Or Just be random and chaoitc

I just learned the other day that one of the team members at one of my former churches took a break from the team and never came back. She’s at another church now.


I was so sad to hear that. And even though I’m sure there were other reasons, I couldn’t help but think that if we had only had a better system, she wouldn’t have burned out. She was always cheerful to serve, did a great job, and volunteered to help if no one else was available. Yet, I knew inside that it stressed her to serve and that I wanted to care for her.

I just didn’t have any accountability or intentionality in the way that I scheduled to make sure my people were serving at a livable pace for the long term.

But I do remember serving somewhere that had great systems. It was 2008 and I look back on it with fondness, really: my thirteen months as a shift supervisor at Starbucks #13636, or as my friend Jeremy calls it “The Mermaid.”

I’d most often ride my bicycle to work at 5:15 AM and wait for Liz, Chris, or another partner (aka “Starbucks employee”) to show up. We had to open the store at 6:00, so we’d hustle for those 30 minutes getting the coffee on, the pastries unwrapped, and counting in all the cash registers.

I’d go throughout my shift bantering with partners, serving customers, and complaining about how last night’s partners didn’t do this or that very well.

There were lots of great systems and tools that our employer had created for us. They literally have thought of everything and addressed it. One such system was the Daily Coverage Report.

I know, it sounds earth-shattering.

Ok, it sounds mind-numbing. But stick with me for a sec.

The DCR (as we called it) had lots of helpful info on it:

  1. Who was working that day
  2. What time they start
  3. What time their lunch or 10-minute break was
  4. How many partners were scheduled per each half hour, including if we were over/under-staffed
  5. How many hours each partner was scheduled for that week


As partners, we often used it to see who we should text if they hadn’t showed up yet, or we’d fight about how so-and-so (Becky!) was scheduled for more hours than we were.

As supervisors and managers, this was not only a clear communication tool, it gave us details about how efficiently we were running the store. It allowed us to send someone home early if it was slow and they wanted to go anyway.

But this isn’t about Starbucks, though. It’s about you and how you lead your worship ministry.

The reality is that our most valuable resource is our team, our people.

Do you know the condition of your flock? (Proverbs 27:23) Do you have any system that helps minimize burnout from overuse or disengagement from under-use? Can you see a report that shows you how this may be happening?

You might be advanced Planning Center users, able to whip out a scheduling report at a moment’s notice. Or you may have 5 people on your team who serve every week.

The thing is this: you may have scheduled a perfect month, but have you scheduled livable years? In other words, we can all withstand a typical “Christmas Eve month” schedule, but can we do 12 or 36 of those in a row?

So, a simple question: What would it look like if you had a DCR for your team? How can you implement accountability an intentionality into your scheduling so that your team is healthy and cared for?

- Dave
ps. Now once again as simply a fan of Starbucks, I wrote this with a Pike Place pour-over at my preferred store at the Paseo de las Flores. :) 

pps. Don't forget to register for the upcoming Drums and Sound Clinic on February 6 and 8!