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.