Launch Conference, Part 6: Building a Staff from Scratch

After talking about funding, Searcy and Thomas discussed Staffing: Building a Staff from Scratch.

The first thing they shared was a quote from John Maxwell, which they claimed was the “Greatest Leadership Secret” (and I agree that this is critical): “Those closest to the leader will determine the success level of that leader.”

And then they moved on to discuss Three Tenants (sic) for Staffing a New Church (I think they meant “Tenets,” not “Tenants”):

1. Determine my first year staff
  • Lead pastor
  • Worship leader
  • The worship leader ought to be a flexible, teachable, moldable person
  • Someone who believes in the vision of the church
  • Who else do I need to staff Sunday Services?
  • Volunteers or paid (children’s staff, ushers, greeters, etc.)
  • God will send the people you need to staff your services

2. Decide how I will make payroll
  • Staff can raise some or all of their own funds to support themselves financially.
  • It’s not a bad idea to pay someone $50 per week to help with certain tasks. This can help develop more leaders in the church.
  • But never pay someone to do something that a volunteer could do.

3. Don’t be afraid of the “Big Ask”
  • That is, don’t be afraid to ask people for big commitments or to take on big tasks. All they can do is say no.

Following these three “tenants,” they gave us 10 Staffing Lessons Learned the Hard Way:

  1. You’ll never have enough money up-front to hire staff.
  2. Hiring staff precedes growth, not vice versa.
  3. Hire slow, fire fast. One bad apple spoils the bunch. (It’s normal to have high staff turnover early on in the church start)
  4. Hire from within whenever possible.
  5. Hiring and firing is ultimately the responsibility of the lead pastor.
  6. Hire part-time before full-time.
  7. Never hire staff when you can find a volunteer.
  8. The role of staff is to find additional volunteers.
  9. Hold weekly staff meetings.
    • Including volunteer staff.
    • You have to meet with your staff in order to lead your staff.
  10. Clarity and accountability are the keys to an effective staff.
Coming up next: Planning My First Service From Scratch.


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