September 4, 2018 Tony Morgan

Problems Develop When You Hire Too Many Staff

I just re-read a great quote from Jason Fried the Founder and CEO at Basecamp. He wrote:

“Problems start when you have more people than you need. You start inventing work to keep everyone busy.”

I see this happen all the time in the context of church staff teams. The more staff they hire, the more programs and events they start. “Problems start when you have more people than you need. You start inventing work to keep everyone busy.” - Jason Fried Click To Tweet

The more programs and events they start, the more time and attention they demand of people to serve and attend.

The more time and attention they demand of people to serve and attend, the less time and attention is given to the ministry efforts that could make the biggest Kingdom impact.

Then after years of chasing more and hiring more staff and then adding more programs and events and hiring more staff, you end up with a lot of bloat. And that’s a problem. Our data confirms it.

Our Data Confirms It

When mining the data we collect for the quarterly Unstuck Church Report, we found that growing churches only hire one full-time equivalent staff person for every 71 people in attendance.

Declining churches, on the other hand, hire one full-time equivalent staff person for every 50 people in attendance.

In other words, the staff teams at growing churches are 30 percent smaller than the staff teams at declining churches. The staff teams at growing churches are 30 percent smaller than the staff teams at declining churches. Click To Tweet

I actually wrote about this topic several years ago when I elaborated on whether or not events are killing the church. (In case you’re curious, I’m confident the answer is yes.) This challenge will persist until churches start mobilizing more volunteers rather than hiring more staff.

Of course, if churches hired fewer staff, they would be forced to mobilize more volunteers. And that would be a good thing, because that’s how God designed the church to fulfill its mission.

Those of us who lead churches are supposed to equip God’s people to do the work of God. God did not intend for us to hire more staff to do the work of God. God did not intend for us to hire more staff to do the work of God. Click To Tweet

It may sound counter-intuitive, but you may need a smaller staff team to get unstuck and have a bigger ministry impact.


+ RESOURCES


Is your org chart bloated? My team and I at The Unstuck Group help churches figure out how to get their staffing and structure aligned to their mission and vision. It’s one of the top reasons churches connect with us. Learn how our Staffing & Structure Review works at theunstuckgroup.com.

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Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group, theunstuckgroup.com. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.