to set the example. Like it or not, if your leaders think your slacking in some areas, it won’t be long before they’re doing the same. If they see you showing up to meetings late and unprepared, they’ll do the same. If they see you walk past a piece of trash in the lobby, they’re probably not going to pick it up either.You set the example for them, so if you don’t like what you see, you may need to look in the mirror. Are there any areas where you are currently slacking in your leadership?
- They need you to hold them accountable. It’s difficult to hold people accountable if you’re not setting the example. You can try, but you’re probably going to get a lot of resentment. That’s never good. But, hopefully you’re setting a good example, which then allows you to hold people accountable. When someone does something wrong or makes a mistake, have a conversation with them. Don’t just ignore it and hope it goes away. Ignoring problems just leads to bigger problems down the road. What conversation have you been avoiding that you need to have?
- They need to know you have their back. A good leader will need to make decisions that won’t always be popular with everyone. When someone comes to you complaining about one of those decisions, your leaders need to know you’re going to stand up for them. Even if you don’t agree with it, that’s a conversation you have between you and your leader, not with the person making the complaint. If you throw your leaders under the bus every time an influential church member complains, it won’t be long before your having to find new leaders. When’s the last time one of your leaders saw you take up for them?
You may not become best friends with everyone on your staff, but if you do these five things, I believe you’ll build relationships that greatly benefit you and your church.
Which of these 5 things do you think is the most important? What would you add to this list? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and if you ever need help or just someone to talk to about your church, please shoot me an email through my contact page.