Before you buy into the idea that you need another staff person at your church, think again. That just may be the worst decision you make at your church this year.
It’s not uncommon in churches that I work with to hear them say, “We need to add more staff.” After all if there are problems or areas where the church is stuck then throwing staff at that problem will surely fix it…right? Well, not always. In fact the opposite may be true. In fact the most effective churches that I see have a tendency to hire fewer staff not more staff. They hire more competent team members who have the ability to turn attenders into volunteers, volunteers into leaders, and build teams. Instead of paying people to do ministry they pay people to lead others to do ministry.
At the Unstuck Group we encourage churches to staff to a ratio of 100:1. As you can see in the chart above the average ratio of attendance to staff in most churches is 86:1. In other words for every 86 people in attendance at the church (including adults and kids), there’s typically one full-time staff person.
This number includes all paid staff at the church. That means administrative staff, support staff, ministry staff and pastors. This number also includes both full-time and part-time staff. We calculate the full-time equivalent (FTE) number by adding the total average number of hours part-time staff work and then dividing by 40. That number is added to the number of full-time staff to get the FTEs. For example, if there are 5 full-time employees and 10 part-time employees working a combined average of 200 hours per week, that makes for a total of 10 FTE’s.
Over staffing is a big deal in churches because it’s usually an indicator that:
1. The church has become Insider Focused
Typically an overstaffed church is paying people to do ministry and run programs to keep long-time people in the church happy.
2. The church has a Poor Culture of Volunteerism
There is a direct connection between staffing and volunteerism at churches. Generally the more a church spends on staffing the less likely attenders are to serve.
3. The church has Stopped Growing
There is also a direct connection between staffing and church growth. What we’ve discovered in our research at the Unstuck Group is that the more a church spends on staff the more the rate of attendance growth slows.
In other words the more staff your church has the more likely your church is to become insider focused, have a low level of buy-in and volunteerism by attenders, and to be plateaued or in decline.
Interested in learning more? Download the ebook “Vital Signs: Meaningful Metrics That Keep a Pulse on Your Church’s Health” or consider engaging the Unstuck Group to do a Ministry Health Assessment with your church.
Posted in Leadership, Staffing, Volunteers