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How to Pastor Your Pastoral Staff

In today’s forward moving churches, many church leaders are so focused on what kind of performance they can get out of their staff that they completely miss the point that their role is to invest in their staff.

It’s easy to get busy managing people, getting things done and moving toward the vision.

But if you’re so busy that you don’t have time to focus on discipleship, development and knowing the team, then you run the risk of not only building a toxic culture on your church staff team but missing the real work God has called you to.

At the end of the day, the church is not a business, it’s the body of Christ. And listen, this is coming from a guy who loves goals, is addicted to progress and would much rather move further faster … but what does it matter if you get there, but you’re all alone, or worse, you’ve left a pile of dead bodies in your wake.

If you’re having a difficult time figuring out how to pastor your church staff while moving toward the goals and vision of the church at the same time, then this simple list should help you.

1. Pray.

It may sound elementary, but you’d be surprised how many church staff teams simply don’t pray together. On my team, we take the time weekly to pray for the needs of the church for a few moments in staff meetings, and I regularly start my monthly coaching meetings with individual team members in prayer together.

2. Play.

Relationships are both the glue and the grease that make work possible. Strong relationships minimize friction and keep the team close together.

For me, that means I have to like my team, which in turn means we’ve got to spend time together. That’s why I do a couple of nights a year at my house where I get the team together. We’ve blown off work to go bowling, we’ve even been known to shoot skeet at an offsite (please—all of my pacifist friends, don’t hate).

I firmly believe that teams that play together stay together.

3. Spiritual health days.

One of the better practices that we’ve developed is what we call “Spiritual Health Days.” These are a couple of half-days that we build in throughout the year where we literally give our staff a half-day to complete a set of prepared spiritual exercises and then have lunch with another team member unpacking their experience.

Here’s a link to the most recent Spiritual Health Day that we did. Feel free to use this tool with your team.

4. Development planning.

If you know anything about me, you know that I believe you get what you plan for. That’s why each of my team members writes down an annual development plan in the form of goals, both professional and personal in nature. We not only talk about these when they’re put into writing, but they’re measured throughout the year.

Leave a comment; I’d love to hear about what you’ve done to pastor the pastoral staff at your church!  

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paulalexander@churchleaders.com'
Paul Alexander, a ministry consultant at the Unstuck Group and has more than 20 years of experience serving in the local church. He has served on the Sr. Leadership Teams of some of the nation’s leading mega-churches. Currently, Paul is serving as the Executive Pastor at Sun Valley Community Church, a large multi-site church located in the Phoenix area.