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3 Ways My Attitude Towards Staff Relationships Has Changed

Bryant Westbrook
September 10th, 2019

“Healthy change produces healthy growth.” One of my college teachers said that and he was right! Healthy change in the staff culture creates healthy staff relationships. Below are three key ingredients to have an awesome staff culture at your church. Ingredients that have shaped my attitude toward staff from being one of just doing the work and nothing further, to fruitful relationships that create drive and passion. I have learned from personal experiences, through trials of failure and success, and by observing other leaders these three ingredients.

VISION

A common vision is what can drive a staff toward the same goal. If it’s communicated frequently and effectively, vision can ignite a flame in the staff. A vision is something that your church is chasing after, the future that your church envisions and put into words. Your vision doesn’t have to be a dressed up statement, but is must be common among the staff that everyone can grasp and strive for.

At a former church, we had a vision to reach people far from God and teach them how to follow Jesus step by step. Everyone on staff was striving toward this vision, even though we had different roles. This vision helped the staff focus on what the overall goal was and the leadership communicated this so frequently that we genuinely got excited about what we were doing.

At my current church, the vision is not a fancy dressed up statement, but an understanding that everyone in the community would know God, grow in grace and go in love. Three simple things that our staff work toward. This helps keep goals clear, mission clear and it helps us answer questions that anyone may have. A common goal is what I’m getting at. I’ve seen how this has strongly impacted staff cultures and it’s amazing being a part of a staff that is rallying around a common goal.

Two questions for this section could be: Does my current church have a goal/mission or vision? If not, what is something that we as a staff would love to see take place in our congregation?

OPENNESS

Openness is essential to have healthy staff relations and here is why. Openness is knowing that the leader, boss, manager (whatever the title) can be approached and asked questions. People want to be invested in (especially me) and creating an environment where there is openness. Openness will create healthy staff relationships.

An open environment doesn’t apply only to the senior pastor or manager, but to everyone on staff. Ministry is relational. We have to transfer that to our staff by being open. Openness looks like this: If I have a question about a project and I need to ask a quick question, openness allows me to either schedule a quick meeting on the calendar or walk up to ask that question to whoever it is I want to ask. Openness is being available for everyone else on staff. If we are closed off during the day and are not approachable, this can create an environment with tension. Yes, there are times when we need to close the door and go hard at work, but maintaining openness is a difference maker in staff health.

Three questions to ask for this section would be: Does the staff at my current church communicate well with each other? If not, how could we make that happen? Do I feel like I can approach the staff with questions?

FUN

Last month our staff parish, which oversees the church staff, decided that we should go out for an outing as a whole staff. It was awesome! We chose to go to a place called Chicken n Pickle which is a “Pickleball place.” The name throws it off a bit, but Pickleball is a big version of ping pong! 

We played Pickleball for about two hours. We played singles, doubles and a couple other ways you can play the game. I realized something while on that outing. What happened, unintentionally, was we grew closer to each other and we understood each other a little better. Because we got out of the office and broke a sweat with each other, with some good ole fashioned activity, we were like a brand new team after we were done! 

If you don’t have a Chicken n Pickle around, no worries! You can easily go out for a miniature golf day, a go karting trip, golf trip, or go get ice cream and laugh together. Anything to create unity and bonding will be beneficiary to all.

Two questions from this section could be: When was the last time my staff team did something fun outside of work? Am I excited about hanging out with the staff outside of work?

Bryant Westbrook

Bryant Westbrook is the youth director at First United Methodist Church is Valley Center, KS. Bryant has served as a missionary in Alaska, program staff for YouthWorks, treatment counselor for teens and has a passion for student leadership. Bryant's contact is bryant@fumcvc.com and he blogs at bryantwestbrook.wordpress.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.

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