Jim and Jerolyn Bogear are trusted friends, who have planted, led, and worked with churches, and now focus on raising up healthy relationships, marriages, and teams. Check out their website! As guest writers today, their post will offer you great practical thoughts and resources! Their book, Faith Legacy for Couples, is one of those great resources.

We all understand the tension between cultivating healthy relationships and producing expected results.

These two are not mutually exclusive, but it does take great intentionality to experience great family and great work results simultaneously.

Far too often, we default to results.

Results matter. Patrick Lencioni writes about results as part of a healthy team. But these results and productivity clearly come from healthy people.

Healthy relationships need to be a priority for church staff and leaders.

Research, and our work through Legacy C3 in the local church as well as the corporate marketplace, confirm that if things are not going well at home, it clearly affects us at work.

If your marriage is straining or your kids are struggling, or crisis hits your family, it directly affects all the areas of your life. Pressures at home are not compartmentalized; they directly affect all areas of our lives. We need to care for our own relationships, and for those we lead.

Here’s a practical game plan for you:

1) Create an environment for honest conversations.

All healthy relationships, especially marriages, are based on open, honest and consistent communication. It’s amazing how much relational conflict can be resolved if people will just talk.

But as you know, that’s not always easy, especially at work. The staff is often concerned about what others might think, or how the boss might respond.

So, it’s important to create a professional environment that is a safe place for honest conversations. That means people don’t get labeled, cut off, gossiped about, or fired just because they open up about personal concerns.

2) Model the way.

As the leader, talk openly about your marriage relationship. Share the practical things you do to keep your relationship fresh, alive and healthy. Give examples of what works for you such as a weekly date night, praying together, or favorite family traditions.

Invite staff couples to your home for some hang time with you. Your time may be very limited for that, but what you can do will be worth the effort.

Talk about struggles too. Obviously, maintain an appropriate level of discretion, but be honest about the tougher times. Let your staff know how you came through those times, perhaps you and your spouse saw a counselor for a season.

The point is to make all this normal, not stuff that is part of ‘hushed hallway” conversations.

3) Coaching makes a difference.

Coaching your team helps each person establish goals, take ownership, and be held accountable. Ask the right questions to help your leaders express and put into action their goals for their life as well as their work.

Daniel Harkavy’s book, Becoming a Coaching Leader is a terrific resource to learn how to be a great coach.

Recently a senior leader reached out asking for our time to coach the marriages of his staff. This leader stated, “I need this personally and want to be a student along with my team members. I want to not only provide this for the team, but for my wife and I too.

4) Invest in your staff relationships.

Churches that experience the best and healthiest marriage relationships amongst their staff are those that invest in them.

Here are a few good examples:

  • Provide marriage counseling by paying for a set number of sessions by a professional and licensed therapist.
  • Provide childcare for a date night for your staff.
  • Organize a couple’s retreat, or provide financially for a retreat or seminar your staff can attend.
  • Bring in a counselor or expert on the subject to talk with your staff.
  • Create fun times for the family such as a Christmas party or staff picnic.

Want a healthy, thriving church? Make sure your staff’s personal relationships are healthy and thriving.