A Solution for Your Staff Development Excuses

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED:  Congrats to Patricia who was the winner!


The day in and day out of a leader’s life can become a bit monotonous.  The routine of the weekly meeting schedule can leave you a bit deprived of inspiration and ideas to move your team forward.  The urgency of pending projects and Sunday programming squeeze out moments for dreaming and planning.

Can you relate?

Overcoming this resistance is a leader’s great challenge.  Adding time for planning and dreaming seems like a pipe dream.  Other teams with more time, more staff, more resources have the luxury of staff trips with guest speakers.  You hope someday you’ll get to that place too.

I’ve wrestled with all those things too.  Here are three excuses that I’ve allowed myself to believe over the years:

1)   We don’t have the time.  There’s never a good time.  Seriously.  No matter how far in advance I plan and strategically arrange the calendar, it never fails that staff development always lands at a terrible time.  Do it anyway.

2)   We don’t have the money.  And there will never be enough.  In fact, I actually have fewer dollars per person to spend on staff training and development than I did five years ago when the staff was 75% smaller.  Ministry dollars are lean.  Get creative.  It doesn’t have to be expensive to be fun and meaningful.

3)   I have to do it all myself.  For years I naively and rather pompously believed that I had to create all the content myself.  We already discussed how we don’t have time, so don’t add extra pressure for yourself.  Involve others in the planning and use tools that already exist.

This week the WCA Leadership Summit Team Edition releases and it’s one of my favorite tools to solve at least two of my three excuses.  It’s an inexpensive way to take great content (that you didn’t have to create) to inspire and motivate your team.

Share with us a creative way that you do staff development.

The WCA team have kindly given me a copy of the 2012 Team Edition to give away, so share creative ideas and I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday, 10/26.

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  • Brian Mayfield October 23, 2012  

    We recently took our staff (9 people) away for a 36-hour retreat. We rented a lake house about an hour away, took time to talk through the DISC profile – how each of our personalities are crucial in creating the unique team God desires us to be – how to better communicate with each other – and how it can impact us to be better leaders in our different areas. The best part was playing the game “Imaginiff…” that night. TONS of laughs! And we came home with all kinds of stories. 

    *We spent less than $800 for the whole event. SO worth the time & money!

    • Jenni Catron October 24, 2012  

      That’s awesome, Brian. We used to do a lot of events like that when our staff was your size. Some of my favorite memories!

  • Patricia October 23, 2012  

    In hawaii… conferences and seminars are limited because we all live in an island… ita rare that we have guest pastors and preachers come to “visit” and empower leaders unless its a big conference… so what we do here is visit other churches and see what they are doing “right” so we can learn and implement what we saw. Also we do some kind of partnership with other pastors and churches to help teach each other “tools of the trade” in ministry and in empowering their leaders.

    • Jenni Catron October 24, 2012  

      Visiting other churches is such a great way to learn. Thanks Patricia!

    • Jenni Catron October 28, 2012  

      Congrats, Patricia. You were the winner! (I use random.org to auto-generate the winner)

  • Blane Young October 23, 2012  

    For the creative team that I lead, we have started doing two things that have helped in the area of leadership development and creative inspiration. The first is that we open every meeting with someone on the team presenting an inspirational opener (short film, poem, etc.) and then that person facilitates a discussion. We allot 15-20 minutes for that. The second thing happens at the end of the meeting and we call it “Link Love” and everyone brings a link of fun, creativity or inspiration and shares it. They then talk about it for less than a minute but it is always funny and refreshing. 

    • Jenni Catron October 24, 2012  

      Great ideas, Blane! Thank you for sharing.

  • Jason Stonehouse October 24, 2012  

    We are planning a game of broom ball for team building followed up by a lunch/planning meeting
    Another thing I do is assign different books to each staff member for their Summer reading then each staff meeting in the fall one staff member teaches us one principle or thought from their book that would be helpful for our team – so each week we have a different 15 min “leadership lesson” from a staff member

    Would REALLY like that DVD set can’t afford it this year – would be beneficial not just for staff but our elders as well!!!

    • Jenni Catron October 24, 2012  

      Jason, I love the summer reading idea! I might steal that 🙂

      Btw, we’ve also used the Summit DVDs for Elders too.

  • Corina Burgess October 25, 2012  

    As a staff, we will read a book, article, watch conference DVDs or listen to a podcast together and discuss points that impacted us. It gives me as a leader an opportunity to hear & learn from others but also to gauge what is impacting our staff individually. Livestream conferences are a great tool to resource staffs with. This year, we gathered together to watch Steven Furticks Code Orange Conference. Being in the middle of a huge building project, our fight is to stay passionate about developing our team with limited resources.