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Paid Staff Can Hamper Spiritual Growth?

There are certain common refrains I hear as I’m talking with growing churches across the country. This is one of them. I’ve heard many leaders in recent months acknowledge that they’re trying to shift the ministry to volunteers rather than continuing to hire more staff. Likely, the economic challenges have precipitated that shift in strategy. Whatever the case, I think it’s a good thing.Today, over on MinistryStrategies.com, Eric Geiger offered this thought as is relates engaging volunteers in ministry. He explains how pastors and other paid staff may actually be hampering spiritual growth by holding on to ministry:

“People who are gifted by God and called to serve Him are put on the bench as they watch the professional ministers make the ministry happen. Instead of fostering a serving posture among believers, this kind of “ministry” develops consumers. By keeping ministry from the majority of the people, they are taught to be moochers and consumers of the faith rather than participators and contributors. As their spiritual gifts go underutilized, they miss the joy of experiencing Christ by serving others.”

Wondering where your church stands on this topic? Do a little math. Take the number of people who volunteer somewhere in ministry at any given time each month. Divide that by the total number of students and adults at your church. That’ll give you a percentage. Here’s my suggestion:

  • If the percentage of students and adults serving is over 45%, you are in a healthy range for engaging volunteers in ministry.
  • If you are in the 30% to 45% range, you’re doing okay but there’s room for improvement.
  • If you are under 30%, you need a volunteer strategy adjustment.

Now, I can hear the critics and skeptics already. You’re probably thinking, “The larger a church gets, the more likely they are to have a big staff team handling the ministry of the church.” It might surprise you to learn I see the direct opposite. For whatever reason, smaller churches I work with have a tendency to rely on the pastors and paid staff to carry the ministry load. In fact, the highest percentage I’ve ever seen (close to 60%), comes from Granger Community Church — a church of several thousand people.Check out the rest of Eric’s article on this topic. If you’re interested in coaching on how to improve your volunteer strategy, contact our team at MinistryStrategy.com. We’d love to help.