Thursday, May 29, 2008

Best Christian Workplaces...

I found the following information in a recent eNewsletter distributed by Leadership Network. The article described the findings from the Best Christian Workplaces survey, and made for an interesting read:

At Antioch Community Church, a church of more than 2,000 in Waco, Texas, every staff member on the church's full-time payroll makes the same $40,000-a-year base salary, or roughly what a teacher makes in the community.

With that kind of compensation, it's doubtful any of Antioch's staff members are in it for the money. But as a recent survey finds, few people in ministry are, even in churches with a more traditional salary structure.

In fact, among the 1,900 staff members from 14 large churches who participated in the Best Christian Workplaces survey (data collected from 2005-2007), fair pay was the least important factor influencing their satisfaction or commitment at work. Instead, character and competence of the leadership team topped the list.

Character counts in ministry, whatever your vantage point. Staff members are weary of leaders who don't walk their talk. They want to see their leaders striving to live like Jesus day in and day out. It's not that they have to be perfect, but they need to be real. According to the survey, staff members are looking to their leaders to behave with authenticity, transparency and humility.

Best-selling author Patrick Lencioni diagnoses that "when there is an absence of trust it stems from a leader's unwillingness to be vulnerable with the group." Likewise, "leaders who are not genuinely open with one another about their mistakes and weaknesses make it impossible to build a foundation of trust."

At the same time, however, it's critical to the survey respondents that a leadership team demonstrates management skill as well as personal integrity. Both are critically important.

The survey indicated that staff members want to be part of a growing church that's making an impact for the Kingdom. They want to like the culture and values of their church, feel they are part of a well-managed organization, and be directly involved in planning and executing the ministry plan. That raises an interesting point, given that often leaders are chosen not for their administrative/organizational skills, but rather for their talents in music ministry, youth ministry, etc. In these situations, fostering a healthy church culture often may require some kind of outside intervention and training.