categories: church, church planting, recommendations
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February 12th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

66 comments (+ Add)

Your Turn: Hiring Staff


Thanks for all the great responses to yesterday’s question.

Continuing in the same line of thinking, imagine that the Spirit of God empowered you to build a great core group and God blessed your investment of resources.

Your new church plant now has about 400 people worshiping.

God has blessed you with the financial resources to hire 2.5 staff members. (You can hire any combination of half time or full time people.)

What roles would you fill and in what order?

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  1. Feb 12, 2008 at 6:29 am

    I’m going to assume my salary is not part of the 2.5 I can afford. Here are my hires…
    1. Worship Director
    2. Group Life Pastor
    3. Part time Children’s Director (this job goes to full time as soon as feasible!)

    Thatswhat I would do if it were my church.

  2. Feb 12, 2008 at 6:42 am

    Keep the youth worker on that I’d taken on with the $25,000 start up.

    Employ a part time Church administrator

    Employ a full time business manager

    Employ a part time Community worker

  3. Feb 12, 2008 at 6:46 am

    - Full time executive/strategic pastor to compliment my strengths.
    - Part time Children’s pastor (who would work with/under the Executive pastor).
    - Full time pastor of worship and Sunday programing.

  4. Feb 12, 2008 at 6:50 am

    5 half time Kingdom seeking, passionate individuals to boldly live and share in a ministry pointing to the power and grace of God. It would be more about who they are and who they serve than what they do.

  5. Feb 12, 2008 at 7:13 am

    #1.In-house part time maintenance/handy man (can you imagine the resources that saves in the long run with contracting costs?)

    #2. Full time administrative assistant
    #3. Full time youth Pastor

  6. Feb 12, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Full-Time Admin./Business Manager
    Part-Time Kids Director
    Part-Time Youth Pastor
    Part-Time Support Pastor (Small Groups, Associate…)

    I would pipe in worship via Satelite from :-)

    There would be an identified threshold in which certain roles went to full-time.

  7. Feb 12, 2008 at 7:17 am

    An Executive/Administrative type

    A part time assistant

    #3 would depend on the dynamic of the church - if it was young couples, I might would put the position targeted at them (maybe a small groups guy); if there were a ton of elementary aged kids, maybe there; a bunch of youth, well, a YP . . .

    Actually - after writing that out, my third would be a small groups person

  8. Feb 12, 2008 at 7:29 am

    2.5? Okay…

    Part time administrator (to do all the detailed stuff that I HATE!)

    Full time Children’s director/pastor
    Full time youth pastor (I feel like I have to say that because I AM an associate yp… but the truth is with a church of 400 it might be better to give that role away to a capable volunteer, until you grow more. In which case, a caregroup/lifegroup pastor would be employed…

    However, now that I think about it, a lot of growth can come from a the youth if they’re aggressive about going after the students whose parents might not go to church…) mmmm, interesting…


  9. Feb 12, 2008 at 7:42 am

    1. Full time Accountant/Secretary/Assistant.
    2. Part-time worship
    3. Executive/Administrative Pastor

  10. 10chris rader
    Feb 12, 2008 at 7:56 am

    1. Full time children’s pastor… (with administrative ability)

    2. Part time worship pastor

    3. Part time community pastor (to head up small groups)

    4. Part time administrative assistant…

  11. Feb 12, 2008 at 8:04 am

    It all depends on who you are but especially who you are not. There is no right answer. We just went through that exact scenario. 1. teaching pastor 2. worship 3. admin and now 4. executive (he leads our volunteer leaders)

  12. 12Brett
    Feb 12, 2008 at 8:18 am

    Full Time Childrens Pastor
    Part Time Administrator
    Part Time Worship Pastor
    Part Time Outreach Director w/ small group coaching skills

  13. Feb 12, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Full Time - Groups Director
    Partime - Children, Worship, Production

  14. Feb 12, 2008 at 8:20 am

    1. Executive Pastor
    2. Worship
    3. Connections
    4. Children
    5. Creative

    I cheated a little on the 2.5, but exec, worship, all raise their own support for first 2 years. The others are part time - not receiving an actual salary from the church. We want to be self-supporting ASAP, but we weren’t willing to wait until then to make these moves.

