I once asked some minister friends their advice and lessons learned concerning church staff relationships. What follows are some of the best of the responses. In no particular order.
1. Jim says, “Be very careful whom you trust completely.”
In over three decades of ministry, Jim says he has been brutally betrayed at least 3 times. It has made him wary about trusting anyone with anything confidential.
I’m recalling a time when the personnel committee and I were dealing with a sensitive issue, long since forgotten. I said, “Can I say something in here and it not go any further?” The chairman said, “Pastor, I wouldn’t say anything in here you do not want to get out.”
That was a courageous thing for him to do. As subtly as he knew how, the chairman was cautioning me about trusting some of the people in that room. In time, I learned he knew whereof he was speaking.
2. Andy says, “First, pastor the staff. Be their shepherd.”
Something inside us wants to protest, that, well, the staff are all ministers and they don’t need pastoring. They do. In fact, preacher, so do you.
I have heard that the typical ministerial staff wants the pastor to be their friend and the congregation’s pastor; the congregation, however, wants him to be their friend and the staff’s pastor.
My answer is: be both. I’m capable of pastoring friends.