January 20, 2021

8 Principles for a Healthy Team Dynamic on Your Church Staff

Health and Performance

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Carrying Out a Great Mission and Sharing Life Results in Healthy Team Dynamics

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is 1 Thessalonians 2:8. Paul was writing to the church in Thessalonica and he was reflecting on his previous visit. Paul expressed,

“We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.”

I love that verse because it summarizes the two complementary (and sometimes competing) parts of our purpose. There’s a mission to accomplish. Paul reminded them that they had shared God’s Good News. But there’s also life to be shared. Paul highlighted how they had time to share their own lives even as they were carrying out the mission.

No one can do ministry alone and a healthy ministry team usually leads to a healthy church. However, in order for a church staff to be effective, they must focus on both health and performance.

I have walked into a number of churches where the focus was on performance while health was neglected. I can tell you how that story ends. For a season, the church will have great Kingdom impact. Many will hear the Gospel. Many lives will be redeemed. Eventually, though, the walls come crashing down. It’s only a matter of time.

I have also found churches where the focus was solely on health with little regard for performance. Everyone loved each other and enjoyed sharing life together, but very little was happening to spread the Good News and make disciples of Jesus. There was no urgency. There was no sense of stewardship for the mission God has given his church.

Fortunately, I do encounter many churches that understand the value of both carrying out a great mission and sharing life, which results in healthy team dynamics. It’s possible to have both.

We’ve learned over time that form really does follow function. You need to determine your strategy first. Then you can form a structure around that strategy. Then you can find the right people to fill the right roles. Share on X

Let me share some of the foundational principles that will allow your team to experience this as well.

1. Strategy Then Structure Then People

Form really does follow function when it comes to church staffing. You shouldn’t staff around people. You need to determine your strategy first. Then you can form a structure around that strategy. Then you can find the right people to fill the right roles.

2. Roles Are Filled After Considering Strengths

You only get the right people in the right roles if you’re effectively considering their strengths and wiring.

3. Hire Champions of the Team’s Culture

Culture flows from the top down. Make sure you have the right people in leadership positions.

4. Fill Leadership Roles with Developers, Not Doers

We cannot stress enough the importance of hiring leaders instead of doers. Great leaders build teams and equip others to do the ministry. If you do this right, you’ll end up with fewer, higher-capacity staff leaders on your team.

5. Maintain a Healthy Span of Care

If your span of care is higher than seven, you have a span of care issue, and you need more leaders.

6. Define Clear Wins

To be effective, team members need clarity around what success looks like for their positions.

7. Coach for Success and Accept Necessary Endings

Coach your team members to experience wins. Recognize gaps in performance, and give them the chance to improve.

8. Champion Performance and Health

Build a culture that prioritizes accomplishing a great mission while also maintaining discipline to protect the health of each person’s soul.

Is it time to restructure?

One of the most common lids to growth in a church is staff structure.

You’re perfectly structured to get the results you’re getting today. If you don’t like the results you’re getting, it might be time for a change.

church staffing and structure icon

**This is an excerpt from High Impact Teams by Lance Witt

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

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