  15. Feb 12, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Since we have 4 people that have come to plant the church with us I would sit down and talk with them one on one. This would be a VERY difficult decision. Their current focus:
    1. We have two people focused on ‘family ministry.’ This means birth through college.
    2. We have one person focused on ‘Lifegroups.’
    3. We have one person focused on communications. More specifically, he is focused on ‘ditigal outreach.’

    Haha…I’ve noticed that I always try to find more options to your very simple questions.

  16. Feb 12, 2008 at 8:47 am

    full time discipleship/missions pastor…would serve as the 1a, and my accountability partner in the organization to help cast vision, stay the course and remain faithful.

    part-time: operations, worship and kids…most likely from the body.

  17. 17Bert Boan
    Feb 12, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Leadership for Men. Women are good at fellowship and getting involved but Men just need to show up to set up the tables and chairs. We need leadership to pull men into their purpose and ministry. (Is this horse dead yet? No? I’ll keep beating.)

    I think the church has a lot of ground to make up for in the area of men’s ministry. At least one good staff member to head the men.

    Next I’d hire an administrator with high level corporate experience and then a coordinator for youth and kids volunteers.

  18. 18tony
    Feb 12, 2008 at 8:53 am

    evidently a box is a box - a little surprised at the in the box responses listed here.

    1) don’t really ‘hire’ anyone full time - do bi-vocational or simply fund a current partner’s life calling such as:

    2) fund a partner to provide financial management training to the body, spend the $ on materials, etc., maybe a meal here and there, and child care , if needed. of course, if you just take the LifeKids model of volunteerism, you can do most of this w/ volunteers - hey, if you get the volunteers you need for all but the actual training, go rent a space in an impoverished neighborhood and set up free financial counseling there - or better yet, partner w/ United Way etc and do it. - gee, now I still have 2 more people to hire!

    3) pay a local doctor or nurse or dentist’s cost to set up a free clinic and pay for their meds and equip. needed to do the deal - again volunteers, no hires

    Why do we do these things in frica - but not in OK, TX, NY, AZ, FL, and TN? you got me

    4) hire an energy efficiency engineer as a consultant to review all of the energy use at the LC campuses - he/she can pay for themselves in two years - call me - an ROI of 15-20% ain’t too bad, ask Dave Ramsey.

    5) if you really, really have to hire people, hire folks that are multi-talented. good at admin and finance, music and tech, creative writing and people skills, etc., don’t lock them into one ‘job’ - or even better rotate them throughout the org., at least at central. however, I believe strongly that it never hurt a proud campus pastor to spend a little time w/ the youth and kids.

    6) every time you want to make a hire ask this ?- do we really need MORE people, or just the right person to recruit another army? there are 1,000 talents currently not being used by LC, they sit in the chairs every Sunday. Most will say, they can host, they can lead a Lifegroup, they can serve coffee - all which is absolutely crucial. But what if you are called to help other’s finances, or heal them, or teach themn to read or write - it seems we overlook these talents in people and don’t do a very good job of supporting them.

    yep - I know I broke all the genx, y, and z blogging rules here - so I’m out of the box of your gen, what can I say?


  19. Feb 12, 2008 at 8:54 am

    That’s a great question! Mine would be…

    1. FT - Worship & Creative Design Pastor
    2. FT - Children’s Journey Design Pastor
    3. PT - Administrative Director

  20. Feb 12, 2008 at 8:57 am

    All full-time

    A lead pastor
    A children’s director that has mad admin skills
    and a youth/worship pastor that is 4′2″

  21. Feb 12, 2008 at 8:59 am

    full time:
    executive pastor/administrator
    part time:
    student pastor (youth)
    children’s pastor
    worship pastor

    possibly even reduce me to part time in order to fill another position like a life group coordinator or small group pastor.

  22. Feb 12, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Tony why can’t I link to your blog?

  23. 23tony
    Feb 12, 2008 at 9:04 am

    because i’m over 30 and don’t have one, or the time to manage one during my work hours

  24. 24Ben Nockels
    Feb 12, 2008 at 9:17 am

    A friend of mine is leading a church-planting effort in urban OKC. They are extremely well resourced.

