Three Systems For Church Staff Leaders

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Here are three systems every church staff ministry leader must grow in:

A Database System, Calendar System, and a Volunteer System.

In the book, Sustainable Children’s Ministry, the authors outline these three areas as crucial for recruiting, connecting and growing. They refer to them as machines and I can see that! When these things are in place, you can watch them move, almost effortlessly, on their own. It can be powerful! This book was focused on children’s ministry, but the principle works across the board.

Most church staff ministry leaders are working with volunteers and to do this effectively, you have to have your calendar system in place and your contact system in place.

Here are some thoughts about each of these three areas:

Database System

You have to have a good and updated list of your congregation to grow and recruit for your ministry team. Often, I will look over a list of people in our church and it will prompt me to pray for them, reach out to them, or invite them in some specific way. In addition to this list – whether you access it on the screen or a printout – you need a good way to connect with your current team. What do you use to send a note to your team members? Is it a text loop? An email list? Here’s what we currently use:

Planning Center Online: for emails and scheduling. We use this for our worship teams, hospitality teams, and are moving toward using it with our children’s ministry teams.

Slack: For both the church staff and the ministry teams. This is an app that you can invite people to join.

Access: This is part of Microsoft and we use this to keep names and addresses updated to print labels and mail newsletters.

Of course, the little systems like texting team members here and there is also good, but you want to know your database and keep track of it well!

Calendar System

Your calendar is not just for you, it’s for the people you lead. As you are prepared, looking ahead and keeping track of the direction, you enable your team to do the same. You can’t keep your volunteer team moving forward with you without some level of pre-planning and advance invitation. You must develop systems for connecting with people, follow up, meetings, and advance planning. Your calendar can be your biggest asset to effective ministry.

Volunteer System

How does someone become a volunteer? How are volunteers equipped? How do volunteers know they are serving on a particular day? What will it take to recruit new volunteers? How do your volunteers know they are appreciated? It may seem overwhelming, but it’s not with some simple systems in place.

Take some time to write out the steps a person must take to join your team. Write down the process of how someone learns and grows in the ministry. Mark your calendar for a series of recruitment goals this fall – when you will pray over your list, when you will make calls, and how you will incorporate new team members. Create a volunteer appreciation system. It may be as simple as sending two notes each Monday to team members who come to mind and who helped in big ways over the past week.

I once heard someone say “churches shouldn’t hire staff, they should hire coaches.” It’s true, the job of pastors and staff is to equip the church to grow in ministry by using their gifts to build up the kingdom.

Here’s a link to the book, Sustainable Children’s Ministry. Lots of great stuff in there!


You can pick up a copy of this book, Sustainable Children’s Ministry here.


Take a look at the sample of the church staff leader devotions and discussions here.

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