10 Church Staffing Trends

Finding church staff members is seldom an easy task. Here are some trends our Lawless Group teams are seeing:

  1. More staff members are being hired from within. This trend makes sense, as the new staff member and the church already know each other well. Little time is required for the staff member to learn the church’s vision, ethos, etc.
  2. More staff training and education are occurring via the local church. Churches don’t want to send their best to a seminary city for further education. Because accreditors now allow many seminary hours to be earned in a local church, churches are taking advantage of the change.
  3. More “Family Ministry” positions are being created. Sometimes these roles are what were formerly known as “Student Minister,” but with a renewed recognition that any student ministry involves the entire family. In some cases, the “Family Pastor” oversees all age-graded ministries.
  4. More staff positions are bi-vocational. Not only does the part-time status of a bi-vocational minister save the church money, but it also keeps the staff member connected with the lost world. I’ve written elsewhere of the value of bi-vocational ministry.  
  5. Internships are increasingly common. Many of my young students are interested first in learning at the feet of a seasoned ministry veteran – and some churches are making that option possible. In some cases, the interns even raise their own salary, and the church provides only ministry funds. 
  6. More “teaching teams” are being built. Perhaps influenced by a growing interest in elder church polity, more churches are building teaching teams that share the preaching responsibilities. Ideally, no one gets burned out, and all learn together.
  7. Denominational affiliation is less a concern. In my early days of ministry, seldom did a church hire a staff member from another denomination. That’s not nearly as much the case now. Churches are looking for the right person, even if he or she comes from a different evangelical background.
  8. Fewer “combination positions” exist. For years, churches sought to build full-time roles by combining positions like “Minister of Music and Youth,” “Minister of Education and Administration,” etc. Now, though, we hear instead from churches who’ve discovered that few staff members are equally gifted (and for that matter, equally interested) in two roles. One role usually suffers.
  9. The “Minister of Education” is less common. At times, the role is generally the same, but the title is changed to something like “Minister of Small Groups” or “Discipleship Pastor.” In other cases, the role itself no longer exists, as every ministry is expected to educate and train. 
  10. Strong worship leaders are still difficult to find. The #1 request we hear from churches is help in finding gifted, theologically astute musicians who lead worship well. They’re out there, but many of them are already happily employed.

What trends would you add to this list?


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