    Their philosophy for staffing calls for ALL staff to work on a part-time basis allowing for time and energy to work and serve in the culture at large, outside the “bubble”.

    And a couple of staff roles will essentially be “local missionaries” to particular contexts of the city. One person will be “sent” to live incarnationally in the downtown area. Another will be “sent” to a local university.

    My particular church-plant is supporting two individuals who will live missionally among some of the most marginalized and forgotten. I would prefer to fund part of their ministry effort as oppossed to pay them to create within the church walls.

    I suppose the big idea here regarding staffing would be this: resource and fund the edges rather than the core. Point the financial and human resources outward.

    From the onset of our church-planting effort we have always held that what we spend our greatest time, energy, people and financial resources on is what we value the most. So we spend minimal effort and time supporting and staffing the the core and an abundance on the edges.

    Just a few humble ramblings…

  25. Feb 12, 2008 at 9:20 am

    My first hire would be a worship pastor who is a lead worshiper and has the ability/willingness to improvise/change/listen and cooperate.

    Second hire would be a youth pastor with delegation abilities and the willingness to work with tons of volunteers.

    Third would be part time office manager with the idea that he/she would be full-time asap.

  26. Feb 12, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Late to the discussion I guess.

    1. Full-time strategic guy/gal with admin ability and foresight

    2. Part-time music/tech person to organize and run gatherings

    3. Part-time children’s director

    4. Part-time community organizer to plan/execute groups, events, outreach, etc.

  27. 27Ray
    Feb 12, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Thanks Craig! Your question has helped sharpen our focus today!

    1. Worship Pastor: God raised up this great guy who has turned down full-time church offers because he is called to our church. We hand him a measly $100/week and he is humbled by that. On top of that, I found out that he lost his job, was living off of savings, and took another job and you never saw anxiety in him. He leads us each week with enthusiasm and an intentionality to lead us into God’s presence. That is a staff member worth hiring!
    2. Media Pastor: In our media savvy generation, good illustrations and a well done website/community message board/blog are essential and worth the cost. Excellent video illustrations, video announcements, and that creative flare go a long way with proper staff chemistry. (Their first responsibility would be to pray for the additional 25K necessary for the cameras and equipment!)
    3. p/t Children’s Pastor: We have kids coming out the woodwork and my wife, God bless her real good, takes up that mantle weekly. Ministers spouses are often the unseen heroes of church planting but should never be unsung heroes!

  28. Feb 12, 2008 at 9:52 am

    For those that wrote: “part-time youth or children’s pastor”, what you’re really saying is youth or children’s pastor that works for half pay. There’s no such thing as part-time in these fields, especially youth.

    We have grown a lot as a church but, being inner-city, still rely upon a totally amazing all volunteer staff:

    More & more are moving to our community to join the team. We understand that at some point God may empower & lead us to hire staff - until then, joyful servants (NT style) will get it done here in Detroit!

  29. 29Ben Nockels
    Feb 12, 2008 at 9:53 am

    And I wanted to make a quick comment that connects the last couple of posts from Craig.

    Since they both deal with resources and the use of such resorces, they seem connected to me.

    Like many of you, I’ve wrestled with marketing and the church. There was a time that I was really quite conflicted. And then I realized that it was not the medium that I had a problem with, it was the message that we the church were sending that caused me fits.

    The story of God and his people is compelling. It is we who must become compelling messengers.

    So market a message worth sending…market missionally rather than attractionally. Use some marketing dollars to tell about a great need and cause to give and live for.

    Our official church launch took place this summer. That day we were cooking out and handing out bottled water (a cup of cool water in Jesus’ name) to the participants of the Gay Pride Parade. Later in the summer we placed ads in the Gazette promoting, not just our church, but the OKC AIDS Walk.

    So, market missionally. Tell a compelling story. Send a worthwhile message.

