5 Ways to Help Your Church Staff Flourish

Flourish might be an unfamiliar word. 

But when it comes to psychology, it’s a common term to bring definition to the well-being of a person.

In 2017, Harvard published a perspective piece on what is referred to in social psychology as “human flourishing.” 

Flourishing moves beyond a state of happiness and your feelings about your life, and looks deeper into the roots of a healthy and fruitful life.

Webster defines “flourish” as 

A: to achieve success: prosper

b: to be in a state of activity or production

c: to reach a height of development or influence 

How do you know a person is flourishing? What factors play into it?

The perspective piece found that there were 5 Prominent Pathways of Human Flourishing:

#1 – Faith

Likely, your team is flourishing in their faith. Our faith is a firm foundation in difficult times, and no one can argue that the past couple of years have had their fair share of difficulty.

If your team is struggling with Faith, they are likely working through deep theological questions and considering their belief system. We are well into a post-Christian culture, and opposing views and deconstruction are rapidly gaining popularity.

Ask your team: 

  • Do you believe the Bible has authority over what you say and do?
  • How often are you using or interacting with scripture?
  • How often do you have a meaningful time in prayer with God?

#2 – Relationships

If your team is struggling with relationships, they may feel lonely, discontent with the connections they have or frustrated with a change of activities available to them. 

There are many aspects to a struggle with relationships. It could be wrestling with their marriage, singleness, people may have lost friends/family members to political divides, or general family issues have grown or showed themselves were previously hidden.

“From April to September 2020, among people who screened with moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety or depression, 70 percent reported that one of the top three things contributing to their mental health concerns was loneliness or isolation.

While connections at work are helpful, it’s often the connections outside of work that are the most impactful. Consider creating some space for your team to connect with their family and friends. If you have married staff members, you could hold or send them to marriage “retreats”. Consider how you are supporting your staff members who are single.

Ask your team:

  • Are you content in your friendships and relationships?
  • Are your current relationships at a healthy place?

#3 – Vocation

The average tenure for a pastor is on average, 3.6 to 6 years. And that was in 2018. Recent years have certainly created a strain on pastors and church staff in particular. It’s no wonder that your staff may be feeling the weight, more than ever, of their role and question its sustainability.

If your team is struggling with their vocation, perhaps it isn’t “what they thought it would be” or it’s taken an unhealthy toll on their lives and their families. 

If this is an area that your staff is struggling with, likely they are:

  1. Feeling their work isn’t having the effect they thought it would
  2. Wondering if working in ministry is the right place for them

Ask your team:

  • Do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?
  • Are you able to separate your work from your home? If not, how can I help make that line more clear?
  • What part of your job is the most exciting?
  • What part of your job is the most difficult? 

#4 – Finances

When we’re stressed and stuck with our finances, it affects every area of our lives. While it would be nice to just throw a pile of money at someone who is wrestling with finances, that’s usually not an option (nor is it what will truly help them in most scenarios). 

As finances are intensely personal, it can be a sensitive conversation. Consider offering a financial planner as an employee benefit (you may find someone willing to volunteer certain services). You can also point them to free resources like a podcast or a website to help them manage their money and plan for their future.

Ask your team:

  • How often do you worry about meeting your monthly living expenses?
  • Do you feel confident in your financial habits and planning?

#5 – Health

If your team is struggling with health, it could be physical or mental. While physical health can often be easier to spot, mental health is more easily concealed. The year 2020 saw a 93% increase in anxiety screenings and a 60% increase in depression screenings

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds. It’s vital that our team is flourishing both physically and mentally. 

When talking to your team about health, aim for non-judgemental questions and more than anything, listen. 

Ask your team:

  • How would you rate your overall physical health?
  • How would you rate your overall mental health?
  • How are you sleeping?
  • How can I help?

Take the Next Step

Leading people is one of the most difficult tasks of pastoral leadership.

In our free guide, The Senior Pastor’s Guide to Leading Staff, you'll learn how to clarify the roles and goals of those that you lead, get tips for leading more effective, productive meetings, and work on becoming a better leader yourself so you can lead others at a higher level.