Church Staffing Check-Up: Is Your Church “Lean?”


Several years ago Leadership Network did a study on “lean churches.” Churches considered lean in their study were churches in which church staffing costs were less than 35% of the total budget. Their study had churches that spent as low as 10% on church staffing and churches that spent as high as 95% on church staffing. The typical church in the U.S. spends about 50% of its budget on church staffing.

In addition, the study noted that lean churches average one full-time paid staff member per 86 church attendees. In comparison, some churches in the study had one paid staff person per 70 attendees. Lean churches also outsourced more tasks (e.g. payroll, graphic arts, etc.) as opposed to hiring a staff person.

We've noticed a trend in church staffing at Vanderbloemen. Smart churches are paying more for a few top notch staff members and hiring fewer of them.

The Apostle Paul put it this way in 1 Timothy 5:17-18, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages.’” 

The words “double honor” could mean respect and remuneration. The word honor in this verse is where we get our term “honorarium.”  Many churches have a problem in this area. They do not reward good work well. The old adage says, “You get what you pay for.”  That is not only true in buying a shirt or a car, but is also true in church staffing. 

Hire great staff and in the long run, they will not be an expense but an investment!

What do you think? Is your church staff lean?