Your staff has God-given gifts you need to identify (and affirm)
Doing more with less might be one of the most common buzz phrases in the marketplace and church-ministry world today—and most frightening. In this unstable economy, everyone wants to know how to improve results while using fewer people and spending less money but still achieving or maintaining the same level of excellence. More and more churches are having to operate on smaller budgets and with smaller staffs. But, it is possible to achieve greater results from fewer resources while maintaining your organization’s integrity and budget, as well as your staff’s sanity and happiness.
The Statistics Aren’t Pretty. Last year, according to the government figures, worker productivity climbed 3.5 percent as companies shed millions of employees and figured out ways to get more work from those who remained. It was the biggest increase in six years—and it was great for corporate profits.
It was considerably less great for workplace morale. According to Towers Watson, a benefits consulting firm, employee “loyalty” declined 9 percent in 2009. Trying to squeeze greater productivity from already weary people only increases frustration and leads to burnout.
Employees using the same tools they always have and doing more of the same won’t accomplish your desired results. There is nothing more to be had using the same tools. Leaders need new tools, new ways to lead, to inspire, to communicate and to engage the people they’re working with.
Enter what author Daniel Pink calls “Motivation 3.0”—an intrinsic motivation builder that works from the inside out, built on individual strengths and a combination of autonomy, mastery and purpose—which he explores in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Your individual strengths were placed in you. They were planned by God to make you fruitful and to bring you joy when you engage them.
For your church staff, they’re the key to elevated levels of productivity, engagement and personal satisfaction. Identify the individual strengths in your staff and create an environment that uses and acknowledges those strengths—every single day.
It’s About Your Productivity. As an employee, my strongest contribution comes from my strengths, so orienting my activity around them ensures that I make my greatest possible contribution. Collectively, then, your church is at its very best when everybody (staff, volunteers and the congregation) is empowered to function from their strengths.
The Gallup organization has studies to show that congregational and employee engagement rises dramatically when individual intrinsic strengths are acknowledged and a place is made for their regular use. When engagement rises in an organization, the following key markers increase from two to eight times: giving, productivity, life-satisfaction and (as this applies to churches) even people’s willingness to invite others to come to church.
It’s About Your Joy. The other prominent value of a strengths-focused organization is individual joy. Few things are more affirming than having the strongest part of who you are being elevated as a value in an organization and by people.
When an organization creates a place for my instinctive and best contribution, it affirms not just what I do, but more importantly, it affirms who God made me to be. It generates much higher engagement from me and leaves me feeling like I matter.
I love doing what I am great at doing, which creates a lasting joy that is derived from my daily activity. That joy is genuine, and it radically infects the environment around me in a positive way.
This model for individual and ministry organization improvement has too much upside to ignore. What could be more honoring to God than to build an organization that is facilitating His work around the very gifts and talents He invested in His people to do that work in the first place? After all, isn’t it all about the people anyway?
Allan Kelsey is the associate pastor of staff development at Gateway Church in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. He champions new initiatives and purposefully develops ways to strengthen the contribution of the Gateway staff team.