how to staff a church on a budget

How to Staff a Church on a Budget

Bryan Wiles is a pastor at H2O Church in Bowling Green, Ohio. V3 Movement partner Reliant (formerly Great Commission Ministries) works with pastor Wiles and partners with missional churches and Gospel-centered nonprofits to mobilize support-based missionaries for the Great Commission
As I talk to pastors and church planters a key question that keeps coming up is, “how do you recruit staff to come on board with your church?” Most church planters know staff and leaders are essential to a successful church, but the question is, how do you get them? Especially when your church may be operating on a smaller than normal budget due to being planted recently or reaching a segment of the population that is generally under funded (college students, young people, etc).
This is where our partnership with Reliant comes in. For us at the H2O Network, we have 9 churches (8 of those have been planted since 2008) and to my knowledge, not one of those churches actually employs a staff member. Instead, all of our pastors and staff partner with Reliant through support-based ministry, in order to ensure that we can have as many staff as necessary to reach the campus or city we are focusing on.
Our partnership with Reliant has many benefits in helping us grow our church and network, but here are my the top three.

1. Our staff team is not limited by the size of our internal budget.

Our network focuses on planting churches on college campuses. As a result, most of our churches are 80-90% college students. We believe this is a major win for the Kingdom, but it certainly is not a major win for our church bank account. To give you a picture of what I mean at H2O Bowling Green, where I pastor, we are a church of 500 people who runs on an internal church budget similar to a church of 90 people. Because of raising support through Reliant, we are able to have 7 full time staff and 7 part time staff, on a very slim budget. Those pastors and staff are essential to being effective in sharing the gospel and planting more churches. We simply would not have the impact that we are currently having without our partnership with Reliant.

2. Our pastors are freed up to lead rather than bogged down with employment logistics.

I don’t know many pastors and/or church planters who went into ministry to deal with income tax withholding, employment laws, or gift processing. Those are important issues that someone needs to tend to, but most pastors feel a call to preach, disciple, and lead. Our partnership with Reliant allows those who are gifted in the area of administration to deal with the employment side of things and allows those who are feeling called to minister on the front lines to do the ministry they are called to through the support-raising process.

3. Accountability and financial transparency for our staffing is taken care of for us.

Between our 14 staff that I mentioned above, we have thousands of gifts that come into Reliant on our behalf. I never have to worry about the safety, security, or accountability of what is happening with those gifts. That is what Reliant is excellent at. The processes, audits, and ECFA rating ensure that everything is being processed with excellence, care, and top of the line accountability. I can tell every one of the donors who give on behalf of our staff that exactly where they are directing their gift is where it will end up 100% of the time.
I believe the kingdom impact of reaching college students for Christ can remain our focus and continue to grow through seeing more churches planted, thanks to the faithful accountability and care provided to us through Reliant.
Come learn more about Reliant at Praxis 2016!
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Brian Wiles

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