Too often, churches get staffing wrong. I know in their heart of hearts they believe that by hiring age-graded directors/pastors/associate ministers they’re staffing to grow, but in today’s culture, especially in our less than optimum giving culture, it’s simply no longer feasible to hire a new staff member for every 100–125 church members (which is what it takes to keep growing a church using age-graded staffers). Besides that, what’s next after the church has a minister for the children, youth, young adults, families, and senior adults (never mind the choir director and the senior pastor)?
Today’s effective church realizes that hiring ministers to “do ministry” is not only short-sighted; in the end it’s unsustainable. Instead, these churches hire staff to cover the core processes that every church faces. Attend to these processes well, and every church of every size will see growth:
- Bring Them In (Invite)
- Retain Them (Connect)
- Disciple Them (Apprentice)
- Send Them Out (Send)
In our book Effective Staffing for Vital Churches, Bill Easum and I go beyond just defining the “who” and the “how” of getting the core processes taken care of. In fact, we wrote the book specifically for leaders in churches from less than 50 in worship to over 3000.
No matter what else is going on in the church and no matter how friendly you are or how many great programs you have, the church won’t see sustainable growth if any of these processes are lacking. Effectiveness and sustainability depends on getting more people into the hopper, whether that means getting more people into a worship service or getting more people into introductory relationships with your church members. Then the church has to find ways to make connections with these new folks… and the connections have to be more than showing up to a worship service they love. Without significant connections you simply can’t retain these guests long enough for them to become committed disciples. And so it goes.
Question: How does your church address each of the four core processes? Share your thoughts, ideas, and questions in the Comments section below.
The title is a bit misleading. The book not only covers how to staff, it speaks to job descriptions and is very useable for the church that does not have a budget to pay staff. It helps churches establish more effective staff volunteers. D. Henderson