Tag Archive - span of care

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6 Signs that You’re Leading a Healthy Church

Jesus is into results. I know I’m going to lose a lot of readers at those 4 little words. But I really believe it’s true. Read the scriptures and Jesus actually has a plan that He’s working to make everything new and fix what we broke. Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul talk about it in terms of producing “fruit.” That’s the Biblical language ascribed to producing results.

Healthy churches produce results and you can know if your church is healthy by the results it’s producing. And while I’d quickly admit that none of the items on this list guarantee a healthy church, you probably can’t lead a healthy church without these things.

1. Baptisms

The Church isn’t a building that you come to, it’s a movement you chose to be a part of. The whole point of this thing called the Church is to join God in His mission to reach everyone on the planet with the Good News of Jesus. Healthy churches aren’t simply growing churches, they help new people meet Jesus and follow Him. The lead indicator of that is post-conversion baptism.

2. Divorce Rate

Is the divorce rate of the people in your church lower than that of the community your church is located in? Jesus said His people would be known by the quality of their relationships (love for one another). This is a simple and tangible way to get to the everyday effectiveness of your church.

3. Financial Strength

This is not just a question about the amount of money you have in savings, although I’m a big fan of churches having reserves and margin (I think the book of Proverbs is a big fan of that too). An often-overlooked indicator of financial strength in a church is its capacity to respond to opportunities that Jesus provides. Essentially healthy churches put themselves in a financial position to say yes to Jesus when He asks them to do something. The Scriptures clearly connect financial generosity to spiritual maturity.

4. Span of Care

It’s well documented that the best C-suite Executives of Fortune 500 Companies (i.e. some of the best leaders on the planet) manage around 7 direct reports. What’s the span of care at your church? If your staff team is directly managing more volunteers than that, you’re probably just filling volunteer spots, not developing people. Your span of care is a lead indicator of how well you’re doing as a church at developing people, not just using people.

5. Staff Restructures

You may have never thought of this before but staff promotions and restructures can be an indicator of a healthy church. Are the staff at your church growing in their roles and responsibility? Growing churches have to restructure their staff team to both respond to and catalyze healthy growth. Staff promotions are an indication of churches investing in, developing, and recognizing the growth of their staff team members. Churches that are plateaued or dying restructure to accommodate layoffs and decline.

6. Numerical Growth

So, I saved this one for last. But I couldn’t leave it off the list. Healthy things grow. But so does cancer, and nobody wants that. Just because it’s growing doesn’t mean it’s healthy, but…if it’s healthy it will grow.

Interested in discovering how healthy your church is? Take the step and engage the Unstuck Group in a comprehensive Ministry Health Assessment of your church!


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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When is the Right Time to Restructure your Church Staff?

One of the most common lids to growth in a church is structure. It can free you up to move toward the vision that God has given your church or it can chain you to the past. Either way, it’s your choice. But how do you know if a restructure is in your future? These helpful tips below will help you get going in the right direction.

1. You’re Perfectly Structured to get the Results your Getting

So here’s the good news. You’re perfectly structured to get the results you’re getting today. Don’t like the results you’re getting? It might be time to change your structure.

2. Ride what you’ve got as Long as you can

Before you get too antsy to change your structure (structure changes don’t solve everything) ride the structure you have as far as you can.

3. Structure can be a Lid or a Pathway to Growth

Structure can keep your church stuck. So a proactive structure change can help you plan and prepare for growth. If you’re not ready for growth, you’re not going to get it.

4. Span of Care

Typically C-level staff can manage 5-10 direct reports. When your span of care goes beyond that, it’s time to change things. Want to read more? Check out this article by Harvard Business Review “How Many Direct Reports?”

5. Lines of Communication

When internal communication begins to slow down and information doesn’t flow quickly between departments or layers of the organization it may be time to restructure.

6. Streamlined Decision Making

Often structure can be a significant lid to decision-making and the growth of a church. When you have to check with multiple committees, teams, stakeholders, and then recheck again before taking a vote it might be time to restructure.

Need help figuring out how to restructure your church staff? Check out the Staffing and Structure Review that the Unstuck Group helps churches work through. We love helping a church position its staff team to best fit both the ministry and the individuals involved. Our Staffing & Structure Review does just that. From org charts, to job descriptions, to governance and leadership development, this process will help your church staff to its vision.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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5 Symptoms Your Church Needs More Volunteers

I’ve never worked with a church that has said they don’t need more volunteers. But I’ve worked with a bunch of churches that have trouble getting people to volunteer and stay engaged volunteering.

Through our research at the Unstuck Group we’ve discovered that the average church in America has 43% of their adults and students volunteering somewhere in the church. Follow this link if you’re interested in learning if your church is healthy in this area and others.

While a lot of churches need more volunteers, most don’t know why they need more volunteers, or why it’s difficult for them to enlist and keep new volunteers.

1. Your “span of care” is too broad

If you can’t care for your volunteers, you’re not going to keep your volunteers very long. Because they’ll begin to sense that you want something from them not for them. In business-world Fortune 500 CEOs usually only have seven direct reports. That’s probably a great rule of thumb for ministry-world as well. A simple way to figure this out in your context is to add up the number of volunteers and then divide by the number of staff and volunteer leaders. If the result is more than seven, then you have a span of care issue and you need more leaders.

2. You have too many staff

One symptom I see over and over again in churches that struggle with building an effective volunteer ministry is that they are over-staffed. Instead of paying staff to lead, develop, and disciple people in the church they pay the staff to do the ministry. The research we’ve done at the Unstuck Group working with literally 100’s of churches has shown us that if you’re staffed at a ratio higher than 1:100 (1 FTE Staff Member for every 100 people attending your church) you’re overstaffed.

3. Every decision comes back to your desk

If every decision is coming back to your desk you haven’t figured out how to empower people. Empowering people first starts with clarifying the mission, vision, values and strategy. It means clearly articulating the role for volunteers, helping them understand how to make decisions that help the church move towards its vision, and then moving people from doing tasks to leading their teams.

4 Using people instead of developing people

Many churches I’ve observed view volunteering as roles to be filled instead of people to be developed. Here’s what I know, when you’re primarily focused on the number of volunteers you have and the ratios you have in classrooms you’ll never have enough volunteers. On the other hand when you primarily focus volunteers as people to be developed and discipleship, you’re far less likely to have a volunteer shortage. Because after all volunteering is discipleship.

5. It’s Difficult to get Involved

The number one complaint I hear from people who want to volunteer in churches who don’t is that they’ve tried to volunteer, they’ve signed up, they want to but they don’t know how to get involved, it was hard to get involved (they had to take multiple classes or be a member of the church prior to volunteering), or no one ever called them back. Does your church make it easy or difficult for people to get involved and start volunteering?


Posted in Leadership, Volunteers