10 Ways to Develop Your Staff

Having a staff can be one of the most rewarding and challenging things for a campus minister to deal with.  A good staff can multiply kingdom work in amazing ways, but a dysfunctional staff can kill a ministry quickly.  Often times as ministers we are quick to develop students but once we have staff we forget about developing our staffs. Here are ten things that can help develop your interns and staff.

  1. Don’t treat them like Ministry Assistants. Spend their time and energy on campus. Make your own coffee, hire someone else to answer the phone.  Spend their energies on evangelism and discipleship. 
  2. Let them be Chief.  Give them something they are in charge of and you answer to them about.  Sure, they may ask you questions in private about how to do it, but in public, in that area, you are the Indian and they are the Chief.
  3. Remember as responsibility goes up, personal rights go down.  You may be top dog, but remember the kingdom principles.  The greatest among you goes the lowest.  Serve your staff and they will see it and respond.
  4. Know their giftings and play to their strengths.  Scott Martin, National Director of Chi Alpha says, “On a dysfunctional team you’re known for your weaknesses and your strengths are envied; on a good team your strengths are celebrated and your weaknesses are covered.”  If they are a gifted evangelist, for campus sake, don’t put them leading an established Bible Study. Free up their schedule! Don’t bog down someone gifted in one-on-one discipleship with your program events, let them meet with as many students as they can.
  5. Low Control. High Accountability.  Give them a clear end goal, give them the expectations, the structure that they may need, but then get out of the way.  You don’t have time to do your job AND their job.  Trust your staff to do the job you trained them to do.
  6. Process your hard decisions with them.  Ask them how they would handle your really tough decisions.  Don’t shelter them from the hard calls you have to make.  Let them feel the weight of the hard decisions the leader has to make, but not the pressure of having to be the one to make the decision.
  7. Create a safe place for them to fail. Keep the standards high, but not as high as the grace.  Your staff is going to blow it.  They need to know that you are going to fight for them and fight alongside of them and not turn on them the first time an alumni, the pastor, deacon or donor call for their head.
  8. Oikos with them! Oikos is the Greek word for household.  Go out to eat together, skip staff meeting and have a confetti egg war together, pray hard and weep together, rally behind the mission of reaching campus and give your lives to it together, share your victories and failures together.  Friends tend to work better together than acquaintances.
  9. No staff is better than the wrong staff.  Remember, it’s easier to keep people off the bus than get the wrong person off the bus.  Don’t feel the pressure to bring on somebody just because you need something and then they turn out to be the wrong person.  You want people who multiply your work, not divide it.
  10. Be Real. You are not Superman.  Your staff doesn’t need a superhero.  They need a savior, but you aren’t Him.  They do need a real-life person who has bad days and struggles.  If you sin against your staff, model a repentant heart.  Apologize when you fail.  This will go farther than any great vision or strategy that you have.

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