7 steps for a more productive church staff
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
One of the challenges in ministry is that there's always more work to do — and it's unlikely you can hire a small army anytime soon. In light of that reality, here are a few practical tips to help your team be even more productive:
1. Move electronic files onto a shared space
Is your team constantly emailing files back and forth? Do they keep all electronic files on their hard drives? Both are a waste of time and somewhat risky. For example: What happens if a computer crashes and several files are lost? Yeah, that's a bad day.
Instead, create an internal network with shared folders for your staff to save important files. Make sure you have a plan in place to backup all files on at least a weekly basis. Also, you could also look into using online (cloud) storage services to save money and reduce the need for on-site technical personnel.
2. Use software to maintain records in a single location
Software such as Church Community Builder, Fellowship One and others enable you to store information about attendees in a central location. You can add notes regarding where each volunteer serves, set reminders to follow-up with visitors, etc. For smaller churches, even a spreadsheet that's centrally maintained would be a great step in the right direction (and more economical).
3. Stop interrupting each other for impromptu meetings
I've seen staff members interrupt a meeting in progress to ask about an upcoming event or service. To be blunt, that's just rude. Unless the building is on fire (or other dire emergency), send the person you need to speak with an email. Don't sacrifice someone else's productivity due to a lack of planning on your part.
4. Introduce structured meetings
Speaking of meetings, these things are notorious for wasting time. Implement these habits to make meetings more effective:
- Send out an agenda beforehand
- Make sure you've invited the right people
- Start on time (even if not everyone is there)
- Keep the group on target (no bunny trails)
- Document action items including who owns each task and when it's due
- End on time
5. Reiterate the vision
It's easy to get sucked into the day-to-day minutia and forget why you're in ministry in the first place. Remind your staff of the mission and vision for your church. Make sure each staff member knows exactly what the win looks like for his/her role. This keeps them from doing work that doesn't advance the vision and therefore wasting time.
6. Break down department silos
One department is frustrated with the accounting team because they rejected a purchase request. Another doesn't understand why the facilities department won't let them use a certain room without advanced notice. This leads to poor communication and strained relationships between staff members. Educate your team on what each department does and how each group is vital to achieving your church’s vision.
7. Don't tolerate poor performance
If you have a staff member who isn’t performing at the level required, deal with that issue immediately. Find out if he understands your expectations. Set specific goals and put accountability into place. If he continues to be unable to handle the job, then it's probably time to help him transition out. Yes, that's a tough call.
However, the rest of your staff has to pick up the slack for this person and everyone will be relieved when he either starts performing or leaves. The vision is too important to accept less than excellence (not perfection, excellence). Also, the tithes of your congregation pay for this person's salary. Would they appreciate paying for someone to not do their job?
A high-performing, productive team won't happen by accident. Lead the way by providing your team with tools and information they need to do their job with excellence. It requires a bit of an upfront investment to change old habits or implement new tools, but that investment will pay off.
Your team will be able to serve more people without wearing themselves out. That's a win for your team, your congregation, and the vision God has entrusted to your church.
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