If Your Staff Has Questions, Demand Options

Assembling and getting the most out of your staff is one of the toughest things that a pastor deals with in leading a growing church. On top of all that has to be done from week to week, staff communication can quickly become overwhelming.

In one of my recent coaching networks, someone asked this question: “How do you deal with all the questions that staff members bring you?”

What a great question – and one that many of us don’t think to ask. I wanted to take just a moment to share a principle on this topic.

Here’s the quick hit (in case you’re running late for an appointment):

If Your Staff Has Questions, Demand Options

What I mean is that, as a leader, you should never respond to a question from a staff member (in person, by phone or email) unless they first give you two or three suggested answers.


1) Because they know better than you. The fact that they are asking tells you that they have already spent more time thinking about it than you have.

This is essential, because it only gets more true the larger your church grows. When The Journey was just getting started, I knew everything that happened in every area. Not so these days.

Let the staff member share their thoughts on the question, then you can help them build on those thoughts.

2) Your staff needs to learn to think for themselves. In leadership development, it’s vital that you are being intentional about helping your staff learn to think.

If they can just run to you and let you fix it every time they run into a problem, how are you helping them grow?

Use your staff’s questions to teach them to think.

3) Perhaps the most important reason for implementing this principle is that you get better answers when you have multiple people thinking about the solution. It’s the old “two heads are better than one” idiom.

All of us are smarter than any of us.

I hope that’s helpful!

P.S. To learn six secret skills every leader can develop, check out Leadership Skills for a Growing Church

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 85 church growth resources and 17+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

Nelson SearcyLeadership

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