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Congregational Staffing

Hello, I’m Stefan Jonasson. I’m the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA’s) Director for Large Congregations but over nearly two decades at the UUA, I’ve worked with congregations of every size. Whether your congregation employs a single part-time staff member or a diversified and specialized staff numbering in the dozens—or in countless configurations in between—it is important to staff in a way that promotes your congregation’s vision and mission while providing staff with the resources necessary to achieve what you expect of them. I’d like to share eight links to online resources that may be helpful to you as you consider how to best staff your congregation and encourage effective staff teams.

If you wish to explore any of these topics further, or if you didn’t find your interest represented here, your District Office can help you locate resources to meet your specific needs. Please contact me and I’d be happy to help you identify the resources you need.

Ministers looking for congregations and congregations looking for ministers should see Ministerial Transitions. Credentialed Religious Educators and congregations looking for Directors of Religious Education (DREs) should go to DRE Search Process.

Stefan Jonasson, Director for Large Congregations
largecongregations @ uua.org
(204) 889-4746

General Staffing Matters

  • The Senior Minister as Chief of Staff (PDF)
    Among the questions I’m most frequently asked is, “Why should the minister (or senior minister) be the chief of staff?” The reasons for this question are varied but my response is always the same: this model of staff leadership is grounded in the minister’s breadth of oversight and privilege of call. This essay explains what that means in detail and in practice.
     
  • Staff Your Church for Growth
    It’s been a decade since Gary L. McIntosh published this article, but it remains the authoritative work on the topic of effective church staffing. This link provides a concise but comprehensive summary of McIntosh’s key insights about church staffing, including recruitment, team development, specialization, managing staff conflict, supervision and motivation.
     
  • Staffing Your Congregation (PDF): What's the Right Number?
    Although this essay is called “Staffing the Large Congregation,” the basic formula outlined in it works for congregations from about 100 members to infinity! The major shift that occurs between small congregations and large ones mostly involves a transition from staff generalists to specialists. I’m often asked how much staff a congregation should employ and what their lines of accountability should be. Those are both good questions: an effective church staff requires adequate numbers, balance, clear lines of authority, and motivating leadership.

Church Staff Finances

  • Staff Compensation
    If money were their primary motivation, most church staff would find employment elsewhere. For this very reason, it is important for congregations to be vigilant in establishing and maintaining fair compensation and benefits for all of their staff—and this is especially true in tough economic times. I commend the UUA’s fair compensation guidelines to all of our congregations, since they are both grounded in our values and revised annually on the basis of a careful examination of market conditions and comparable employment settings.
     
  • Employment Benefits
    The Office of Church Staff Finances is an enormously helpful source of information, services and programs for our congregations, their ministers, and other employees about employment benefits, including health insurance, retirement planning, group insurance, and aid funds.

Building and Managing Staff Teams That Make a Difference

  • Designing a Staff Team for Ministry
    In this insightful article, Susan Beaumont, Senior Consultant at The Alban Institute, examines four basic design features of staff teams that need to be addressed and resolved, whether a congregation is creating its first staff position or reorganizing an existing staff.
     
  • Designing Staff Positions
    In this follow-up article to “Designing a Staff Team for Ministry,” Susan Beaumont of The Alban Institute identifies four factors that churches should consider in creating individual staff positions or changing existing positions: control, accountability, influence, and support.
     
  • How to Minister Effectively in All Church Sizes
    In this classic essay, “How to Minister Effectively in Family, Pastoral, Program and Corporate Sized Churches,” Roy Oswald showed convincingly how day-to-day ministry changes in congregations of different size. No less is true for the rest of the church staff, too. Expectations, responsibilities and methods all change depending on how large a congregation is.

For more information contact conglife @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Tuesday, January 29, 2013.

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