  30. Feb 12, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Instead of hiring a specific position, I would hire people to the vision. Those people would have leadership strengths that compliment each other (e.g. one person may be a great administrator/detail person, the other stronger at vision/connections, etc). Once it’s decided how the vision will be met, all gets divided, work out of strengths and start gathering volunteers to “run” it!

  31. Feb 12, 2008 at 10:00 am

    This may seem nuts, but has anyone ever considered hiring someone to be a prayer warrior? This would be a person that would spend a great deal of time praying for the work of the ministry and a great deal of time coordinating other people to pray as well.

    I know that my prayer life is often lacking and would love to have someone on my staff that is passionate about prayer that help raise the level for the rest of us.

    I know that is not your typical staff position, but it seems like that might have more of a spiritual impact than a lot of support positions.

  32. 33Zac
    Feb 12, 2008 at 10:03 am

    1. Full time youth pastor who is a great worship leader.
    2. Part time childrens pastor.
    3. Part time Admin. lead/project coordinator.
    4. Part time media/tech mastermind.

  33. 34Kenyon
    Feb 12, 2008 at 10:34 am

    There seems to be a pretty clear pattern here as to hiring priorities. Youth, Worship/Tech, Childrens with a couple of others following close. But what do people think about hiring everyone part-time and if they want to come on full-time they have to fundraise that on their own? Is that too much of a burden for someone to complete their job? What would that do financially for a church?

  34. Feb 12, 2008 at 10:57 am

    This is an awesome blog thread and very timely for us. We only had 2 full time staff, both of which resigned in the past 2 months. While that can be discouraging, I’m excited that this is a time to strategically rethink what we do need from staff. I’m asking, ‘How can we do more with less?’

    Along these lines, does anyone have advice for hiring really talented, passionate part-time staff? How can we create a part-time position that is really attracting excellent people?

  35. Feb 12, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Again, no experience with this, but…

    I suspect this would depend on those who make up the 400 and what their Spiritual gifts are. Regardless, it would seem prudent for one full-time position be allotted for the lead pastor (even if there is a strategy that would spread the leadership later).

    Then, perhaps a full-time administrator and a part-time worship and arts pastor.

    Again, though, the 400 probably are busting at the seams with gifting and a desire to use them! :)

  36. Feb 12, 2008 at 11:09 am

    1. Worship Pastor

    2. Executive Assistant

    3. Administrator (part time)

  37. Feb 12, 2008 at 11:23 am

    This is like a gold-mine of church wisdom. Exactly what a fresh church planter needs. Thanks for asking the question Craig.

    Here’s how I’d answer today.

    1. Full-time Pastor (Exec/Strategic/Connections)
    2. Part-time Worship Pastor
    3. Part-time Children’s Director
    4. Part-time Media/Creative Arts

  38. Feb 12, 2008 at 11:29 am

    if there’s nothing wrong with the box don’t get outside of it. just get a new box if you need one.

  39. Feb 12, 2008 at 11:45 am

    I’d hire the staff roles that most directly impact growth, both numerical and qualitative:

    FT Creative Arts
    PT Children’s Director
    FT Pastor of Ministries (equiping, administration, future campus development)

    * Actually this is exactly what we are doing…the Creative arts guy and children’s gal are already in place, and our Pastor of Ministries starts next month…freakin’ excited about that one.

  40. Feb 12, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    1 Full Time Children’s Director

    1 Part Time Worship Director

    1 Part Time Campus Pastor

    1 Part Time Business Administrator

    I assumed that I was already on staff as the Lead Pastor with a salary and that there were no other positions paid up to this point.

    I would hire in that order.

  41. Feb 12, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    I would go with:

    Part-time worship pastor

    Part-time Children’s Director

    Part-time Groups Pastor

    Full-time Executive Pastor - oversees admin and “connections” i.e. plugging people into their area of giftedness to expand God’s kingdom.

  42. Feb 12, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    circumstances obviously decide a lot. But in general I would:

    1. Hire a worship pastor who could handle muli-media etc. 1/2 of thier job description would be to have an active band that plays in local bars, poetry clubs, etc.

    2. Hire a missional director to handle administration of volunteers. 1/2 of thier time spent on the church and 1/2 of thier time connected to local altruistic opportunities: salvation army, habitat for humanity, etc.

