How Many Paid Staff Do We Need?
Nailing down the ideal number of paid staff at your church is one of the most important aspects of ensuring the long term health and viability of your congregation. Too much staff and you’ll have a strained budget and members won’t have opportunities to serve where they are most gifted. Too little and your staff could burn out and you could lose attendees who feel overlooked.
How does a church determine the ideal number of paid staff? Here are a few guidelines we offer to our clients as they consider a lead pastor search or a church staff search:
The Financial Side of Church Staffing
Let’s get past the most important issues for many churches, especially those with less than 100 attendees: sometimes the tithing at a church simply doesn’t match the ministry needs. Sometimes churches are struggling financially because they simply haven’t faced the problem, and a concentrated effort to develop a culture of generosity and communication about the results of the ministry can make a significant difference.
Whether the challenge is a genuine lack of resources or a need for better planning and communication, staff members make up a major part of church budgets. Nailing down your ideal number of staff will depend in part on the financial stability of your church.
What Is Holding Volunteers Back?
Choosing to hire a new staff member should be directly related to the ministry needs of your church. Is there a ministry that is bottlenecked or struggling? Are there conflicts or even attrition among members over a particular area that volunteers aren’t able to address?
Looking at the areas where you need to relieve pressure on volunteers or alleviate a trouble area could help you determine where you need to hire to be most effective.
Do Ratios Help Determine Hiring Pastors?
There are different staff to member ratios that different denominations and congregations use before hiring a pastor. The key is that these ratios are often tied to particular denominations that have specific expectations for what pastors will do.
For instance, a mainline church with a limited role for pastors may aim for a 1 to 250 or 1 to 500 ratio. However, churches that expect more out of their pastors may need a 1 to 100 or 1 to 150 ratio in order to avoid pastoral burnout.
Will Paid Staff Hold Your Church Back?
While it’s understandable that a church may expect to make progress with new staff additions, it’s possible that more staff could hold a church back from being effective and involved. The ideal situation is that a church will have pastors mobilizing and coaching volunteers to do ministry in addition to their own hands on interactions.
Every church is different, but consider this: what if the volunteer to staff ratio could prove more helpful in determining how many staff your church hires?
Let’s Talk about Your Church Staffing Needs
If seeking a new pastor or filling an open position at your church overwhelms you, consider bringing in expert help. At Chemistry Staffing we love helping church leaders conduct efficient, affordable, and effective searches for pastors and church staff.