7 Ways to Invest in Your Staff Culture

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Phill Martin, a clergy coach and an executive with the National Association of Church Business Administrators, says a typical church invests half its operating budget in staff. So, it’s important to invest in strengthening your staff by recognizing their gifts, building trust, strengthening community, and providing honest feedback.


A typical congregation invests 45 to 55 percent of its operating budget in staff expenses. So, it’s well worth an additional investment of time and money to maintain a positive staff culture and ensure that your staff and other leaders are in alignment with the congregation’s vision and strategy. Consider these seven ways to invest in a positive staff culture.

These seven investments are not a guarantee of success, but they will go a long way toward ensuring that your staff culture is a resource in implementing your church’s vision and strategy.

1. Invest in understanding the strength of the individual team member and collective strength of the team.

The CliftonStrengths talent assessment is a great tool to name the unique gifts of each member and then see how the team strengths combine to make a strong culture. Spiritual gift assessments are also helpful in understanding team members’ gifts. Both kinds of assessment help staff have common language to understand each other better.

2. Invest in honest feedback.

360-degree tools and surveys are great ways to measure feedback that will help direct and build culture. These tools help team members understand perceptions and identify blind spots. This knowledge is helpful in creating healthy individual development strategy.

3. Invest in developing team members.

Each member of your team needs to be a lifelong learner stretching to improve skills and understanding. Emotional health balanced with spiritual well-being and physical wellness help a team member to bring positive support to the whole.

4. Invest in community.

Social events, playing together, and investing in the lives of each team member can build and sustain a culture. When you pray for and care about the human side of teammates, the desire for the team to succeed grows.

5. Invest in trust.

Help the team understand what builds trust and tears down trust. Teams who have ongoing conversations about trust and who put in place ways to recover when trust is broken have a greater chance of success.

6. Invest in team-building activities.

In addition to the work of building a community, find ways to build the collective competency of the team. Consider being a team that reads together. Use books to build a common language and expand ideas. Consider off-site events to allow focus and a change of pace. Use outside facilitators to train and motivate. Reach out to other church leaders in your area to provide new insights and to lead spiritual growth for the team.

7. Invest in establishing a staff covenant and review and renew it often.

A shared vision of our mutual commitment to each other helps to hold the space for trust. But covenant commitments require accountability so be sure to know that this investment could lead to the necessity for difficult conversations.

These seven investments are not a guarantee of the success of the strategy. But they will go a long way to make sure that your culture is a resource to implementation rather than a cookie monster eating away at the strategy.


This article originally appeared in the newsletter of the Center for Healthy Churches. Used by permission.

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About Author

Phill Martin is the Deputy CEO of the National Association of Church Business Administration. He is also a coach with The Center for Healthy Churches.


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