This fall will mark 17 years for me on the 12Stone staff team. I’m blessed! Our team is a God-gathered group of many of the best people I’ve ever known or served with. They are smart, gifted and fun!

We had 35 services for Easter this year. My top highlight was the hundreds that said yes to Jesus!

But my second highlight was noticing three telltale signs about our staff that stood out as I drove to our different campuses. These three indicators struck me as noteworthy hallmarks of a healthy team.

(These three are not a comprehensive list. I would add others like honesty and trust. But these three stand out, and are easy to assess.)

The common theme of all three is that they are all elements of the heart. Yes, other factors like clear strategy, alignment and performance are incredibly important. But without this common heart-level bond, that priceless team health we all want may elude you.

Three Sure Signs of a Healthy Staff:

1) There is a lot of laughter.

Our team loves to laugh. We’re not a thin-skinned group that wears emotions on our sleeves, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

That’s important for team health. If you have staff who are overly sensitive, sometimes requiring that you walk on eggshells, that never helps a team flourish. In fact, it will hold you back.

A good sense of humor is necessary to team health.

Play and laughter is a great way to let off steam, be real, and get to know each other better. It’s part of how a heart level bond of trust and intimacy is formed in a healthy team.

Our team loves to hang together. I was at several services long past the time the service was over. Most of the ministry was done. The staff was still together, laughing and simply enjoying being together. You just can’t overestimate the value of that.

Does your team love to laugh and play together?

2) There are enough tears.

Easter always brings new life. The truth and power of Jesus’ resurrection is the cornerstone of our faith, and we get to invite people to receive eternal life! The gospel is positive, powerful, and life-giving.

I love how our team sheds tears as people walked across the stage indicating their new faith in Jesus.

Not all personalities are the same of course; some show emotion more than others. It’s not about a contest for tears. But the heart always reveals itself in some way, and the 12Stone staff are deeply moved by life change. Salvation is never business as usual.

Last week at one of our staff leadership development times we prayed over a greatly loved staff member of eight years, Stephen, who felt called to take his next step. God called him to another church for a cool and exciting opportunity. Kevin, his long-term friend, and supervisor prayed for him. I couldn’t help but to noticed tears in Kevin’s eyes as we close the time of prayer.

When your staff loves Jesus and loves each other in such a way that causes tears to flow, that’s a sure sign of great team health.

What does your team shed tears over?

3) There is great anticipation.

It’s springtime in Atlanta, the leaves are coming out, and the blossoms are beautiful.

Coming out of winter, spring often brings a lift in people’s spirits. But springtime alone isn’t enough to infuse the anticipation of progress and God’s favor within your church staff. That must be authentically inside them as leaders.

The sense of anticipation amongst our team is palpable. The team is committed, working hard, and fired up about what God will do.

As leaders, you and your team can’t predict tomorrow, but it’s easy to see if your team believes in your vision and a bright future.

You get up every day to make progress, solve problems, and help people; and that’s not always easy. But hopefully, you anticipate seeing God’s hand move, lives change, and the purpose of your church being fulfilled.

That sincere anticipation within your staff is contagious among your volunteers and congregation. Anticipation is a form of faith-based vision casting. It’s a natural way that inspires and draws people into what God is doing!

Can you sense your team’s level of anticipation?


Thanks for letting me brag on our staff for a minute, but more importantly, I hope these three signs of a healthy team help you do a quick check of how your team is doing. Perhaps what to be grateful for or what to work on.