Never Enough Staff

From Tim Stevens on the LeadingSmart blog:
When I was hired to join the team at Granger we had 400 people and 5 staff members. And we all did everything. I remember in those early days thinking, When we can just hire one more person, then things will be good. Or I’d visit a church with 15 or 20 staff and think, Man—must be nice to have so much money and so many staff members. Someday when we get there—life will be nice!

I’ve now been at Granger more than fifteen years. I’ve seen it grow from 400 to more than 5,000. I’ve served with a church staff team as small as 5 people and as many as 95. And we have never had enough staff. It has never been comfortable. We’ve always gone into every year wanting to hire more people than we’ve been able to. And over the past three years—we’ve actually had to reduce staff while the ministry continues to grow.

I’ve visited hundreds of other churches…and I’ve actually never talked to a pastor who thought he had enough staff. I’ve never met a team who had so much money they could hire anyone they wanted.

Whether yours is a church of a hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand, if your goal is to accomplish the Great Commission, you will never have enough staff. If you think you’re the exception and you have enough staff, then you need to get a bigger dream. Are all the people within driving distance of your church already following Christ, growing in their faith, and taking steps in their spiritual journey? No? I didn’t think so. If you think you have enough staff, you may need to ask God for the perspective to see the need around you!

And you know what? Not having enough staff is a good thing. It forces us to our knees. It requires that we get really smart about the priorities of the church. It compels us toward creativity and innovation. And it makes us get serious about leveraging the time and talents of our volunteers.

I’ve been to churches in which the pastors do everything and the church members see it as their responsibility to warm the pews and “keep the pastor accountable.” Where is that in the Bible? Instead of agonizing over how to find the money to hire staff, what if you spent your time figuring out how to motivate the members to take part in the ministry. Your church may have a long and rich tradition of laziness. The pastors or leaders who preceded you may have bought into the lie that they were supposed to do everything. They may have spent their time teaching the congregation about the nuances of transubstantiation, but forgot to mention that God wants them actively involved in the lives of others. It may take months or years to transform your church into an army of volunteers that influences your community through service and love.

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