1. Church staff must grow personally to cross through growth barriers.
One of the keys to pass through church growth barriers (65, 250, 500, etc) is for the staff to grow personally. If the pastor and church staff don’t grow in time management and values, it will be difficult to move forward. A church staff member has to have a different set of skills to help move the church from 200 to 500 people. The way they organize their lives will have impact on how it happens. What they value in a small church will have to shift to some degree if a church is going to grow. As a church grows, the pastor must begin to value the staff and leaders of the church as his church – the people he invests in.
2. Church staff are scouts and coaches.
You don’t hire staff to do the job, you hire them to develop people to do the job. Have your staff list the 10 people they are investing in right now. That should be their focus. Help the church staff be reminded of their role – inviting people to serve with them. Don’t do ministry alone. Take part in leadership training events that teach the basics like delegation and organization. Church staff need to be on the lookout for who they can develop into ministry doers and leaders.
3. Best marketing for the church? For the people to make friends.
What is the best way for the church to market themselves? For their people – including the staff – to make friends. Enjoy people. Get to know them. Visit and invite. Word of mouth is the best way for the church to grow.
4. Youth ministry does not grow a church.
In regards to the hiring process of a church plant or small but growing church, effective children’s ministry is the next step. After your church has a pastor and worship leader, the next person you need to hire is a whizbang children’s ministry leader who can help shape a team who will attract and build relationships with kids. Their parents will follow. After growth through children’s ministry, you will be able to afford a youth ministry leader and other ministry leaders as well!
5. The more programs a church has, the more likely it is to be in decline.
Don’t tie up good people with meaningless activity and busy work around the church. There are many capable leaders around the church who are heading up ministries that aren’t aiding in the overall mission of the church. It’s good stuff, but it’s not helping the church grow. If a church is loaded with programs, then leaders and church members are burdened and not freed up for other meaningful kingdom ministry. The focus needs to be on people, not programs.
6. Hire for passion, train for skill.
Hire people (and acquire volunteers) who are passionate, aligned with the vision and excited about the possibilities, then teach them the skills needed to do the job. And when it comes to the possibility that you need to remove a staff person from her post, do so quickly, with grace. The kingdom is bigger than any one person and it’s our job to act swiftly when a change must occur.
7. Church leaders must rewire their brains to think people not programs.
The less program ministry a staff member does, the more the church grows. Equip your team to learn to focus on people. Trust that their relationships with leaders in ministry will make the difference in the long run. Most program staff will be “paying their way” in two years (sometimes more quickly). But, it takes some reprioritizing to think in terms of people, not programs and buildings. Pastors also need to help their church leaders understand this at every turn. When a company acquires a new territory for sales, they often will get a working capital loan to start the process of hiring new teams to help staff the new territory. However, as Bill puts it, when a church grows (acquires new territory) they won’t spend any more money on staffing. They will take out a loan to build a building, but not to help grow the people. Just one example of the need to put people before building and programs.