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12 Ways to Build Staff Morale

12 Ways to Build Staff Morale

Why is it that some church teams stick together like brothers and sisters even under adversity?

Their attendance may be stuck, perhaps few baptisms are taking place, and the offerings remain under budget, but the morale is still strong. They stay on mission, press forward and genuinely enjoy being with each other.

Their morale is high.

Other church teams seem to realize consistent success, but they don’t experience a positive esprit de corps. The numbers are good, services are mostly full and the general outlook is that all is well. But amongst the staff, it’s more professional than personal, they lack community, and the laughter is minimal.
Their morale is low.

These two examples are incomplete. There are different examples for every scenario.

It’s never as black and white as I’ve written, but regardless of the circumstance, we all know the difference between high morale and low morale on a church staff team.

The classic illustration is a church plant. There is often minimal or slow success in the beginning. There is more effort than results, progress is tough and the resources are modest. Yet, everyone is fired up, the morale is high and the team sticks together like family.

High morale is a church staff’s best friend.

We all know the signs of low morale:

  • Increasing complaints
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Uncooperative spirit
  • Minimal effort
  • Chronic discouragement
  • Assigning blame
  • Negative attitudes

We also know the causes of low morale:

  • Poor communication—staff feeling left out
  • Over-staffing
  • Unclear expectations and changing goals
  • Change seems impossible, no one will listen
  • Allowing politics and gossip
  • Lack of coaching, development, evaluation and feedback.
  • Micromanagement and lack of true empowerment

None of us have all this perfect, and there are always ebbs and flows to morale. All churches go through tough and stressful seasons. Teams with high morale are resilient, resourceful and can make it through tough times.

The more time you can intentionally invest in the morale of your team, the better.

12 Ways to Build High Morale on a Church Staff Team:

1) Offer consistent development and new opportunities.

Consistent leadership and personal development is essential for high morale. A simple approach is best. Teach leadership, study leadership books together and put good coaching into play. New job opportunities are essential. If your church cannot provide new positions, you can offer special projects and other opportunities to keep high achievers motivated.

2) Welcome new ideas and innovation.

One of the things I love about the multi-site model is how “central services” helps press innovation forward.

It’s true that you can’t implement every idea, but the more ideas expressed in open conversation, the better the chances are that you will find the best ideas!

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Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together.