Tuesday, October 21, 2008


A common concern for church leaders is staff. Just think of how much could get done if we had the staff to do it! There is no question that staffing is important. Everything rises and falls with leadership. As you are building your ministry up, you want to keep expanding the base of leadership that supports it.

Before you begin your quest to build your staff, get clear about the role that staff will play in your ministry. A staff will join you not to do the ministry but to see that the ministry gets done. You want to develop leaders who will develop leaders, not followers. The role of staff in the CTK story is to create and sustain an environment where people can carry out their ministries with minimal obstacles and maximum fulfillment.

Now is the time to start building your staff, before the people arrive who will be served by that staff person. It is common in church circles to think that you need a full-time-equivalent staff person for every 100-150 people. I don't look at it that way. I look at it through the lens of group life. I believe you want a staff person who is going to help develop the next 10 to 15 small groups. That is, they will be working directly with 10 to 15 leaders.

The best place to start in developing a staff is on your knees. This was Jesus' encouragement when he looked out at the ripe harvest, "Pray." What I have found, when I have prayed for staff, is that God has not always brought me the person I thought I needed, but He has always brought me the person I needed.

Pray, then start to identify volunteer directors of small groups, worship, operations, children, youth. I consider these to be "bread and butter" areas that deserve dedicated leadership. (Other directors might include: men, women, recovery, singles, discipleship, etc.). When the time is right for paid staff you will often find candidates from this pool of directors. As the ministry grows, you can graduate volunteers to stipend support (maybe $50-200 per month), then part- time status, and full-time status.

As a rule of thumb, at least 50% of income should go to personnel. Studies have shown that ministries in decline often spend 40-50% on staff, whereas growing ministries spend 50-60%. As a local ministry approaches $100,000 per year income there should be 1-2 stipend staff added to the team. By $150,000 there should be at least one part-time staff person and a couple stipend staff, and by $200,000 a Worship Center should be ready for a second full-time staff person.

There are various ways to support paid staff. Budget growth is the most stable way, but you can also build your staff through special offerings, personal fundraising and bi-vocational ministry. Don't be afraid to sit down with someone that God seems to have given the gifts and graces for ministry and ask, "Is there some way I can get you on my staff?" Where there's a will, there is often a way. leadership and development.

Always be on the lookout for ministry talent. I keep a "little black book" of people that I consider to have promise. I maintain a "wish list" of leadership roles that I would fill if I could. The size of the dream determines the size of the team.

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