underappreciatedIt’s been my experience that most staff members in churches feel under-appreciated.

Feel free to correct me.

What you may not know is how it feels from the other side of the desk.

As a Lead Pastor, I often struggle with limited resources to make our church’s paid and volunteer teams feel loved on. It’s honestly less about me feeling appreciated and more about how restrained I feel in being able to love on leaders.

Sometimes saying “thank you” needs to be felt and not just heard.

appreciationSteven Furtick (pastor of Elevation Church) wrote an inspiring article early in his ministry about the lengths he wanted his church to go to appreciate its staff.

The various values he proposed at the time include:

  • Provide lunch for the families of Directional Staff every Sunday. “It’s a long and grueling day, and since many of these couples rarely get to sit together in a worship experience, the least we can do is ensure that they don’t have to worry about what to cook when they get home.”
  • Pay all expenses for each couple to attend a marriage conference. “An investment in the marriage of our leaders is an investment in the health of our church.”
  • An attorney provided estate planning for all Directional Staff families. He did this “to make sure that the leaders of the church have their houses in order, at no expense.”
  • All staff are required (not advised) to take one Sunday off from their ministry areas per quarter. “This helps refresh perspective and reenergize performance.”
  • We pay well. “We bonus generously based on performance. We offer great benefits and retirement plan options. We resource well, via books, conference budgets, etc. We celebrate a lot, finding as many ways to reward the sacrifice of these leaders as possible.”

Does anything remotely happen like this for you?

On the other end, how are you appreciating others around you in every direction – those above you, below you and side-to-side in how your ministry plays out?

What do you think it looks like to appreciate each other on a budget?

Thoughts? Reactions?

Was just thinking through some resources that I’d like to get into the hands of some key players in my youth ministry world, thought I would share a few things I’m processing to push my people (and myself) to the next level. Might inspire you to do the same:

For my upperclassmen Life Group leaders: Apologetics Bible
This year we’re giving all of our junior and senior Life Group leaders the Apologetics Bible from Sean McDowell. They’re handling some big questions and doubts and we want to equip them to build a healthy foundation for their beliefs. This is one of the tools we want to help with that journey! A steal at only $14 from Amazon.

For my underclassmen Life Group leaders: Emergency Response Handbook
New leaders need basic help – this little book gives you a quick list of things to do/not do and say/not say. Think of it as a primer and quick reference guide to a whole bunch of things they may encounter this year. It is still on sale (and has been for a long time) at SYM for $4.99. Incredible deal, we have it in the hands of every new leader on the team.

For my intern: Youthsphere
I actually want to take this course myself, but know it will tremendously benefit some of the younger youth workers out there. Youthsphere is an online youth ministry certificate program from my friend Doug Fields and a few other leading youth ministry experts. Pretty substantial investment, but one that will deliver big returns, too. Check out youthsphere right here and you can get 10% off using promocode: MTDB

For me: Take the Lid Off Your Church
I want to grow as a leader as well – I’m super excited to read Tony Morgan’s new book Take the Lid Off Your Church. He sent me a copy last week and I’m excited to dive in and be challenged by him as well. He’s one of the long-time bloggers I’ve followed for years – I read everything he writes! $2.99 on Amazon Kindle.

For the youth pastor buddy: The New Breed
I like to have a little gift when I have lunch with a youth worker in the area or someone comes to visit. Sometimes I have something around the office or an author copy of something I wrote – but I think I’m going to pick up a few copies of The New Breed by Jonathan McKee – looks like a great resource to help anyone working to develop a volunteer team. On closeout right now (since the 2nd edition is coming out this week I think) for $3.99!

JG