Last week I wrote here about the very beginnings of what we should do if we want to build our ministries but we are not in a position to hire additional full time staff. I focused more on the Theological and Philosophical groundwork that needs to happen and then challenged us to get CREATIVE.
Today I want to share with you some of the creative things I have done, over the past 17 years, to help build my ministry areas when hiring an additional full time staff member was impossible.
- Ask 2 or 3 volunteers to be a part of your leadership team.
A first step would be to take an assessment of your current volunteers and see if any of them rise to the top as leaders. If you have 2 or 3 who really seem to have great leadership ability and have a heart and passion for your ministry area, take them out to lunch/dinner together and vision cast for them what a ministry area could look like with all of them partnered with you as a leadership team. Some of my best leadership teams have been because of dedicated, passionate volunteers who had the heartbeat of the ministry. Don’t be afraid to make the ask. What’s the worst thing that could happen? They say no? Now you are back in the same position you were before… except you have a few volunteers who know that you believe in them and their leadership in a big way. It’s a win-win.
- Open up spots for summer or year long unpaid internships.
One of the best things I ever did in my ministries was raise the bar for volunteers and allow them to complete summer or year long internships. It started out just being task oriented, where I needed them to complete tasks like planning events or leading a night for our youth ministry. Over time, it evolved into training and teaching them to do youth ministry. Today, I have a team of 8 interns who, basically, lead an entire youth ministry. So, you may be asking, “How do I get these interns?” I have done this two different ways: 1) running an ad in the church bulletin/website and interviewing potential candidates & 2) asking college aged students in whom I saw leadership potential. The latter has been WAY MORE SUCCESSFUL, in my opinion. One of the best ways to start this is to identify some high school students who absolutely love your ministry area and start casting vision for them about ministry. Pretty soon… they’ll believe it was their idea to intern with you upon graduation 🙂
- What about part time $$$?
So, here’s the deal: Full time employees are expensive. On top of a healthy salary for that individual, we usually have to offer some sort of benefits package. At our church, that could potentially add another $10,000+ to an already expensive salary. I know that some churches do things to get around this, but bottom line… it isn’t cheap. But what if that person doesn’t have to be full time? What if they could be 2/3 time? Or what if they were like 20 hours a week? You might be able to get away with a smaller salary or even get them into an hourly situation and not have to pay any benefits because this is likely not the main source of income for them or their family. Then you could maximize their time while they are with you, have the added bonus of another staff member, and not have to pay the expensive price tag of it. Our kids ministry has a mix of full time and part time staff and they cover just as much as a team of full time employees. Like I said, sometimes you have to get creative.
Bottom Line: you don’t need departments full of multi full staff people to grow your ministry area. What you need is to figure out creative solutions to empower and equip others to do ministry right alongside of you. Get CREATIVE.