In 1999, 400 people participated in the first worship services at Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas. From the get-go, Antioch’s workplace emphasis on Christian character, transparent relationship, and a collaborative work style generated a high level of engagement and mutual trust among the initial staff of ten. How is it that now, 14 years later, mutual trust continues to permeate and strengthen a staff of 100 despite the pressures and demands required to serve and involve a growing community of 3,000 weekend attenders?
“Worship, as a staff, is huge in our bi-monthly staff meetings,” says Executive Pastor Jeff Abshire. “When we worship together we’re praising God together, praying for each other, sharing stories of the Lord at work in our lives. And as we do this, two things become clear:
- We’re going to work a whole lot better together, if we’re unified in the Spirit. Therefore:
- If we’re all growing closer to God, and each other, we’re naturally going to trust one another more. Our staff likes working together, because they’re continually feeling built, together.”
Recognition. “HYT” (pronounced “hit”) stands for “Him, You, and Them,” Antioch’s shorthand for its three-fold goal that each member 1) grow in Christ consistently, 2) honor and nurture one’s significant relationships and 3) reach out to those who don’t yet know the Lord. Each HYT card provides room to write and affirm a particular colleague’s gifts and a specific act of service. Reading the comments aloud at staff meetings becomes a cymbal crash of affirmation and encouragement to each humbled staffer.
Says Abshire, “What we’re doing with these cards isn’t all that glamorous. It’s just simple, and it can work for any size staff or leadership team. Not only is the affirmation needed and appreciated, it’s biblical: “Encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” [1 Thessalonians 5:11].
Worship, staff involvement and recognition are just three ways Antioch Community Church is hitting home runs of employee engagement and effectiveness in its Christ-centered, affirmative-minded workplace.
Antioch trains church members to volunteer as reading mentors at a local public elementary school. Last semester, the number of mentors increased over 400%, from 25 to more than 100.