For most of my ministry, I have been a senior pastor, a seminary professor, or an interim pastor. For a brief time, I served as a ministry staff member in a local church. That time was important to me because it gave me some insight into what staff members experience.
Whether you are a senior pastor or a lay church member, here are some ways you might honor your church’s staff members.
- Pray proactively with individual staff members. Intentionally plan times to pray with each staff member. Praying as a group is great, but praying with individuals illustrates your concern and affirms their importance to the team.
- Give staff members a vacation day on their spouse’s birthday. This gift will not only be a surprise, but it will also show your church’s commitment to healthy marriages.
- Send birthday cards to your staff members, their spouse, and their children. The church likely already has this birthday information, so the task is simply to organize and follow through with a plan. Recognizing your staff’s family members will quickly strengthen your relationships with the staff.
- Give staff members a free weekend on the week of their anniversary. Work out the details so they can readily take off for their anniversary – and make sure the church knows their reason for their absence. Again, you will honor staff while also affirming the primacy of our marriages.
- Budget to provide family memberships to a local gym. The costs for providing memberships may not be insignificant, but the value can outweigh the costs. Healthy staff members and families are a plus for a church.
- Surprise staff members with mass emails of thanksgiving. Work through your church’s small groups or particular ministries to express gratitude to your staff. A simple “We appreciate you” will go a long way toward affirming your team.
- Give staff members a sabbatical. Professors receive sabbaticals to renew their studies, develop their research, and work on personal growth. Surely, church staff members are worthy of the same kind of benefit.
- Give a gift to missions in honor of a staff member. Giving for the sake of the nations is one way to honor staff while not making them feel uncomfortable. Perhaps an entire people group will first hear the gospel as a result of this gift!
- Provide a budget line item for the senior pastor to recognize the staff. The pastor will still be accountable to the church, but give him freedom to determine the best way to use the funds.
- Evaluate job descriptions for your staff. As a church consultant, I ask staff members two questions: “What is your current job description?” and “If you were to write the job description you want, what would that be?” Any discrepancy between the two answers can be a source of frustration for a staff member–so consider ways to close the gap.
What other ideas do you have for recognizing and honoring church staff members?