Launch 4: Staffing

I’m gonna do a few series kind of interacting with and starting discussions about themes in some books on church planting. This series comes out of the Launch by Nelson Searcy.

Another topic Searcy covers in his practical book is staffing. Here are some of the principles he provides:

Find first year staff for your first year. Searcy talks about how a lot of church planters get confused about what positions are necessary for the launch. He says your first three positions need to be Lead Pastor, Worship Pastor, Children’s Pastor. In general, I’d agree with that. There may be some situations where a Children’s Pastor isn’t as high a priority. I also think finding a local Christian band is a possible fill-in for a Worship Pastor. I also think, in a launch situation, that finding a Worship Pastor who can do more than just lead worship is critical. I would go with someone who is a decent worship leader, but a great equipper of others, over someone who is great at leading worship.

Never pay anyone to do what you can get a volunteer to do. Great point, and in my opinion it’s critical for future growth. I think churches that are Senior Pastor dependent tend to get stuck at 200, and churches that are staff dependent tend to get stuck around 600. I am a big fan of setting the tone early that your church will be volunteer driven, and that volunteers will be trusted with high level ministry responsibilities.

Decide how you will raise payroll funds. Searcy says to never raise funds for a new staff person, that he or she should be responsible for it. But that staff should not be asked to raise 100 percent of their salary. He also writes that the Lead Pastor should not ask staff to raise funds if they didn’t have to.

The power of the part-time staff. We haven’t had had a lot of experience with this at Forefront, but it makes sense to me. I’ve heard from many that you will get almost as much out of someone who works 20 hours a week as someone who works 40. The unusual thing Searcy does is what he calls “$50-a-Week-Staff.” He says that if you realize there’s a volunteer who you cannot afford to lose and want to reward her for her service, pay her $50/week (or more). When someone accepts this he suggests making that person an official member of the staff with a formal job description. Generally he has the person being hired to list everything they’re already doing and then to add additional areas he’d like to serve in. Side benefits to this, according to Searcy, is that if the person later vacates the position, you’ll have a job description ready for his replacement. And, if the person starts performing poorly, it’s easier to remove that person. —

What do you think of this idea?

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