Posted by Aaron Buer on October 21, 2021

For those of us who are in church ministry, we’ve just finished pouring ourselves into launching our fall ministries.

They’re now up and running, and if you’re like me, not as many people are coming as you had hoped.

Add to this the ongoing COVID pandemic and restrictions, church staff and volunteers are feeling weary.

Also, is it me or does it seem like a lot of people are struggling personally? Anxiety. Marriages. Depression.

Life truly feels tough right now.  

Let’s put it this way: Morale is low.  

So, for those of us who lead others, how do we raise morale? How do we encourage the discouraged?

This is important if we’re going to continue bringing our best to the people we lead and serve.  

I have five practical ideas to share on how to boost the morale of your church staff or volunteer team over the coming weeks.

1. Tell Stories

Good things are happening through the ministry of your church.

How do I know this? Because you are a church!

The question is, do your staff and volunteers know about the good things happening?   

Perhaps, one of the most strategic things you can pursue over the next few weeks is to collect stories of ministry impact and share those stories.

People need to be reminded that what they do matters.

You can help with this by becoming a storyteller for your team.

2. Be a CEO

I read a book once about a CEO who referred to himself as a Chief Encouraging Officer.

He made encouraging the people under his leadership a serious priority.

Every day he wrote two encouraging notes to people within his organization.  

My senior pastor keeps a journal. The purpose of this journal is to record the encouraging notes he sends to pastors in our area.

Each Monday he sends a text, an email, or calls an area pastor to encourage them.

What if you did something like that for the people in your life?  

If you’re a leader, your words carry weight.

Especially for those of you who are senior leaders, how valuable would it be to focus on specific words of encouragement during this season?

I believe encouragement is key to boosting the morale of a weary team.

3. Do Something Fun

When’s the last time you did something fun with your church volunteer or staff team?

No purpose other than having a good time together.

When battling ministry fatigue, fun can provide a needed morale boost.  

And, it doesn’t have to be a big thing.

In my first staff role at a church, I worked for a guy who invited people over each week to play croquet in his yard.

We would play and eat lunch together. It might sound weird but it was a riot.  

My friend Phil, who I work with now, hosts bonfires in his backyard every few months.

The conversation is fantastic, especially after the stars come out.

You can feel the wind return to the sails of those who participate in those bonfires.  

When’s the last time you had a staff retreat where you cooked together and played board games?

When’s the last time your team played in a golf scramble or hiked together? 

This might sound like a waste of time and money but I’m telling you, having fun together is huge when it comes to raising the morale of a team.

4. Encourage and Model Rest

Personally, I feel most discouraged when I’m tired.

If I’m skipping sabbaths or neglecting PTO, I run out of gas and get very discouraged.  

Adequate rest is encouraging!

The question is, are the people you lead resting? Are you helping them schedule this? Are you holding them to it?  

Perhaps more importantly, are you modeling rest?

You can tell people you lead that they need to take a week off, but if you haven’t taken a week off in six months, you are sending a double message.

What you do is far more impactful than what you say.

By neglecting rest yourself, you’re telling your team, “If you’re really committed, you’ll keep grinding away.”

I’ll just call it out…that’s unhealthy leadership.

You need rest and your team needs you to rest.

It ensures you’re operating at your best and provides them the permission to rest themselves.

5.  Food Helps

When I find out there is free lunch and it’s Chipotle, I’m ecstatic.

When I see somebody bringing a travel box of Starbucks coffee into the office, my day just got better.

When my boss says, “Hey, for our one-on-one this week, I’d like to buy you lunch,” I’m over the moon.

Food helps…a lot!

If you want to boost the morale of your team, don’t underestimate the power of donuts.

Wrap Up

You are helping to lead the Church. This is important and meaningful work.

What can you do this week to encourage the discouraged?

What can you do this week to boost the morale of your team as they continue to serve and lead others?

I hope these five ideas will help.

If you have other ideas you’ve found to be helpful, please share them in the comments.

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