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10 Guiding Principles For Church Staff Restructuring


Church staff restructuring is a decision that every church faces, some more frequently than others. Staff restructuring can be simple or it can be complex, but typically there are a number of factors that should be considered. So, how do you determine when a restructuring should take place and exactly what the new structure should look like? Below are 10 guiding principles that can serve as filters for the who, what, when, how, and why questions of your restructuring decisions.

  1. Your staff is perfectly structured to get the results you are getting
  • If you are dissatisfied with current church or ministry results, then your staff structure is a contributing cause and should serve as a catalyst for defining the results you do want to see and how those desired results might impact restructuring decisions.
  1. Your current staff structure won’t get you where you want to go
  • The staff structure that got you to where you are will most likely not take you to a significantly different looking future. Defining what that future looks like is a prerequisite to staff restructuring.
  1. New staff structures require new staff roles
  • To create impactful change, a staff restructuring will require newly created positions, job duty changes of current staff, and possibly the termination or transfer of other staff.
  1. New staff structures are required to respond to growth
  • Every 15-20% in growth should trigger a staff restructuring.
  1. New staff structures are required to stimulate growth
  • To stimulate growth, restructure staff ahead of growth rather than just in response to growth.
  1. New staff structures are required to address bottlenecks
  • When restructuring staff, look for places in the chain of command where growth is creating decision making and communication bottlenecks.
  1. New staff structures are required to address burnout and indispensable people
  • When restructuring church staff, look for symptoms of staff burnout and where growth in job duties has inadvertently created people so essential that the organization cannot do without.
  1. Establish a multi-year staffing model
  • Projecting the staff positions that will be needed a minimum of 5 years out will inform you how to design any current staff restructuring to be expandable.
  1. Use metrics to calculate and inform restructuring
  • When using church staff compensation as a percent of budget to inform restructuring, use 50-55% as your guide.
  • When using span of control to inform restructuring, use the rule of thumb that once the number of direct reports of a supervisor reaches 5-8, consider restructuring (for pastors and supervisors with hands on responsibility for a specific ministry this number should be less than 5).
  • When using span of care to inform restructuring, use the rule of thumb that once the ratio of full time equivalent staff to active members exceeds 1/75, or when the ratio of ministers to active members exceeds 1/150, consider restructuring.
  1. Use mission, vision, and strategy decisions to prioritize and drive staff restructuring
  • The primary drivers of any restructuring exercise should be directional and progress related decisions that address how to better live out the church’s mission, fulfill the church’s vision, and execute the church’s core strategies.

Posted on September 25, 2018
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Jim Baker

Jim is a Church Organizational Leadership and Management Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Throughout his career Jim has demonstrated a passion for showing Pastors and Ministers how to use organizational tools for church and personal growth and health.

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“For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5