Thursday, December 8, 2011

When a Small Staff is Better

Most church leaders believe if they had more staff members, they could get more done.  While that is often true, it’s also often not true.  In many ways a smaller staff can be better than a large one.

When a church is overstaffed, forward progress generally slows down.  When a church is slightly understaffed, more ground can be taken quickly.  Smaller staff teams are flexible and can turn on a dime when necessary. 

Here are a few theories why a smaller church staff can be better:

  • When you have a lot of staff, the roles are usually clearly defined and specialized which that can lead to, “That’s-not-my-job” mindsets.  On the other hand, smaller staffs are forced to work together and innovate, and work outside of job descriptions, which creates unity and a spirit of collaboration.
  • Bigger staffs take more time and energy to manage.  Small staffs are easily managed.
  • When more people are on staff, it’s easy to stop developing volunteer leaders, which eventually weakens the foundation of the church.
  • A larger team might unconsciously not work as hard as they would otherwise.

Obviously there are exceptions to these theories.  Furthermore, being grossly understaffed for a long period of time is not healthy either.  Still, given the choice, I prefer a leaner staff.

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