“If your vision is ambitious, you will always need more staff than you can afford, no matter what resources you have at your disposal.” So says Dan Hotchkiss, a former Alban senior consultant and now one of the consultants of the Congregational Consulting Group.

This is especially true in the wake of the pandemic, when congregations are navigating tensions between what we can afford and what we need in order to provide the kind of ministry and care our people require. The answer can’t be that we just have “to do more with less,” and yet, that’s often the reality. 

This week, we’re exploring questions about staffing — about updating our staffing models for the 21st centurysupervising an increasing number of part-time staffcreating a healthy staff culture and, of course, how to staff when you can’t afford staff. We are grateful for the wisdom of our colleagues at the Congregational Consulting Group on all of these questions. 

We’re talking about staff in this Weekly. Welcome!

Staff designs for the 21st century

Staff designs for the 21st century

John Wimberly is regularly contacted by congregations who need help rethinking their staffing structures. His advice? “The positions that dominated church staffs in the 20th century don’t necessarily work in the 21st century. The ministry needs of congregations are … significantly different from the past.”

Eight tips for managing part-time staff

As the number of part-time staff employed by congregations increases, congregational leaders face new challenges in supervising these employees. Susan Beaumont offers tips for success.

Creating a healthy staff environment

Creating a healthy staff environment

It isn’t the job of the congregational leader alone to create a healthy organizational culture. Sarai Rice explores the roles that the head of staff, the governing body and the personnel committee each play in fostering a flourishing workplace.

Staffing when you can't afford to staff

Staffing when you can’t afford to staff

Can volunteers be the answer to your staffing challenges? Yes, writes Dan Hotchkiss, but there are two things congregations must do in order to make them successful.

From the Alban Library

Supervising and Supporting Ministry Staff: A Guide to Thriving Together

by Kevin E. Lawson and Mick Boersma

Supervising and Supporting Ministry Staff: A Guide to Thriving Together

Surveys of pastoral staff repeatedly show that senior or supervising pastors consistently rate their working relationships with their associate staff members higher than do the associate staff members. Satisfaction levels follow similar patterns. In many cases, supervisors are not aware of or attentive to the concerns of their staff, and yet, these staff members are critical to the success of the church. 

Supervising and Supporting Ministry Staff is a research-based guide to the senior/associate staff relationship that is filled with real-life stories and practical advice to help readers negotiate their staff relationships successfully. The book focuses not only on the business mechanics of the supervisor/supervisee relationship, but also the full experiences of the associate staff, including emotional and spiritual needs. This helpful resource addresses congregations of all sizes across denominations and discusses a range of supervisor/supervisee relationship types.

Before you go…

If you liked what you read in this edition of the Alban Weekly, let me encourage you to take a moment and sign up for the Congregational Consulting Group’s weekly email, Perspectives. In a time when too much of what shows up in my email inbox is less than helpful, Perspectives is always thoughtful, timely and relevant to my work in a congregation. You won’t be sorry to subscribe. 

Next Monday is a holiday in the US, and so you won’t see the Alban Weekly in your inbox next week. We’ll be back on July 12.

In the meantime, peace to you! 

Nathan Kirkpatrick

Managing Director, Alban at Duke Divinity