How to Build the Perfect Church Staff

The Perfect Chruch Staff Team

Do you have a great vision for your church, but wrestle with how to go about church staffing?  One of the most important decisions that a church can make is how to allocate and invest its staffing dollars. Pastors and churches must continually answer questions such as:

  • How do we best allocate staffing dollars?
  • Which staff positions should we hire first?
  • How much should we pay church staff?
  • Is it better to hire part-time or full-time staff?
  • How do we manage staff once we have them?

These questions are begging for clear answers!  In my next few blog posts, I will address these questions and help you move forward with church staffing.  Let’s get started with a three-step process toward church staffing success.

Step 1:  Determine your overall church budget

Right about now you might be wondering how this relates to building the ideal staff.  Stay with me and write down a number!  What is your annual budget for this year?  This number is the place to start with church staffing.  After you have written this number down read on to step 2.

Step 2:  Determine the percentage of your annual budget allocated for staffing.

Now that you have an overall budget number, next determine what percentage of that number allocated toward staffing.  But how do I decide this? What percentage does the average church spend on staffing?  The percentage of the annual budget that a church spends on staffing is highly subjective. In determining this amount, a church must take into account the size of the congregation, how long it has been in existence, other fixed expenses, the cost of living, availability of volunteers, etc.  But, I won’t leave you hanging here!  There is a way to help figure out the percentage.

Divide your annual budget into four general categories.  (I’ll wait while you grab a piece of paper to write this down)

  • Operations: (All the boring stuff) Rent, Building payment, Utilities, Insurances, Supplies, Copiers, and anything else that has more to do with admin than people.
  • Missions: (Everything that is outward) Global missions, Local missions, Mercy Ministries, Church Planting, etc.
  • Ministries: (Everything that is designed to facilitate community or equip believers) Youth Ministries, Small Groups, Men’s Ministries, Women’s Ministries, Children’s Ministries, Staff ministry expenses, etc.
  • Staffing: Salaries and Benefits

Determine what percentage of your annual budget will go to each of these four categories.

Here is an example.  If your fixed operations costs are 25%, you have committed to devote 13% to missions (outward), and 12% to ministries (inward), then you will have 50% of your overall budget for staffing.

Most of the churches that I work with allocate somewhere between 50-60% of their budgets for staffing.  Church plants that have small operations expenses often allocate much more toward staffing.

Now you know your overall church budget, and you know what percent you are committed to spending on staffing,

Step 3: Assess your staffing needs according to your particular context.

The final step in this process is to assess what the ideal staff looks like in your context.  This decision is a highly contextual and is not easy.  If you are in a suburban community, you may believe that it is critical to allocate staffing money toward children, youth, or family ministries.  If you are in an urban context, you might find it critical to allocate staffing resources toward inner city issues.

REMEMBER! Most of us wish we had way more resources than we have.

In my next post, I will follow-up with four mistakes that I commonly see in church staffing.

What would you add to this?  Feel free to comment!

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Posted by Brian Howard

My focus is to help YOU move forward one step at a time. I write about church excellence, personal productivity, and family leadership. I coach leaders, start churches, and help organizations break growth barriers. My goal is to draw on this experience to help YOU move forward in life, leadership, and productivity.

  1. […] Brian Howard on How to build the perfect church staff. […]

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  2. […] church avoid unwise hiring decisions. How does a church make a staffing plan? In my previous post, How to Build the Perfect Church Staff, I explained how to get started in this […]

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  3. Definitely some solid principles, and I know this goes without saying, or should do, but to assert that the *perfect* church staff is even possible this side of glorification is misplaced IMHO. I don’t think that’s what you meant, but I think your piece would read better if you added a disclaimer to that affect.

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