When a pastor has other staff working together with him (or her) he should, inevitably, have regular staff meetings. It baffles me when I come across churches that don’t do that. And unfortunately some of those who do don’t do it well.
Why do we need staff meetings?
The twin reasons are, to gel the team together and to put everyone on the same page. There is nothing like a shared time together as a team. Information may be passed from the leader to the others individually, but it will not foster team spirit. However, if the whole team were to think through (and pray through) issues together it would inculcate ownership and create resonance.
“Without a regular staff meeting, you will be like soloists who belong to an orchestra but who never have a rehearsal. They end up without harmony and without beautiful, heart-lifting concerts.” (Harold J Westing, Church Staff Handbook, p144).
In the church office there are two kinds of staff meetings.
- Staff Group Devotions
Some churches have it once a week, on the first day of work-week. Some have it every day, which I think might be too often. In a former church where I was the Senior Pastor we had it twice a week, on Tuesdays (first day of work-week) and Fridays.
Typically it was in three parts: worship in song, devotional sharing from the Word and prayer. Everyone is put on a rota to lead in the singing or to share the devotions. Usually the prayer segment is preceded by sharing of personal prayer needs, church members’ needs known to us, upcoming church events and national issues.
This regular time together is certainly important for people who work in the same office. And if the church staff cannot model this, we certainly cannot expect it of the rest of the ministry teams in the church. Furthermore, to quote an adage (with some modification), the staff that pray together stay together.
- Pastoral/Ministry Staff Meeting
In medium-size to large churches that have three to seven pastoral/ministry staff one set meeting a week should be the norm. In mega churches with a few levels of pastoral and ministry staff there will be further divisional or departmental meetings, and including the top level SPO (Senior Pastor’s Office) comprising of the Senior Pastor and a few of the most senior members of the pastoral team.
There are so many things that may be brought to the table at the pastoral staff meeting that we can easily miss the forest for the trees. It is important to keep the main purposes of the meeting constantly in focus:
- Informing. To bring everyone up to speed on what’s going on in the church and ministries.
- Uniting. To discuss issues and get everyone on the same page. Reading and discussing a church ministry book together will help the team develop a common philosophy of ministry. This is critical in church work (read my blog on Know Your Philosophy of Ministry dated 27 Aug 2017).
- Evaluating. To evaluate how the church is doing and determine what needs to be done to correct and to advance.
- Planning. To work out the plans and steps to do what needs to be done
- Acting. To assign responsibility to one of the pastoral staff to take action.
Regular and well-led staff meetings are important because they have a rippling effect on the well-being of the church. The lead pastor needs to sharpen his tools to do a good job with this.