7 Ways to Motivate Parish Staff

Looking for ways to keep your parish staff inspired and eager to spread the Gospel? Recognizing individual value is a great place to start, but truly motivating a group of parish employees and volunteers can be more involved than anniversary dinners and thank you notes.

Today’s parish staff is often a mix of generations, and your challenge is to inspire them to work well together. While that may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Creating clear goals, understanding how each person contributes towards them, and providing the right tools for the job can help each staff member achieve satisfaction and look forward to work.

ParishSOFT has been working in ministry for over two decades, so we thought we’d help you out (from experience) by creating a list of seven ways to motivate parish staff. We came up with seven that we think work really well. Go ahead, get inspired.

1. Encourage Staff to use their Spiritual Gifts

Everyone has unique strengths they can contribute to your overall goals. Budget time for making sure your staff members understand and are able to use their talents. For example, if one of your staff members has the gift of serving and ministering, ask them to find specific nonprofits your parish could send volunteers to assist. If another staff member is a gifted leader, put them in charge of a new leadership project. By understanding everyone’s gifts, you’ll be able to see a better picture of how the body of Christ works and discover what it’s like to work with people who know they are valued.

2. Preach Purpose to Motivate Staff

Take the concept of discovering and using spiritual gifts a few steps further. Show each staff member the value of their work. Involve your staff when you are making decisions, such as which local nonprofit your parish can help sponsor. Get their feedback and buy-in. Creating these connections instills a sense of purpose, so church staff members can not only feel valued but they also clearly understand and are emotionally committed to projects.

3. Cultivate Culture to Motivate Your Staff

Host fun staff events. Provide flexible hours. Ditch the formal wear and create a laid-back environment. Ironically, if you work hard to cultivate a culture that is attractive to a younger generation, even when it seems opposite of what you should be doing, they will be all-in when it comes to working extra hours when needed and putting in extra effort to make things run successfully. If you show employees and volunteers you care, they will show you they care too.

4. Encourage Big Ideas

Some people are visionary, and more than likely you have some of these people on your parish staff. Creating regular opportunities for people to share their thoughts about the direction of your parish may open you up to valuable insights you might not have had otherwise.

5. Build Up Your Team

Team building is critical for any group of people working together and could be one of the most important pieces to motivating your parish staff. Rather than use traditional methods of hosting a staff pot-luck to bring people together, try thinking outside the box. The best team-building experiences are those that make your parish staff forget they are at work.

Happiness and learning are very closely tied together, so by providing an opportunity for your church staff to have fun, they will begin to learn from each other and trust each other more. The more your team trusts each other, the stronger their bonds will be. The stronger their bonds, the more committed and motivated your church staff will be to accomplish daily tasks.

6. Use Technology to Motivate Staff

If a parish doesn’t have good quality technology, studies have shown that younger generations are more likely to leave to go work somewhere that is more up-to-date. Find solutions that integrate (work together) well and make the administrative work of ministry easy to perform and understand. Be sure to show staff members how church management software can be used to bring more people to Christ and help them grow in faith.

It’s not about attendance numbers and group messaging, it’s about connecting people with opportunities to learn and grow. The data they’re collecting has an essential purpose. Make sure to emphasize those connections and provide tools that streamline processes and can propel your church to reach more people in a more intentional way.

7. Consider Providing Remote Working Opportunities

We know, we know. While some companies use this to attract and motivate staff it’s not typically a parish staff option. But, really, why not? By allowing staff to work from home (even if they need to physically come in on occasion) you provide them not only with an opportunity to work in their comfy clothes but you also show them that you trust their work ethic and value them as a human being.

If this seems overwhelming to you, take a deep breath. There are ways to make work-from-home opportunities easier.

What To Do

  • Schedule a check-in phone call or text around mid-morning to make sure they have everything they need. Make sure to keep it simple and supportive, not demeaning and distrusting.
  • Using an efficient church management software like our web-based ParishSOFT Family Suite, keeps everything flowing smoothly. It allows all tasks to be easily assigned so your church staff can update their to-do list and you can stay in-the-know about their productivity.

What Not To Do

  • Schedule a long meeting during the day so you can make sure they are working. Give them space to go at their own pace. You’ll be surprised how much work people can get done when you simply allow breathing room.
  • Constantly check up on them through text messages, emails, phone calls, and the occasional undercover detective you hired to make sure they are staying on task. Trust your church staff to do what they say they will do.

Next Steps

If you find that you need to motivate your parish staff more than you realized, don’t stress. We’re here to help make sure you have all the strategies you need to be successful. ParishSOFT staff over the years have been pastors, elders, children’s ministers, youth workers, and volunteers, and we get it. We understand that ministry is about reaching people and helping them grow. That’s why every software decision we make – from calendars and workflows to group management and mass communication, and everything in between – is intended to help your parish staff focus on ministry. We’d love to talk to you about how we can help. Contact us online anytime and let us know how we can assist your parish.

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