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I had my favorite staff meeting this week. My pastor took us to a 10 AM showing of “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” followed by lunch. The catch? There was none—he just wanted us to have fun and enjoy being together.

Two weeks ago my pastor passed around a hat filled with slips of paper, each requiring us to share something or do something—of varying degrees of embarrassment. There was plenty of nervous excitement in the room as the hat passed from person to person. A few examples: I was required to sing a song; Josh shared his testimony; Ben shared a childhood memory.

Three weeks ago, my pastor taught a lesson on leadership—a requirement for his DMin program—and a great chance to hear him share from his experiences.

Four weeks ago (yes, my pastor is on quite a roll), he challenged us to memorize Ephesians chapters 1,2, and 3 as a team. So we now begin each meeting by reviewing our progress and sharing what word or phrase or theological truth was meaningful for the week.

And five weeks ago, when the recent buzz about staff meeting began, he had us pair up with the person we thought we knew the least and share a meaningful spiritual experience in our lives and one specific prayer request. It was a terrific time to build relationships and unite the team.

I admit that I’m spoiled. Not only do I have a pastor who works hard at developing community amongst his team, but he also supports the youth ministry. And while I hope you can say the same about your pastor, one thing we all share in common is that we have the responsibility to make a difference with our own teams, whether it’s paid staff, volunteer staff, or student leaders. Each of us will (or should) have a meeting sometime in the near future. Will it be a meeting our team looks forward to, or will there be a sudden rise in root canal appointments during our scheduled meeting times?

I tell my leaders, “I want you to serve with us because you feel called by God. But I want you to stay with us because you feel part of a family.” Well, creating a family doesn’t just happen—like any relationship it takes lots of work.

Here’s what I’ve learned from my pastor the last couple of months:
Relax
It’s important to work hard and use our time wisely, but sometimes the best use of our time is to laugh or learn about one another.

Reflect
Do you know how others on your team are doing spiritually? Does anyone know how you’re doing? (Do you know?) Another example of a memorable staff meeting was when our pastor had us meet at a church member’s home that is spectacular: it’s filled with art and breathtaking views. We gathered around a fire, amidst a healthy food tray, and worshipped, prayed, and sat in silence. It was powerful. When was the last time you threw away your “Top Tips for Teaching” sheet and cried out to God as a team?

Refresh
What can you do in the next three months that will encourage and excite your team? It doesn’t have to be extravagant. But what can you do to remind them of their value in Christ and importance on your team?

Refuel
I’m loving the Bible memorization challenge, but it’s not easy. I’m only up to verse ten of chapter one, so the task before me feels enormous. But the discipline has refueled my spiritual life and I like the fact that we’re doing it together–succeeding and stumbling together.

I know at some point our team will actually have to focus on important church issues or strategic planning. But when we do, we will be able to attack the issues with much more vigor than we would have three months ago. Staff meetings are now something I look forward to, and that’s a first.

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