Healthy staff norms — 9 principles for working on a church staff

In my more than 35 years spent leading congregations and staff teams, 9 principles have consistently served to improve morale, avoid problems, and help everyone achieve success in ministry.


By Dr. Bob Winstead


  1. KEEP the team first. Teamwork means that the success of the staff team is the goal of all members of the staff. Individuals cannot focus on narrow, personal agendas. Avoid turf wars, and emphasize cooperation among all members of the staff.
  1. KEEP the boss in the loop. Communication is the key to healthy work environment. The senior pastor has to be primary in the information loop. Never let the pastor get ambushed by somebody because you didn’t tell the pastor what was going on.
  1. KEEP looking up. Positive attitude is essential for good staff morale. Try to look on the bright side. Don’t shoot down others’ ideas before you give them a hearing. You don’t always have to smile, but your good attitude is essential to the staff team’s overall success.
  1. KNOW God. Spiritual growth is the key to personal and professional stability. Can’t share what you don’t have! Give yourself time to have a vibrant devotional life.
  1. KNOW what you’re supposed to do. Clear expectations and goals point us all in the same direction. Ask the senior pastor or your supervisor what she / he expects from you. Set your goals together, and review them periodically. Use your goals as a means of deciding how to use your time wisely.
  1. KNOW yourself. Emotional honesty works to avoid many problems. When you hide pain in your life, often it will come out unexpectedly or in an inappropriate or untimely manner. Deal with problems in a professional way, finding resources to help you be your emotional best.
  1. GIVE the benefit of the doubt. Public loyalty to the congregation and to the staff team is foundational. Assume the best. Never break confidences. If you have concerns, go directly to the other person. Gossip is the most destructive force in the universe! Never speak negatively about any staff member to anyone in the congregation — no exceptions!
  1. GIVE feedback. Close the loop on information with the senior pastor. Give brief summaries of meetings, decisions and schedules. Please copy the senior pastor on all important communication.
  1. GIVE your best. Genuine effort is all anyone can ask, but you must give your best. This means working diligently without overworking, using graces and talents God has given you without having to perform miracles.

Dr. Bob Winstead is Director of the Academy of Church Business Administration (ACBA) in Nashville, TN.


Get real-world, in-person church management training June 20-30 in Nashville!

ACBAThe Academy of Church Business Administration (ACBA) offers quality training towards a certification in church business administration issued by the industry leader in church administration: The Church Network (formerly known as the National Association of Church Business Administration). Through the ACBA, church administrators will receive all the necessary in-classroom training to obtain their designation as a Certified Church Administrator (CCA) through The Church Network.

This certification training engages students in real-world applications covering the various aspects of congregational business, including:

  • Facilities management
  • Stewardship and fundraising
  • Finances and accounting practices
  • Legal and tax matters
  • Marketing
  • Theology and ethics of administration
  • Information technology and church software
  • Human resources of staff and volunteers
  • Strategic planning
  • Staff management
  • More!

Daily classes will be held June 2030, 2016. Participants are welcome to register for daily or weekly classes. Program information, curriculum, registration, and lodging information is available online.


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