the shape of leadership

Four Reasons Your Church Staff Should Keep Office Hours

Showing up is vital for ministry

Influence Magazine on June 14, 2018

Ministry is not a 9 to 5 job. You’re at work on Sunday and Wednesday night, maybe even Saturday afternoon. You probably have either Monday or Friday off. You may never punch a time clock or have regularly scheduled lunch breaks.

There is a temptation to take advantage of such odd working hours. However, if you want excellence from your church staff, you will want them to keep regular office hours. Here are four reasons why that’s so important:

1. It Keeps Them Accountable to Their Jobs

The biggest reason to require your staff to maintain office hours is to keep them on task. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” applies here. It’s easy for people to drift from their responsibilities when there’s no one there making sure they’re doing them.

Keeping office hours also builds discipline. Knowing they need to be somewhere for a specified amount of time means your staff members will plan their day accordingly, not taking long breaks whenever they feel like it. And discipline in one area builds discipline in others.

2. It Keeps Them Connected With One Another

It’s hard to build a team and grow together when you’re seldom in the same place. Keeping office hours ensures that the whole team will be under the same roof several hours a day.

Encourage open doors and open communication.

Even your bivocational or part-time staff should keep some sort of office schedule. They may think telecommuting is easier, but being absent from one another can create distance between departments and people.

3. It Keeps Them Within Reach of Those in Need

It’s vital that people know how, when and where to reach you in times of need. That goes for the whole staff. Having set office hours means your staff members are available to minister to the needs in your church.

In multi-staff settings, it may be beneficial to have a pastor on call during certain days. This person is available for hospital calls or to pray with someone who drops in. You can easily make this part of the regular office hours.

4. It Keeps Them Headed in the Same Direction

Every organization will experience mission creep. To avoid prolonged bouts, keep everyone on the same page. That requires everyone being in the same space.

Use office hours wisely. Encourage open doors and open communication. As the senior pastor, take time to walk around and engage staff about an upcoming event or the overall direction of the church. That way, you have a chance to steer the vision daily.

How you determine and keep office hours will depend on the size of your staff, the makeup of your facility, and the culture you’re building. It’s OK to have flexible schedules. But never showing up is not OK. As a senior pastor or staff member, lead through example by making and faithfully keeping office hours.


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