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Developing Your Team From a Distance

By Kent Ingle | Church Leadership

In recent months, COVID-19 has turned church life upside down. Schedules have stalled, team members have worked distantly, and we have all become acquainted with a different way of doing things.

As we prepare for what may be a second wave in the fall and winter, it seems some aspects of this new normal may be with us for a while.

Unfortunately, as we have distanced ourselves, our team members have lost out on time together. If we want our staff to develop, we need to be intentional about fostering a community of faith. Just as we have found new ways to provide fellowship for our congregations, we can also be creative about cultivating the spiritual growth and unity of our teams.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.”

As we navigate this unique season, we must find ways to engage our team members, uplift them and prioritize their growth. Here are five ways to foster the spiritual growth of your team during the pandemic:

If we want to increase the spiritual health of our congregations, we can’t neglect the spiritual growth of our staff members.

1. Continue to have weekly meetings. Though the church calendar may have slowed down, the growth of your staff members shouldn’t. Continuing to meet virtually shows them not only the importance of the team, but also each of them as individuals.

2. Invest in your staff. As you work apart, consider investing in an app that can increase the internal communication of your team, such as Slack. Or take a day to buy your team lunch. If you would typically take your team members out for lunch or treat them to a meal before COVID-19, send them a restaurant gift card. Or, better yet, have lunch delivered to them.

3. Set up virtual hangouts. Schedule a weekday afternoon every few weeks to have coffee as a team, spending time together with no agenda. The disconnect in this pandemic can easily cause us to miss out on the needs of those around us — even among our team members. Continue to find intentional ways to connect with both staff and volunteers.

4. Create more time for feedback. Use this time to hear from your team members, as well as invest in them. Find time to dream and reevaluate things together. Instead of deciding further develop- ments on your own, ask for ideas. Come together to discuss everyone’s feedback and allow your team to be an integral part of moving forward.

5. Start weekly virtual prayer meetings. Establish focused times of prayer together. Virtually meet and share prayer requests, spending time praying over one another. You might even consider a time to virtually share communion together. Look for unique ways to encourage and help each person grow.

Consistent community is something many of us have naturally come to prioritize in our daily lives. But in 2020, we’ve stepped into a new normal, where fostering team growth can be a challenge.

Nevertheless, we must rise to the challenge and find ways to support the mental, spiritual and emotional growth of our church teams. If we want to increase the spiritual health of our congregations, we can’t neglect the spiritual growth of our staff members.