The Care and Feeding of your Staff

It may come as a surprise to you that your minister is not “staff.” Well, not technically. I’m “called” by the congregation (voted in). Today I want to talk to you about your true staff – the ones who were hired by you all. They are fabulous! I can’t tell you how many complaints I get from other ministers about their staff. Ours rock. But while I may be their supervisor, you, in fact, are their employer. Not you, specifically, but the greater “you:” The Congregation. It’s hard to report to 150 people, so your staff have to constantly keep in mind the greater good, not just one person’s needs or desires. They get their cues from the Board and myself, but that’s not always easy. So here’s some tips about how to be a good employer:

  1. Say “Thank you!” Yes, they are paid for the job, but gratitude goes a long way to boost morale, particularly when they can’t say “yes” all the time.
  2. Be aware of their limited hours. They don’t have full time hours. Each is at about 20 hours per week (having just had their hours cut by 10%). So that means they may not be able to get back to you right way, or be able to take on that extra workload. And one of the most awesome things about your staff is this: They hate to say no. It bothers them. Makes them feel bad. They want to say yes to everything, but they simply can’t do it all. Sooo….
  3. Offer to help. Perhaps there are ways that you can pitch? Show up early on a Sunday? Volunteer to write that article, set up those chairs, send out an email, make some copies? They will be eternally grateful for any assistance!
  4. Plan in advance, if at all possible. If you need something done that involved their expertise, please give advance notice. They often have times when things get very busy and other time when they are not. Planning helps them be able to say “yes.”
  5. Love on them. That gets back to the “Thank you” but also things like, introduce Sarah (your administrator), David and Yesinia (your Sextons), Rayna (Your Director of Religious Education) and Beth (your Music Director) to people, so others can know them; keep them informed of what you are doing; make them feel like they matter. Because they do. Our Staff Rocks!