Church staff: close friends or co-workers?

Topic / Leadership

I’ve worked in a couple churches now and have experienced two sides of church staff relationships. At a previous church, the relationships followed a “corporate co-worker” paradigm. We all knew each other and communicated what was necessary in order to make things run smoothly, but I’m not sure I would’ve considered us real friends as people who take time to hang out and talk about life outside of church-related activities. I’m glad my current church is not like that.

Based on experiences and what I see in scripture, I believe a church leadership staff should be a close-knit group of individuals. No one should be viewed as more important or more significant than any other. We’re all part of the body of Christ working together to achieve a common goal in the lives of the same people. Church leadership should enjoy staff retreats together, dinner at each other’s houses, and time away from the ministry together for the purpose of building relationships, trust, and respect with each other. Not only does ministry together become more personal, but it allows us to give specific input concerning each other’s areas of responsibility.

I hear friends in church ministry talk about staff meetings that are long, business oriented, and sometimes argumentative. I’m glad the staff meetings at my church encourage us to discuss personal matters as much as we do ministry issues. Ministry together should be about building each other individually as we do the same to those in the congregation and community. I’m glad my current Sr. Pastor sets the precedence for modeling vulnerability, earning trust, and building relationships with staff members, and I’m also thankful that everyone else follows suit. Support and constructive criticism based on loving relationships seems to go a far way in making a ministry team successful together.

Posted on January 18, 2006

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