Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Church At Play

I really wanted to address two separate but related issues: church staff and the church itself.

What I mean by "at play" is very simple - how do church staff (and members) do fun things together on company time. Here's why: years ago I had a boss who said that the only time he gets worried about his staff is when he did not hear laughter in the halls of the church office. Laughter is an indication that the staff is having fun together and not taking life too seriously. If you don't hear laughter, you're going to hear gossip. Laughter is much better.

Most church staffs do church together. Nothing else. That is not healthy - they need intentional times when the church approves (and funds) the staff going out on the company clock to do something memorable together: bowling, watching a movie, painting pottery, playing golf (if you like chasing a little white ball) or frisbee golf, playing softball or flag football, going fishing or sailing, etc. You get the idea. Do something that does not involve church. That will the staff something to talk about for months (years?) to come that does not involve "talking shop." Give your staff something else to remember - not just last week's worship and Bible study. After all, church is very stressful - giving your staff permission to play will reduce the stress and give them good memories and a pleasant shared experience. You'll never regret it.

That leads to the church at play. I know a couple of churches that intentionally shut down their doors on Sundays for the entire church to go on a retreat over Labor Day or Easter. It's the same principle as above - give the church members something to remember, an experience to share that is out of the ordinary. Going through seminary I worked for a large hospital company - 7000 employees. Each year during the state fair, the company rented a large tent, provided free food (served by top management), and gave away free admission tickets to the state fair to all employees and their families. Many churches do a picnic once a year and that is very healthy.

Most churches know that fellowship is a key component of a healthy church. Most churches view fellowship as punch and cookies after a Sunday music function or the Wednesday supper. Sorry to burst your bubble, that is not fellowship - that is a church program (church programs are quickly becoming a "four-letter word" to me - more in another post). The best fellowship invovles getting away from the church buildings - do something out of the ordinary and out of the four walls of your church. Get out, go away, make memories, take pictures, and have FUN!

Lead On!

1 comment:

  1. I have worked at churches that have given the staff the ability to play together and churches where "the board" has frowned on such things. The churches where play was encouraged had tighter staff teams that were able to accomplish far more together than the ones that occasionally had birthday lunch together. If we are calling the body to do life together, the church staff needs to be able to model doing life together...