Is it possible to detect the early-warning signs of frustration on your staff and use them to create a new sense of team unity and ministry effectiveness? What happened at Crossroads Christian Church in Corona, California is a story of candid concerns and unanticipated results.
- Challenge: “We were aware of other churches whose staffs had dealt with issues of confusion and insecurity. Though we wondered if that might be the case with our team, we needed to know for sure,” says Cornerstone’s administrative director, Taleah Murray.”
- Strategy: At a retreat of 80 staff members who serve Crossroad’s 8,500 members, Senior Pastor Chuck Booher facilitated a round-table response to two questions: “What things do you love about Crossroads that you never want to see changed?” and “What things are confusing that you don’t understand?” Encouraged to be total honest and that no topic was off limits, staffers voiced 47 critiques, among them: Nagging storage issues, a fair process for booking church rooms, and what to do when one receives multiple (and conflicting) directives from various leaders. “Honesty took over.
- Results: Policy and practice deficiencies became context for needed, new approaches: Staffers who had open-ended (or no) job descriptions now have key accountabilities and quarterly assessments. All special events are now planned from “creation to the death” so that even the smallest “leftover” item has a storage place. “As a church staff, we realized we’re not afraid of change,” noted Murray. “Our strength of resiliency helped us tackle some things we’re not good at, like job training, mentoring and conflict resolution. The staff retreat exercise actually helped bring unaddressed conflicts to the surface.”
P.S. “The need for defining clear goals for each staffer (revealed in the Best Christian Workplaces survey) has been key to creating a more encouraging work environment where people aren’t fearful. This includes our senior pastor, who found the staff critiques hard to hear, at first, yet believes that being in leadership is all about engendering trust—especially trust in the Lord to show us how to grow our trust in each other, as a church staff.