How iReview: Investing in your Team
As a church pastor, director, leader or volunteer, how do you invest in the lives of those who work behind the scenes in your church? The answer shows itself in how you organize, support, encourage and value your teams.
Investments come in various forms that help secure one’s future. They impart security in the eye of the one who invests wisely. They are diverse in nature. When you get married you are investing in your spouse. When buying a home, vehicle or appliance you are buying peace of mind. Securing for the future financially, you could buy stocks, bonds or a business opportunity. But one can wonder how secure these investments are given our current economic downturns.
As a church pastor, director, leader or volunteer, how do you invest in the lives of those who work behind the scenes in your church? The answer shows itself in how you organize, support, encourage and value your teams
On Sunday morning, I’m usually one of the first to arrive at church to prepare for the services. With all our hard work on the line I fire up the technical, production, recording and playback systems-then the screens, projectors, etc. You get the scenario, right? Following this comes the gentle sound of people coming in be- hind me. Anticipation is running high for what God will do today. But in the back of my mind every week is, "What am I going to do if so-and-so does not come in today to serve?" We are only as good as the teams behind us. What do you do to build into the lives of your teams that makes them want to be there, to desire the fellowship and to serve with a great heart? It is your responsibility to create an atmosphere that not only encourages worship within the team, but to make this team a family. Let me offer some simple solutions that go a long way toward making a team a family.
1 Make absolutely sure you are familiar with each member’s family. Names of spouse, children and awareness of birthdays and other events help you be part of that family. Ask how they are doing. Offer praise to them about how they are setting a great example by serving. Rejoice with this family at every opportunity. I once remarked to a great teammate about how his children always have such great smiles on their faces. He remarked back, "Thanks so much, you even see the small things." Look for the small things.
2 Know about their lives; build into them. How is their job? Their families? This one is very easy to start. Simply ask each teammate separately, "How can I pray for you today?" Be careful because now you will get that invitation into their lives. This entire segment will be lost if you do not do one critical thing: Be faithful in checking back. That shows you care more than anything. This is where trust will begin to develop. Anyone can ask; it takes care to follow up. Be a shepherd to them.
3 Never be demanding or all about "business." Yes, your overall performance on Sunday is critical to the way the message is received. So if a mistake is made, you can’t bring it back. If you make the offending servant feel nervous, tense or unwanted, they have a choice. And it can be to move to a different ministry to serve. Then how can you ever patch things up? Let them know with certainty that whatever happened, it’s ok with you. It happens. Calmly explain to them how it happened and how both of you will work on it together next time. Thank them and reassure them that all is well. What if this is a paid position? Same way! Why nurture an atmosphere of threading the needle tightly every week. I find that people show up more, care about what they’re doing and make fewer mistakes if one major thing happens … that they are loved. They chose to serve with you. Allow them to believe they made the right choice.
4 Look for ways throughout the year to celebrate and thank them. How about team shirts or jackets? One year, we bought our team nice team polar fleece jackets, not knowing if they would wear them. To my enjoyment, they wear them more than I wear mine. It’s a way of building in and making them feel part of something big. How about a pizza night? Cookout? How about inviting them over to watch a big game on TV? It creates the informal and fun side of being on a team. Building "in" leads to building "up."
5 Celebrate and/or mourn with them. Look to see milestones in their lives … birthdays, anniversaries and accomplishments. Send an email to the team about the joy or prayer needs of your teams. One of my dearest members lost her hus- band to cancer this past month-a dear lady. We made sure we made it to the visitation, sent cards, etc. Why? Because we have to? No, because we are called to model Christ in all we do. Stay the course. Build into these wonderful servants.
6 Recognition. Do we need it? Do they need it? No, but here’s what happens. After a service, special event, staff meeting, holiday event or at any time, recognition can happen. It comes in various forms. A shout out from the pulpit, special thanks in bulletins, praise from members or various forms of thanks. Be absolutely sure to first point to the teams and staff of volunteers that make it all possible. Everyone loves to be recognized. Encourage an atmosphere where your pastors and leaders can thank them and encourage them. This will build into their value of service they perform. Do this as often as you can.
7 Schedule wisely. Make sure everyone flows through and has the opportunity to be repetitively fluent in what they do. Can you expect someone to fill in when they haven’t served in that capacity in two months? Allow those who are not your best to have time at the controls (making sure they have help right there). Training is key. Cross-training accomplishes two objectives: It helps ensure people can serve in several capacities, and the replacement pool grows in effectiveness.
8 Live your life as a model for Christ. If I had only one attribute to lead with, it would be love. "For God so loved…." and "Love one another as I have loved you." Without love, we cease to exist. Make this a forgiving love, not remembering wrong, being formed in the image of Christ. Love one another. Lead with humility.
Following these guidelines may seem natural and obvious. They are hardly easy. It takes desire and intentionality. Will you do it today? Forget the past and begin anew. For building each other up in love and kindness you too will be making a wise investment. And please let me know how I can pray for you. God Bless.
From October 2011 Edition of Church Production Magazine.