    3. .5 part time would be divided in 1/2 and thus 1 childrens person and 1 youth.

    4. The challenge for me has been to NOT hire spectacular individuals but to hire people who can cast vision, lead, administrate and develop teams. Outstanding individuals seem to me to rarely be outstanding team builders.

  43. Feb 12, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Bill…(on attracting talented PT Staff)

    Our first 3 hires were all talented PT staff that God brought into our ministry first as really talented volunteer leaders.

    One of the problems with hiring talented people from outside, is that it tells the talented people already in the church that they don’t really have anything to contribute.

    We’ve discovered that talent attracts talent. So if you’ve got a significant vision, with talented people already in place, you’ll attract other talented people.

    Start by looking inside your church.

  44. Feb 12, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Admin support to free up lead pastor - half time
    Weekend service coordinator - half time
    Children - part time
    Youth - part time
    Small Groups/Connecting - half time

  45. Feb 12, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    i would agree with tony way up above [and not because we share the same name haha!]

    don’t hire anyone full time.

    instead, use the funds for some catalytic training and inspiration for :
    - child ministry staff
    - student ministry staff
    - community outreach activator

    i would hire on contract basis:
    - a graphic designer/artist
    - a dj for special events

    caveat: this is totally off the top of my head and i have 0 experience….

  46. Feb 12, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    1. Executive Pastor (Administrative Master)
    2. Community Evangelist (in Social Media terms / Cheerleader for the church and getting people connected where ever they can.) - combination of pastoral care and technology skills. Highly relational online and offline. In charge of building community online and off.
    3. Bi-Vocational Volunteer Champion - Person who is highly skilled at recognizing people’s serving gifts and enabling them through encouragement, leadership, training and relationship.

  47. Feb 12, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    1. Full time Worship Lead
    2. Part time Children’s Lead (move to full asap)
    3. Part time community outreach Lead
    4. Part time Admin. Assistant

  48. Feb 12, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    First hire would be a full time executive pastor with a proven track record of recruiting and training volunteers.

    Second would be a full time music pastor. They would work directly with our volunteer creative team in preparing the services to be as “outside of the box” as possible.

    After that, it’s gotta be an administrative assistant who is part time. They would basically handle the books, and all administrative confidential items that volunteer administrative support staff could not cover.

  49. Feb 12, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    You must have Administrative Counselor. Preferebly having a Law Degree and Marketing/Financial Degree.

  50. Feb 12, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    love these posts and comments. So I wanted to say that for folks interested in paying staff half time and then having them raise the other half there are positives and negatives:

    -the time it takes to raise money takes away from other ministry time (it can be quite the job to raise money and not everyone is as gifted in asking for money as others)

    - it can be a faith builder with reliance on God for finances as well as other areas of life

    - it can be an added stressor trying to build a ministry with the added pressure of providing for a family financially

    I just wanted to add that as someone in that circumstance. My husband and I started a ministry. He is raising part of his own salary now while I am working part time (unpaid) for the ministry. We would have a lot more time for ministry if not for support raising, but it’s not all bad. :)

  51. Feb 13, 2008 at 12:05 am

    Full time - Creative Associate Speaking Pastor
    - Student Minister with video skills for editing and shooting video.
    - Full Time Assitant to all Staff

  52. Feb 13, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Children’s pastor
    Programming director
    marketing director

  53. Feb 13, 2008 at 12:38 am

    If that includes the lead pastor salary, then:

    full time lead pastor
    part time administration
    part time worship/creative arts person
    part time small group coordinator

    If lead pastor is not included in that:

    full time worship/creative arts person
    part time administration
    part time small group coordinator
    part time community outreach coordinator

  54. Feb 13, 2008 at 1:30 am

    Admin Assistant - Full Time
    Connections Pastor to administer the programs that help people “run the bases” - Connection guy gets people in groups and on volunteer teams
    Increase the worship guy’s pay
    Children’s Leader
    Part time video/technical arts wizard

  55. Feb 13, 2008 at 5:41 am

    If the Lead Pastor is already FT:
    #1 - Executive Pastor (FT)
    #2 - Worship Pastor (3/4 T)
    #3 - Childrens Pastor (PT)
    #4 - Office Pesonnel (1/4 T)

    I am presently in the first 5 months of our church plant in Long Island, NY. Pastoral positions in our new church need to raise 50% of their salary for the first 2 years. We are right now about to hire the Executive Pastor in May and prayerfully the Worship Pastor by Fall.

