Serving on a church staff is a different kind of job. It not only involves your time, talent, and work ethic, it also involves your faith and seeing people at their best and worst. While we'd like to think all churches are a great place to work, some can be quite toxic.

Instead of focusing on the negative, I'd like to share the following signs of a healthy environment:

Sign No. 1: Leaders make sure their team members take vacation

Wise leaders know they and their team members need time off to relax. They know you'll be more productive and less stressed when you've had time away to recharge.

As a result, they don't let you leave unused vacation days on the table.

They hold you accountable to documenting your weekly tasks and training someone to handle those in your absence.

They check in to make sure you've scheduled a vacation and enforce a culture that respects time off. In other words, everyone knows to not call or email you while you’re out unless it's a dire emergency. Plus, you’re not expected to check email at that time.

Sign No. 2: Underperforming isn't tolerated

In a healthy culture, each team member knows what’s expected of him or her. If the employee doesn’t meet expectations, he or she can expect a discussion with his supervisor. This isn’t about berating someone; it’s about determining what went wrong and what the staff member will do to fix it next time.

Those who consistently underperform are eventually invited to leave the staff. It’s bad for morale to let someone stay on the team and not doing his or her job while other team members regularly have to pick up the slack.

Sign No. 3: Leaders genuinely want your input

"What do you think of this event idea?"

"How would you change that program to make it better?"

Secure, servant-hearted leaders seek out the input of their team. They value the talents God gave each team member and want to leverage those skills to better serve others. They appreciate encouragement and carefully consider constructive criticism. Staff members aren’t afraid to disagree in private and remain faithfully supportive in public. (Bonus tip: Always offer possible solutions when you raise issues…that tends to make a critique sting a bit less.)

Sign No. 4: Leaders care about their team members

"What have you learned lately from your time in the Word?"

"How’s Johnny liking his new school?"

"How’s your family doing?"

When your pastor or direct supervisor asks how you're doing personally, it communicates they care about you and not just what you do for the church.

Sign No. 5: Everyone pitches in — whether it’s their responsibility or not

When you're leading a new event or have a big project underway, it's hard to plan for every scenario. If you find yourself running behind schedule and needing extra help, it's wonderful to be on a team where you know others will pitch in. They know you’d do the same for them (probably because you have) and they want the project to be a roaring success.

They’ve also seen you working hard and know you’re doing your best to get the job done. A "we’re all in this together" team atmosphere makes everyone better and best serves the congregation.

While no working environment is perfect, I hope you're serving on a team where these signs are evident. If you're in a position of leadership, talk with your team about this list. If you’re not happy with how they’re currently performing, this discussion could help strengthen your team and open up healthy dialogue.