If you serve in a staff position or as a leader in ministry at your church, one of the most important relationships you have is the one with your pastor. In an effort to make that relationship the best that it can be and yourself the best that you can be, here are 5 specific ways that you can strive to be a star staff member…
1. Prioritize Your Pastor
- By prioritizing his Vision… Your Pastor’s ministry (not your own) is your first priority. While you certainly need to have a vision for your own ministry, you are not there to carry out your own vision. Your ministry is an extension of your pastor’s. Your vision must first and foremost align with his.
- By prioritizing his Reputation… You are a reflection of your pastor’s leadership and ministry. Guarding your testimony is in essence guarding his.
- By prioritizing his Awareness… Your pastor ought to be a better leader because of you, otherwise, why are you there? Keep him in the know of things that he should be made aware of, and learn to take care of the things that he shouldn’t have to be bothered with. If you don’t yet know the difference, ask him about his preferences concerning what he does and doesn’t want brought to his attention. It will be a win-win for both of you.
- By prioritizing his Time… Pastors are busy people, and if anyone knows that, it should be a staff member. Do your best to guard your pastor’s time and to relieve him of any and all burdens that you can. This requires that you be a servant willing to do any and all things that ministry requires, whether that be cleaning toilets, mowing grass, shoveling snow, making visits or running errands. Just remember, until you are the one preparing 3+ sermons a week, it’s important that you are making it possible for your pastor to be able to do so effectively.
“Allow the term ‘Servant’ to be your job description. Anything that falls under that description, do it.” – via Twitter, The Second Man (@TheSecndMan)
2. Leverage Longevity
Why is it that statistically, the average church staff position is only filled for 3-4 years? If the people leading can’t learn to work through adversity to be real and lasting leaders, why should we wonder why we lack in seeing real and lasting results?
I’m convinced that there are certain joys of ministry that some pastors and staff will never experience because they don’t stay long enough to see those joys come to fruition.
Certainly there are times when it’s just “time to go”, but one of the greatest blessings in ministry for both pastor and people is when staff members stay the course to make a real, lasting difference and eternal impact, and not just use a position as a personal stepping stone to greener grass somewhere else.
3. Overcome Offenses
One of the reasons for such short term staff life is that oftentimes, as soon as offenses or difficulties come, staff leave. There is always an end to every honeymoon stage, whether it’s in a marriage or a ministry.
For as long as you’re in ministry, you’re going to get hurt, and things are going to get hard at times. But that’s often when the boys are separated from the men. As leaders, we can’t carry our feelings on our shoulders. If we expect our people to overcome offenses, we’d better be the ones leading the way.
Here’s a couple of tips when it comes to dealing with offenses in the ministry:
- Men, lead your wife, not the other way around. Don’t get quickly offended through your wife and her offenses. There’s a reason why God put the man in charge in the home. Decisions must be made rationally, not emotionally.
- Don’t make major ministry decisions based on offenses, but based upon prayer and God’s leading. Yes, there may come a time when God moves you, but I’m afraid that too many ministries have ended prematurely because men of God have acted in the heat of the moment, rather than as a result of waiting on God and walking in the Spirit.
- Get over it. In ministry, there are much bigger things at stake than just our feelings. So for the bigger purpose, one way or another, we’ve got to learn to move on.
“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalms 119:165
4. Contribute to Your Culture
Every church staff has it’s own culture, and it’s okay that one is different from another. It’s important that as a staff member, you understand and adapt to the culture of your particular church, while at the same time contributing to making it better.
If a staff member is not careful, they can come into a church situation and see all the things they don’t like about the culture, and set out to change them. When in reality, none of those things are biblical principles, as much as they are cultural preferences. An understanding of this difference can prevent a lot of headache and disunity in a ministry.
Remember that the culture is ultimately set by the pastor and it is usually not a doctrinal issue. It is, for the most part, a personality issue. Meaning, there will be as many different styles of church cultures out there as there are men leading them.
Just as every pastor’s personality is different, every church culture will be different as well. And that is a good thing, as God has placed that specific man in that specific place for His specific purpose. Wherever God has placed you, learn to both adapt to the culture, while at the same time contributing towards improving it.
5. Excel in Excellence
Whatever your area of ministry, strive for excellence!
Constantly be working to improve and pursue bettering yourself in your areas of passion and gifting.
Never forget that you are your pastor’s representative and a reflection of him to the people of your church and community. When you excel, you make your pastor look good, and it ought to be your desire that your leadership reflects well upon him and his ministry. And honestly, if that’s not your desire, you need to find somewhere else to serve and someone else to be paying you your salary.
God deserves your best. Your pastor deserves your best. And the people of your church who sacrifice to make your salary possible deserve your best as well. So Excel!
Just as Joshua enhanced the leadership of Moses, and Timothy reflected well upon the ministry of Paul, may the same things be true of us as “second men.”
What would you add to this list of ways to be a star staff member?
If you’re a ministry leader in any capacity, I’m praying for you today. Feel free to let me know if you have any specific requests that I can pray with you about.