The Chemistry of a Church Staff

This is a guest post from my good friend Justin Lathrop whose company Help Staff Me in January of 2011 united with Vanderbloemen Search Group in an effort to serve the church with all their staffing needs. Whether it is a Jr. High Pastor a Lead Pastor or an Executive Pastor we are equipped to meet your staffing needs.

A staff member with years of experience observed, “If our team is strong and healthy, we can go through hell together and come out with wisdom and gratitude. But if our team is bickering and distant, no amount of ministry success offsets the tension and heartache we experience.” This person’s perspective is shared by many people on teams across the country.

Chemistry is one of the most important and elusive traits of a staff team. We know we should value each other’s strengths, but too often, we secretly (or not so secretly) despise people who are different. If we’re extroverts, we shake our heads at those who are quiet and reflective. If we’re analytical, we become impatient with those who enthusiastically buy every new concept or program. If we’re big-picture people, we are annoyed by staff members who insist on dotting every I and crossing every T.

We may have concluded that getting along with certain people is impossible, but the apostle Paul would disagree. If traditionally hostile Jews and Gentiles could “break down the dividing wall” and become one in the body of Christ, our staff teams should be able to find common ground, too. Here are some suggestions to break down walls on your staff team:

  1. Take steps to understand one another. Tools like the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator can help people understand themselves, but even more importantly, they help us understand and appreciate each other. A higher-level tool I use is the California Psychological Inventory. Unfortunately the tool is only as good as who you have interpreting it. If you want to use it let me know and I will point you in the right direction.
  2. Notice what grates on you, and value the corresponding strength in the other person. Every weakness has a corresponding strength. Learn to see both sides of each person.
  3. Affirm and encourage. Take initiative to speak words that build people up. In the same letter where Paul talked about the gospel breaking down walls, he told us, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
  4. Expect transformation. When we extend grace to people, God does amazing things to change lives—even ours.

The chemistry of a staff team means the world to everyone involved, especially those who are watching from outside. Invest both before hiring and after hired in developing good chemistry with your staff. For minimal outlay you can

7 Comments

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  2. by Greg on February 11, 2011  8:10 pm Reply

    Good thoughts, thanks for sharing! I'm interested in the personality (CPI) survey, could you point me in the right direction? thx

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  4. by Larry Yarborough on February 22, 2011  7:22 am Reply

    Jumped here from Michael Hyatt's post this morning. Glad I did. I'll be using your article in this morning's devotion at staff meeting. Reminds me to sit inside Isaiah 43:19 and soak for a while. Thanks, Rhett. LY

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  7. by Wade on March 10, 2011  11:10 pm Reply

    I'm liking the content here, but I think I may be experiencing some technical difficulties...

    I don't think I'm seeing the whole article... I've refreshed a few times and the last paragraph looks like this...

    "The chemistry of a staff team means the world to everyone involved, especially those who are watching from outside. Invest both before hiring and after hired in developing good chemistry with your staff. For minimal outlay you can "

    All apologies to Justin if this is how it is supposed to end, it just seemed awkward and abrupt and there's no punctuation. Like I said... love the content, just got thrown by the last paragraph.

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