As promised, this week I'm running a series of posts on building a healthy staff culture.
Culture Builder #1 -- Stories, Spotlights & Stuff
For several years we have had a weekly ritual with our staff that has been HUGE toward keeping us focused in the same direction. Our entire team meets together every Wednesday and we spend an hour together doing three things...Stories, Spotlights and other Stuff.
Stories -- we spend the first 15-20 minutes of every gathering sharing stories. We begin the conversation by saying, "Where have you seen God at work in and through the church in the past 7 days?" And then it is an open floor. We hear about changed lives in student ministry, small groups and children's ministry. We find out about the person in Canada who wrote in after watching an online service. We hear about the experience of people who attended for the first time, and the baptism of another who has been away from church for decades.
Spotlight -- Then we spend time putting one individual in the spotlight. With no warning ahead of time, we ask someone to sit up front and field questions from the rest of the team. We find out about their childhood, likes and dislikes, spiritual journey, spouse, hobbies and history. Then we stop the questions and say, "Now let's tell [Jill] why we are so glad to have her on the team." And one after another we tell her how her life adds joy and meaning to the rest of us.
Stuff -- The final segment in our meeting is often for sharing inside information. It adds value to the team when they know stuff ahead of time. Sometimes we are talking about stuff that is coming, sometimes it is merely stuff we are thinking about and haven't decided.
These weekly gatherings keep everyone on the team energized and focused. We realize, "It's not just about me or my department, I'm part of something bigger!" Even if we are having a tough week--for a few minutes we are pulled above that and realize again why it matters.