40+ Best Christian Workplaces in America for 2013

Worker at Job

The Best Christian Workplaces Institute recently released their 2013 list of the best Christian workplaces in America. Is your favorite Christian ministry or organization on the list?

Churches and other Christian ministries and organizations ought to be among the best places to work in service to God and others, right? Right!

Except that some, sadly, are not.

I’ve worked in the church and nonprofit ministry world for over 20 years. From my personal experience, and that of friends who’ve worked for other churches and ministries, I’ve observed first-hand that some Christian organizations are absolutely great places to work, while others stink. Some give life, and the workers leave the office most every day with a feeling of satisfaction and joy, and others suck the life right out of everybody who works there.

What makes the difference? As John Maxwell says, everything rises and falls on leadership.

Because while an organization may have a worthy Christian purpose or mission to it, that doesn’t automatically guarantee that its leaders are good at creating an environment or culture where it’s fun to come to work everyday, where employees and volunteers truly feel valued and appreciated, and where they can see results and know that their job makes a real difference in the lives of others for the cause of Christ.

I don’t believe that pastors or ministry leaders set out to be bad bosses. It’s just that some haven’t been trained – or taken the time to learn – how to equip and empower others for success, how to genuinely show appreciation to others, and how to use people without using people.

What I mean is that some leaders are great at recruiting and hiring staff and volunteers but not so great and setting them up for success, creating healthy boundaries for them, providing the training and tools they need to do their job, showing genuine appreciation, gaining feedback, and making changes as needed in response to suggestions.

The founders of Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI) observed these problems, and in 2002 set out on a mission to help Christian employers be the best, most effective places to work in the world. It helps faith-based organizations by creating processes of discovery, facilitating organizational effectiveness, and encouraging practices that build healthy workplaces with a Christian mission or values.

Hundreds of Christian organizations in the U.S., Canada, and Australia have worked with BCWI to become certified as “Best Christian Workplaces.”

To gain that certification, each organization’s employees must answer more than 50 questions measuring employee satisfaction in terms of organizational commitment, Christian witness, supervisory effectiveness, opportunities for personal growth and development, customer/supporter satisfaction, teamwork, communication, and fairness of pay and benefits.

2013 List of the Best Christian Workplaces in America

Each year, BCWI releases reports of the Best Christian Workplaces in the U.S. and Canada. The lists include the top Christian camps, colleges and universities, churches, parachurch and mission organizations, and service providers, based on surveys of employees that rated how well these companies and organizations nurtured and cared for their employees. Here is the 2013 list of the Best Christian Workplaces in the U.S.

Camps & Conference Centers

Christian Schools


Higher Education


Parachurch & Missions

Products & Services

Click here for the list of Best Christian Workplaces in Canada and Best Christian Workplaces in Australia.

Help Your Church or Ministry Become a Great Christian Workplace

If you’re a church or ministry staff person, member, donor or supporter, I’d encourage you to visit the Best Christian Workplaces Institute website to learn about the resources and services they provide, to help your organization become an even better place to work.

And check out Patricia Lotich’s books, Smart Church Management and Smart Volunteer Management for lots of helpful tips and suggestions on how ministry leaders can equip their employees and volunteers for success in doing the ministry God has called them to do.

Are you a church or ministry staff person or volunteer? How well does your organization do at creating a healthy workplace environment? Leave a comment!

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  1. Joolie

    It was kind of cool to click on the BCM link and have a video pop up of how my church, Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, IL, improved their staff culture and became certified in 2012.
    Bill Hybels is known as an instense, hard-working individual; I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to change, but it’s evident he and his senior leaders have, as they appear to place more trust in the hands of others.
    There’s a difference around church from this improvement too – when staff are happy it shows. We experienced quite a bit of turnover in years prior and now there seems to be some stability and the church as a whole is experiencing something of a revival. It’s a great place to be these days (and I’m not an employee of Willow).

  2. Rich Avery

    Joolie, I remember hearing Bill Hybels speak a few years ago, during the Global Leadership Summit, about the difference that the Best Christian Workplaces Institute program made in his leadership at Willow. Thanks for sharing your comment and experience!

  3. Al Lopus

    Great post Rich. I believe that healthy ministries are fruitful. I couldn’t agree more with Joolie’s comments above. When a staff culture is flourishing, so does the ministry. Willow is a great example.

    • Rich Avery

      Al, yes, great points re: health = fruitfulness. Thanks!

  4. Marilyn White

    My husband and I have volunteered at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center, Leesburg, FL the past three winters and I nominate them for #41 on your list. Everything that is done here is evaluated on how it will impact the implimentation of the Gospel message. The employees are treated as valued members of the leadership team and the volunteers are respected and appreciated. Please consider including Lake Yale in your Camps and Conference Centers list.

    Thank you.
    Marilyn White

    • Rich Avery

      Marilyn, I’m so glad to hear your report about Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center! In this post here, I’m sharing the list that was compiled by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute. So if Lake Yale wants to be included, they’ll need to contact that Institute. But maybe you’re on to a good idea here…maybe we should run a poll or contest and ask people to nominate a ministry just like you did here. Thanks for the idea!!!

  5. Marilyn White

    You are welcome. With budgets being so deeply cut, I know there are many ministries that couldn’t keep their doors open without their volunteers.