Churches can be stressful places to work. There are deadlines looming every week, offices are often filled with hurting people, and managing volunteers is regularly listed as one of the more difficult job classifications in the world. Combine that with the reality that most people do not have a very good idea what it is that pastors do or what should be expected of them and you have a recipe for a pressure cooker of stress.
Pastors, especially lead or senior pastors, have the opportunity to set the tone for the office. I have found that having fun and encouraging fun in the office makes the church office a much less stressful place to work. In addition to making it more enjoyable to come to work, a fun office is a creative and productive office. Here are a few steps we take to keep the stress level down and the fun level up.
- Communicate Expectations. What time do you expect people to show up to work? If you have an expectation that has not been communicated, you are setting yourself up for frustration. When others know what you expect, they do not have to walk on pens and needles.
- Have Fun. There are nerf guns in every office on our campus and there are probably some staged in other places as well. Sure, nerf wars are childish, but some fun in the office keeps everyone energized and working well together.
- Take Vacations. You need a break. When you are refreshed and rested, you are more likely to set a positive tone in the office. The same is true for other staff. Keep watch over the other people in your office and encourage them to take their vacation time as well.
- Eat Together. Fellowship over a meal is always good.
- Disagree Privately and Personally. Disagreements are inevitable in any office. The staff at Malvern Hill knows that they can always disagree with me, but our disagreements are always private and face to face. Close the door and have a conversation. Handle disagreements in the office in the same biblical manner you would encourage other church members to handle them.
- Don’t Be That Guy. If you are the leader in your office, you do not have to always be right or always come up with the good ideas. Admit when you are wrong. Take responsibility and give credit.
- Pastor Your Staff. You know the struggles and stressors of so many within your congregation, but do you know the struggles and stressors of those in your office as well. Have you prayed for a staff member’s mother, or children, or finances? Do other staff members know that they can come to your office to see their pastor and not only their boss? Paul’s command to shepherd the flock certainly applies to the staff that work with and for you as well.
These are just a few of the things we do, but they tend to be the ones that make the biggest difference in the attitude in our office. What do you do?