May 11, 2006  |  People

How Many Staff Do You Have?

It seems to be a good week for answering questions here at NewSpring…and another of the questions we often get is, “How many people do you guys have on staff?”

The answer, for now, is 59—39 full time and 20 part time.

What is funny is the reaction we get when we tell people this—many of them make a remark about how awesome that is—but from time to time we get the “why in the world does a church need that many people on staff?”

If I can be honest right here—we really don’t have enough on staff (I will explain in just a second); however, we are able to get an incredible amount of work done because of the enormous amount of awesome volunteers that are involved in this ministry.

Now on to the staff explanation…

I remember the days when staff meeting was me sitting in my living room & having a conversation with myself in the mirror. (I wanted to feel as if there was someone else there.) AND…I did everything from preparing messages to returning phone calls to organizing events. (It is a miracle we survived.)

Oh yeah, I led worship as well…the Bible says that we should make a joyful noise…and that’s about all I could do! So…we decided to hire a worship leader.

Now keep in mind that our philosophy here at NewSpring has always been to hire ahead…to hire someone before you need them and let them get acclimated to the ministry so that they can grow as it grows. In my opinion…if you wait until you can afford to hire someone then you have waited too late! And trust me—when we hired Lee (the worship leader) we could not afford to do it. At the time we were only taking in about $3,500 a month—BUT we just knew this was what God wanted.

AND—let me say this—Lee has more than paid for himself—a good staff member will pay for themselves in six months or less!

So…we continued to grow and decided to hire a ministry administrator. Why? Because Lee and I were doing much of the organization of things (once again—it’s a miracle we are even here!) AND—we began paying a extremely part time secretary and a part time children’s minister. (At the time we were running about 150).

As time went on we hired staff as we saw the need. I remember sitting in meetings with Trustees and the guys asking, “Is there ever going to be a time when we can stop hiring staff?” The answer then, and today, is no! (By the way—EVERY person who used to ask that question are now on staff!!!)

“But Perry—59 staff members—isn’t that a little overkill?” Not exactly—let me explain.

In the research I have conducted the average church member/staff ratio in America is about one staff member for every 40-50 people. Let me share an example or two…

In my first church there were about 120 people coming every week…(this is a typical size church here in the south) - and there was a full time pastor, a full time secretary, a part time music dude, and then me—the part time youth & disrupter of the peace. That’s one staff member for every 40 people.

In the second church I served we probably averaged around 200 a week…and there was a full time pastor, a full time secretary, I was full time, a part time church hostess, a part time children’s pastor. Once again it was one staff position for every 40 people.

At NewSpring, just since moving into the building we have had an average attendance of 5,461, now keep in mind with 59 staff members that is one staff member for every 92 people that show up—when you look at our ratio compared to others it is amazing.

Let me break it down a little further & share some examples.

Take the children’s ministry—right now there are 11 people on staff in our children’s area, five full time and six part time; however, this crew ministers to about 1,500 kids every month. (We are averaging about 900-1000 per week—but around 1,500 cycle through every month.) That’s amazing—once again—we could not do it without volunteers!

Or take our care and outreach ministry—we currently receive about 60 first time visitors cards per week (all are followed up with before the end of the day on Tuesday) and we also received 170 prayer requests cards per week—which all receive some type of follow up. How many people do we have serving in this area? Five!!! That’s amazing that five people can do that much work—how do they do it? Once again—volunteers!!!

It is our goal here at NewSpring to have a lean staff, pay them well, and try to involve as many people in the ministry as possible. My advice to church planters would be to take steps of faith when it is necessary—hire ahead—and hire someone EARLY to work with your volunteers!

Props to our staff—you guys do an amazing job. AND MAJOR props to our volunteers—this is not my ministry—it is OUR ministry—we are doing this together…and it is a privilege to serve as your pastor.

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