How to Become a Church Where People Love to Work

Posted by Aaron Buer on December 23, 2021

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “The Great Resignation.”

Record numbers of workers have quit their jobs in 2021. 

My understanding of this phenomenon is that the landscape of employer and employee relationships has fundamentally changed.

Much of this has to do with the pandemic, but a lot of it also has to do with the fact that Millennials now make up the predominant generation in the American workforce.

Millennials have different expectations than previous generations and wise leaders will take note and adapt.  

I’d like to share with you four ideas on how to retain your church staff in 2022.

More than improving retention, I think these ideas help your church become a place people love to work.

Invest in Their Future

This is a bit of a generalization, but many Boomers were happy to simply have a job, own their own home, and have some discretionary income.

Millennials want more.

And, before you roll your eyes, it’s not because they are selfish or pampered. It’s because they want to reach their potential.

I think that’s incredibly noble.  

Here’s my point: If you want a happy and engaged church staff in 2022, you need to invest in their future.

This means helping them discover their gifts, talents, and passions, and it also means providing opportunities for your team to grow.  

Another factor in the “great resignation” has been the lack of upward mobility.

People are leaving their jobs because they’ve hit the ceiling.

If you want to retain great employees, there must be opportunities for them to grow and exercise influence and leadership.  

My two favorite questions to ask an employee are, “Where do you want to be in five years? How can I help you get there?”

These questions can help you uncover how to invest in the future of your employees.

Pursue a Compelling Mission

Something else about millennials is they want their work to matter.

Here’s the great news: You’re a church! Your mission matters.

Naturally, a church has more missional draw for a Christian millennial than most other companies.

However, many churches have slipped into a mission that is very “us” focused. It’s all about getting more people in their building and into seats.  

If success in your church is defined by numbers, you might have a “mission” problem with the majority of the Christian workforce.  

A compelling mission is kingdom and gospel focused. It impacts the community around the church.

As you look to become a church that people love to work, it may be time to evaluate your church’s true mission.


If you want to retain your church staff and create a culture where people love to work, it’s important you listen.

No one wants to be a cog in the machine—especially not millennials.

They want and need to have a voice.

If they don’t feel heard and included they will likely find a place where they do.  

If you want to grow in this area, consider skip-level meetings in early 2022.

A skip-level is when a supervisor meets one-on-one with staff members two levels down from them.

The purpose of the meeting is to listen and understand what it’s like to be them.  

So, if you’re the senior pastor, this would mean meeting with the youth pastor even though the youth pastor reports to the associate pastor.

If you’re the associate pastor, this might mean meeting with the middle school coordinator who usually reports to the youth pastor.  

I would encourage you to pursue skip-level meetings 2x a year.

You’ll learn a ton and your church staff will feel valued and heard.

Empower Rest

One last suggestion.

Millennial, Gen Z, Boomer, Generation X…it doesn’t matter which generation you’re from…workers who are burned out and overworked are leaving for environments that are more sustainable and amenable to work/life balance.  

Here’s the challenge with this: We overwork ourselves.

A driven staff member, which is really what we want, is prone to overworking because they care!  

What is needed here is leadership.

You, as the leader, must model a sustainable rhythm and must empower rest.

Make sure your staff is pursuing rest. Don’t let them get away with overworking.  

If you model it and empower it, your team will thank you for your leadership.

Wrap Up

So, how are you going to retain your church staff in 2022?

I believe you can do it by investing in your staff’s future, pursuing a compelling vision, listening, and empowering rest.  

I hope this has been helpful.

We’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts on this topic as well. Please share them in the comments below.  

Topics: Advice

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