Creative and Effective Ways to Build a Ministry Staff


Recently, in an elders meeting, it dawned on me that we have a church that has nearly 1000 in weekly attendance and no one that works on our staff has served in a full-time ministry position prior to coming to work at our church. Let me say that again, no one that works on our staff has served in a full-time ministry position prior to coming to work at our church!

Furthermore, in the past 4 years we have gone from a ministry team of 3 to 14. And they are the best, most productive, and hardest working team I’ve ever been a part of.

So how do you creatively and effectively build a ministry team for your church?

  1. Try to hire people you know

Trust is key when it comes to staff. If you can hire someone that you already have a built in trust factor with and who already knows you and your vision for ministry, then they will hit the ground running.

Of our 14 staff members I had a previous relationship with 11 of them!

  1. Look within your church

Cleary, when you hire from within your church you are hiring people that you already know. But more than that you are hiring people who love the church and have been serving the church. They know your values and vision. They also already know your people. Again they will hit the ground running.

Of our 14 staff members 8 of them came from within our church!

What a great sign of church health when people inside your church aspire to work at your church!

  1. Don’t be afraid to hire people who are young

I love to platform the young eagles in our church. They are usually hungry to learn and grow, and anxious to make a big difference in the Kingdom.

The key to hiring young people is that they are teachable.

Of our 14 staff members 5 of them are under 25!

(And I will let you in on a little secret they are cheap)

  1. Don’t limit your search to seminary trained candidates

We want to hire faithful disciples that have a solid grasp on the bible. However, we have yet to make seminary education a requirement for employment.

Timothy Keller in his classic piece, Leadership and Church Size Dynamics writes regarding hiring staff in a larger church environment…

“Studies show that churches of fewer than 800 members are staffed primarily with seminary-trained ministers, but the larger a church gets, the fewer trained ministers are on staff.”

Of our 14 staff members we have only 2 with any formal seminary training.

  1. Hire part-time people

Hiring part-timers is a great idea for several reasons…

  • Part-time staff are easier to get rid of if they don’t work out
  • Part-time employment gives you a chance to date them before hiring them full-time
  • Part-time employees are still in circulation in the “real world”. They will be more likely to bring new people with them to church.

Of our 14 staff members 4 of them are part-time employees. 

  1. Think about utilizing “quasi” staff

This is a trick I learned as a church planter. Having no personnel budget should not keep you from having a sizable staff.

There are people who will be attracted to the vision and mission of the church and will be willing to work for free. Give them a job and give them a title. Treat them like paid staff. Require them to come to a once a week staff meeting. Make them a business card. List them on the church website. Give them an official church email account.

What you will find is that in some cases these individuals will out work some of your paid staff. And, they will also become prospects for that next paid position that opens up!

Of our 14 staff members 3 of them are “quasi” staff.

Trust me there are ways to creatively and effectively grow a ministry team without breaking the budget.


How Dangerous are You?


Thirteen years ago, I was channel surfing on a Sunday afternoon after preaching that morning at the First Baptist Church, County-Seat-Town that I served in at the time. While looking for something to watch on a slow Sunday afternoon sports day, I came across a program that I later discovered was sponsored by the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention. This program was all about the changing face of worship and what God was doing in places far from my ministry context.

It was that afternoon that I felt God’s call to go and plant a church. That call would be further refined over the next several months and, in the end, resulted in moving my family from Oklahoma to Arizona. Over the years, God blessed that new church with exciting growth, allowing me to be part of a larger church planting movement in our state. And, now, I have the privilege of serving as the president of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention.

I can’t begin to explain the many ways God has used that calling to get me out of my comfort zone and do something “dangerous” for the Kingdom of God.

While I was enjoying a comfortable pastorate, one of my ministry heroes, Jon Randles, jolted me by asking, “Jackie, when did you stop being dangerous for the cause of Christ?”

I challenge you to move outside of your comfort zone and never stop being dangerous. Rest assured that no matter what God is calling you to do that he can use you to shape the future of His kingdom here on earth.