Leadership in the local church is difficult and demanding on a normal day. Regardless of church size, every pastor is called to lead and shepherd their flock and the current situation calls for an even greater burden of leadership. But in the midst of change and chaos, how do you ensure your staff—those you depend on the most—are cared for and equipped?
Here are “5 Immediate Actions” you should take with your staff this week:
1. Allow for “Ministry Mourning”
In the rush to meet new needs presented by the pandemic, ensure you allow time for your staff to mourn…. not in the sense of losing a friend or family member but in the sense of losing connection with something they dearly love. As shepherds, your staff will miss the physical interaction with their flock. Allow them time to process and verbalize this loss.
2. Clearly Communicate Expectations and Use of Technology
In a week’s time, the physical rhythms of your staff changed drastically. With “work from home” recommendations and “social distance” requirements the ability to meet in person has been radically reduced. Leading through any change requires clearly communicating expectations; this situation is no different. Ensure you publish in writing what the expectations are for work hours at home and what new check-in rhythms will be for all staff members. Lastly, ensure you communicate what means of technology your team will use and then train them accordingly.
3. Set a Rhythm
Two weeks ago my staff had a rhythm. It allowed for a natural flow of information and ministry updates. Although your previous individual and organizational rhythm has most likely been disrupted, it is vital to set and communicate a new one. Here are a few examples of our new rhythm. Each day at 9am our Executive Team meets via Zoom or FaceTime. We pray, discuss needs and determine strategy. Later at 3pm I have a check-in meeting with key ministry leaders. Likewise, at their ministry level, our aged-group leaders have standing and on-call meetings. From a large group perspective, our team is used to meeting as a Pastoral Staff on Tuesdays at 9:30am. We have committed to keep that connection point in place. Next week will meet as usual but it will be from homes across our community via webcam instead of knee to knee in a conference room. Despite the current circumstances, seek to add a bit of normalcy by setting a rhythm for your staff.
4. Power of the Phone
Leadership is a contact sport. Two weeks ago you were able to grab a cup of coffee, sit down in someone’s office, and share life together. Today you can’t. With all the technology tools at your disposal, don’t forget about the power of a simple phone call. Ensure each member of your staff is contacted in person (voice – not text) by key leaders at least once a week. Determine a process and who is responsible for that process. A simple phone call and a reassuring voice can be powerful. Bottom line, don’t let any staff member fall through the cracks.
5. Recognize the Opportunity
We have been asking and praying for our families to slow down and have more time together. We have desired for them to eliminate hurry from their life. Even though the current circumstance is not what we wanted or expected, it is nonetheless an amazing opportunity to help our families “practice what we preach.” Our Pastor asked our staff, “What if God told you he would help us reach thousands of homes but it would totally interrupt your life? What would you say?” Is this moment challenging? Yes. Is it littered with obstacles? Yes. But as a staff, recognize the opportunity that God has given you!