Pastors, what’s the reason you get up and go to church every day? Is it because of the wonderful pay you receive for the time you invest? Is it because you’d rather be visiting hospitals than going fishing? . . . or golfing? . . . or hunting? . . . or whatever your favorite pastime is? So what is your reason? Do you ever have to remind yourself of the reason you minister to people? Go on a trip through your memory to the events that led to your recognition of God’s call to you for ministry. I would hope that a big factor in your motivation is because you care about people and want to minister to them with the love of God.
So what about your staff? Are you, their pastor, providing an uplifting ministry to them to give them encouragement in their work . . . specifically with you? If you learned they were working out of obligation even though they didn’t feel like it, would that be a good enough reason to be on your staff? Or is doing what they do just to keep their job going to be acceptable for you?
So, here we go . . . what would be a good enough reason for your staff to be on your staff? While we would all hope that every minister is called by God, and that call is the primary driving force in motivating him or her, everyone needs to be on the receiving end of ministry. Even the best of us need someone who can be our minister.
4 Approaches to Ministering to Your Ministers
Let Them Know You Care
Begin by recognizing that your staff is composed of God’s children. It seems that too often staff ministers are working under the assumption that their senior pastor is only interested in them doing a job. Important? Yes. And there is still more to them than just a job.
Acknowledge that they are human beings, with struggles, and interests and families and friends. Get to know them as people. Spend some time with them. Allow them to get to know you, their pastor. Do you enjoy the same kind of fellowship with staff that you do with church members? Talk WITH Them, Not AT Them. This is hugely motivating for them.
Listening is a talent that far too many pastors don’t do well. Because of the typical position in the congregation of being the leader, frequently educated in a seminary or school for Biblical studies, he is the one who is looked to as the expert. Accustomed to preaching and teaching the Bible, being the expert, often it becomes difficult to stop speaking and instructing and just listen.
Your staff can know they’re cared for when you empathize with the situations they experience. Do you celebrate with them when they have a victory or exciting event in their lives?
Additionally, do you agonize with them when they’re hurting? In other words, can you identify with them, in good and bad situations? Events, good and bad, are those times that having you, their pastor, involved in their pain halves the hurt they experience and increases their joy.
Time with them is so important for their assurance that you see them as people, not unimportant underlings. This doesn’t mean it needs to detract from your ministry to your congregation. Just don’t leave them entirely out of your schedule.
Encouraging Statements that don’t discount bad choices on their part, but rather let them know they have the potential to do better, can be especially helpful for staff to continue moving forward.
Catch Them Doing The “Right” Thing and describe it to them. It doesn’t have to be done with a band and confetti. Just a simple statement of appreciation and/or a compliment with a pat on the back is so encouraging.
Broadcast Your Appreciation to the Congregation in the pulpit. Describing a success and pointing out appreciation can help those not directly involved in the staff person’s area of ministry keeps in touch with his or her work and lifts the staff minister’s spirits.
Be Their Minister just as you are for others in your congregation. Ministers need pastoring, too. Young ministers, especially need a pastor who cares about them and perhaps, mentors them.
Be Honest With Love when there is a mistake or bad choice. Confrontation of poor conduct is a necessity so it doesn’t continue and injure the reputation of the individual, the church or the Lord they represent. Just do it firmly and with love.
Be a Mentor to younger ministers, as mentioned above. It can’t be pushed on them, but at the same time, be available and open to offering guidance and constructive criticism. Brainstorm with them when they’re stuck.
When you minister to your staff, it encourages cohesiveness and unity. Without your time, concern and personal interaction, your staff is left out of the loop and feeling unimportant.
Want help getting your staff unified and leading your congregation in harmony? Give me a call at 225-773-8883 or contact me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your initial 30 minute consultation is free for a limited time.