  56. Feb 13, 2008 at 9:21 am

    1. FT Video / Graphic person
    2. FT Childrens Pastor
    3. PT Office

  57. Feb 13, 2008 at 10:51 am

    It’s hard to say… If a church has grown to 400, it has already benefited from some major volunteer leadership. To continue the volunteer culture is paramount, so hires should only be made when the job description has moved beyond what a volunteer can accomplish.

    For a church to grow to 400, you’ve got a decent worship leader, someone is doing something with children and nursery, but the Pastor is having to spend a lot of time handling administrative stuff.

    Hire Number 1: An Executive PASTOR who will act as receptionist for time being. Skills must include administrative capabilities, as well as the ability to find and train other team leaders.

    Hire Number 2: By this point, the children’s ministry probably runs 150-175 kids a week including nursery. It’s time to hire the person who has led the ministry thus far IF they are sold out to the vision of the church and are a great leader (not just a great doer). Ideal position would be FAMILY PASTOR, if the candidate is qualified to lead the teams that minister to older students.

    Hire Number 3: The lead Pastor, worship leader, children’s pastor and countless other volunteer leaders are wasting valuable time functioning as marketers…probably well outside of their gift set. A very smart move would be a half-time MEDIA PASTOR with oversight of Communications and Media Ministries…including the Sunday morning tech teams.

  58. Feb 13, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    full time Sunday morning programming director/worship leader
    Part time Children’s Director
    Part time Youth pastor
    Part time administrator

  59. 60JC
    Feb 16, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Full-Time Youth AND Worship Leader
    Full-time Children’s Pastor with crazy ADMIN skills
    Part-Time Administrative Assistant with crazy ADMIN skills

  60. 61Ricky Van Pay
    Feb 16, 2008 at 11:52 am

    part-time admin assistant
    full-time worship
    part-time graphic/tech
    part-time kid’s

  61. Feb 19, 2008 at 10:19 am

    I understand that simplicity is needed for the sake of the question, but are two full time roles the same as four part times in reality? With part time workers, benefits, taxes, workers compensation, etcetera are different ballgames. Two part time roles cost the new church plant far less than a single full time role.

    My point is that if you make the strategic hires, you can take a budget for 2.5 full timers and actually bring on 6 or 7 part timers, not just five, and that difference can be tremendous.

  62. Jul 5, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Would you be so kind as to share with us what were YOUR first 3 hires?

  63. 65Pastor Oliver T. McCray Jr.
    Feb 24, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    I’m an evangelical Pastor, Teacher,Administrator who has planted 3 churches and I am currently looking for more opportunities. I travel and help ministries get on there feet and then I move to the next ministry. I’m called to be an Overseer yet a servant. If your congregation is in need of an Pastor, Executive Pastor, Interim Pastor or Church Administrator, I have 20 years experience and I flow in the 5 fold gifts. You may contact me if I can be of service at or call me at 704-648-8982.
    Peace be unto you,
    Pastor Oliver T. MCCray Jr.
    Pastor and Founder of New Covenant Ministries Inc.

  64. Mar 14, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Well, I am a Worship Leader and Programming guy. We looked to partner with LifeChurch.TV for their teaching videos and resources. I would hire two for one guys, let me explain. Being that I am a musician and since half of each service is music related, I would do this:

    Youth Leader who also doubles as a (Drummer, Guitar, or Bass player and youth would serve during the services)

    Media & Admin. help since that is the direction we go in.

    Part-time Small Group and Community guy who is a musician as well.

    This way we can cover the expense for band easier.
    REMEMBER, these people must have a proven track record that they are pursuing God passionately!

    We are The Avenue Church and currently MERGED with FBC Snellville, GA! UNITED!