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Home » Featured, Headline, Staff/Volunteer Leadership

The Economy and the Church: Too Much Staff

Submitted by James Higginbotham on January 19, 2010 – 4:07 amOne Comment

Over recent years, there has been a trend in churches to hire more staff.

Need to get something done? Hire a new staff member.

Need some more ministries created? Hire a new staff member.

Need to reach a neighboring community? Hire a new staff member.

Fast forward a few years and the economy takes a downturn. Money isn’t as abundant. What to do, what to do….?

Oh, I know! Let’s layoff those staff members, as they are the biggest expenses that we can jetison!

Sound familiar? It should. It is what every large business did as well. I know, I saw it happen to a lot of friends.

Personally, I don’t think God ever wanted our churches to become an elastic workforce like we see from many large businesses. Instead, I see the early church modeling the complete opposite message: people from all different professions and skills combining into a local church body to positively impact one another and those that are separated from God. God may call some to move to full-time ministry, but it is for the benefit of the people, not the operations of the local church.

I would prefer to see the church model God’s wisdom by adding staff only when needed and for a specific God-given reason. When a church adds new staff, they do so under God’s direction, and reviewed under God’s word. While there may be exceptions, most staff members should be focused on things that can’t be focused on by the local church body – people.

The local church can always find volunteers, hire temporary help, or contract to specialists to accomplish their goals. When they hire a new staff member for every need, they are often showing that they lack the faith of God’s provision. They instantly think that hiring a new staff position will solve the problem.This usually comes from lack of patience and lack of faith to wait and see how God can provide.

Worse, they often lack a long-term understanding of the impact of hiring a staff member. The impact to the church’s finances, as the church cannot invest financially in opportunities due to the salary and added benefits package of the new employee. The impact on the family of the new staff member when they get laid off by the church. The impact of trying to find a new job after being in the ministry for some time. Ask someone who has been laid off – it isn’t easy to get started again!

I know this is harsh, but I think it needs to be said. Even more, it needs to be absorbed and considered before throwing more staff at a problem. Especially now that this isn’t an option anymore.

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One Comment »

  • Jamie Somma says:

    For each individual situation, it’s up to God and the leaders that He has appointed to work through these staffing decisions. God is gracious and can work good despite our mistakes too, leaders need not make perfect decisions all the time for God to use the Body. But the points in this article urging patience and seeking God’s Will and provision for needs are spot on. Without this, we will miss out in opprtunities to be a part of what God wants to do in our lives.