General CBF

The Elements of a Good Staff Covenant

A hallmark of Hardy Clemon’s pastoral leadership was his role as team leader.  As a firm believer that “no matter the size of the congregation, it takes more than one person to pastor it,” Hardy developed a sense of team ministry in each church he served.  He recognized early on that the more a staff and church operated as a team, the more it would accomplish.  As pastor, he was intentional as team leader.  Opposed to the totem-pole structure of leadership, Hardy used the visual image of a circle to symbolize the workings of the staff.  Each person’s name went in the circle with the pastor’s name at the top of the circle slightly elevated to demonstrate that as an organization, there was a person to whom the rest of the circle was ultimately accountable.  Otherwise, the circle demonstrated the connectedness of the whole staff and the importance of each part.  The ministerial staff developed detailed written covenants with one another and God.  With the addition of each new staff member, the covenant would be revised.  He also made sure staff members received the same level of care from the congregation as did the pastor.

What is the graphic configuration of your staff team?  What positive outcomes would be derived from a circle description of your staff relationships?

What are the elements of a good staff covenant?  What convenants has your congregation made with your minister(s)?

Steve Graham

A recent publication by the CBF Initiative for Ministerial Excellence, Well-Being and Excellence in Ministry—A Practical Resource for Ministers and Caring Congregations encourages ministers and congregational leaders to consider what good conversations they might share as they create their life together.  Download the resource and get more information at

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