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When a Small Staff is Better

Most church leaders believe that if they had more staff members, they could get more done. While that’s occasionally true, it’s often not.

I’ve found that a smaller staff is often better than a larger one.

Based on my experience, when LifeChurch (or a specific campus or team) is slightly overstaffed, forward progress generally slows. When we are slightly understaffed, we usually take more ground.

Here are my theories on why smaller is often better when it comes to staff:

  • When you have more staff members, the roles are often clearly defined and can lead to “That’s-not-my-job” mindsets. Smaller staff teams are forced to work together and innovate creating unity and a spirit of collaboration.
  • Bigger staffs take more time and energy to manage. Smaller staffs move quickly.
  • When more money goes to pay staff, less money goes to expand the ministry.
  • When more people are paid, it’s easier to stop building 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 and being grossly understaffed for a long period of time is not healthy.

Still, given the choice between slightly more than we need and slightly less than we (think) we need, I’m choosing the leaner staff every time.

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Craig Groeschel is the founder and senior pastor of Life.Church, an innovative church meeting in multiple U.S. locations and globally online. Traveling the world as a champion of The Global Leadership Summit, Craig Groeschel advocates to grow leaders in every sector of society. He is the host of the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast, the most listened to leadership podcast in the world. A New York Times best-selling author, his latest book is Dangerous Prayers.