Your church is, above all, a ministry. However, your church is also an organization, and like an organization, you have to focus on church staffing for growth to meet your congregation’s needs.
At Center for Healthy Churches (CHC), we encourage you to staff in such a way that you are able to implement the clearly defined mission and vision of your church.
Church Staffing for Growth the Right Way
Remember Why You Are Hiring Church Staff
Churches have many departments or teams. Depending on the size of your congregation, you might have a team for children, worship, and finance. Some churches even have a team for specialized areas, such as married couples or young adults. A diverse congregation needs a diverse team to meet its needs.
When you are hiring church staff, make sure you remember exactly what you are staffing for. Sure, you are looking for workers. You are looking to assign responsibility and to see a person performing well. However, you are also staffing spiritual leaders: spiritual role models who act as a support system that helps nurture and grow the body of Christ.
This means your staff needs to build one-on-one relationships with those inside and outside of the congregation. Anyone can read or watch online the things you and others teach every week. Information is more accessible now than ever, and personal relationships — not just the act of spreading the gospel — must define your staff’s strategy for growth.
Ensure New Hires Believe in Your Vision
When you are church staffing for growth, you are also staffing to put your vision to work for your ministry. For your vision to become tangible, you must know potential hires believe that vision is attainable. You are not just making hires that will grow your church but that believe in what your church is doing.
For example, an outreach-based vision needs an outreach-minded staff. It needs a staff that knows what it takes and what it means to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19 NIV). This discipleship is not easy. The garden needs gardeners. Such work often requires early mornings and late nights. If you need hires that will grow your church, you need hires who will be committed to it.
There are a few ways of doing this. One way is to hire from within your congregation. In fact, this is often recommended as one of the best courses of action. This gives you the benefit of having known the person, how they fit with your team, and what skills they bring to the position. You already have a sense of how they will perform in the role.
Alternatively (or additionally), let other team leaders and even church members have a say in the process of hiring church staff. Different voices give you different perspectives. One member of the hiring committee might have experienced different interactions with the potential hire than other members. Involving more voices gives you a better chance of spotting red flags— which can prevent you from making the wrong hire.
Balance a Typical Church Staff Per Congregation Size
When church staffing for growth, every church size is different and every church staff size is too. The church staff per congregation size should be right for your church. The typical church staff structure of larger churches with a larger budget is roughly one full-time ministry position per 100 regular attenders. Smaller churches with smaller budgets may have to “hire” based on willing volunteers whose payment is their status.
Some churches overstaff for anticipated growth, but this can lead to quick layoffs if you do not meet the projected growth. Overstaffing can also indicate other issues in your church, such as a lack of volunteers or too much focus on satisfying long-time members who oppose change. Remember that not every problem demands a new staff member to fix that problem. Stay with your ratio, find volunteers, and build up your team from there.
If you do hire a new face or two, be careful not to overwork them. At least try to get some volunteers to work with them. For example, if you hire one person for youth ministry, do not also put them in charge of worship. This might be convenient for your budget, but it is a mistake that can lead to burnout, staff tension, and high turnover rates. Volunteers, however, can be useful for both of these tasks under the appropriate leader.
Believe in Your Hires: Trust You Made Hires That Will Grow Your Church
When you staff your church for growth, you have to promote a staff culture of trust. This includes believing in your new hire as competent, capable, and a good fit. When your leadership structure discourages employees to act freely within their department and budget, you are not going to get that competency and mutual trust. If you hire a person to do a job, you (and the church board) have to trust them to do it.
Your leadership structure can get prickly if it is not set up for staff independence and trust. For example, say you hired someone to run your tech department. They need to buy new microphones for the worship team. If it is within the tech department’s budget, trust them to know what is best for their department and its growth.
Otherwise, you wasted your time and money hiring them. You also have a bigger issue of too much board oversight or micromanaging, suggesting leaders fundamentally mistrust the staff to make the right decisions for their departments. This is practically the opposite of church staffing for growth: The behavior stifles growth because it stifles the creativity and activities that support growth.
Partnership: Hire a Consultant to Assist in Church Staffing for Growth
The solutions for healthy and enriching church staffing are not always obvious. In fact, they rarely are because you want your church to thrive, physically and spiritually. You have to be a leader in multiple senses while also hiring a typical church staff structure of leaders and volunteers to do the same. This challenge often requires outside help, and a consultant can be a great resource.
When you work with your consultant, you get a cost-effective way to boost your skills and strategies for how to staff your church for growth. You also benefit from the experience that comes with consultants who trained alongside clergy. You get help in hands-on areas like conflict resolution and teamwork, and you get assistance in spiritual areas like discernment and vision focusing.
For More Information
Ready to get started with church staffing for growth — the right way? Contact the Center for Healthy Churches (CHC). The CHC team is united around a shared love for churches and clergy that permeates all we do. Call us today at (336) 970-3578, or contact us online to get started with a free assessment!
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