STAFFING & The Vanderbloemen Search Group and Leadership Network Method for Analyzing the Cost Efficiency of Your Staff (FTE, full-time staff equivalency)

by Tim Stevens, Vanderbloemen Associates, 5/30/18.

… Below are three key factors to consider when answering the question, “Are we spending too much on staff?”

1. Percentage of Budget Designated for Staff

…Generally you will hear that your staff expenses (salaries, benefits, training, etc.) should not exceed 50% of your total general operating budget. That is a good rule-of-thumb, but there are several variables that you’ll want to consider, as each situation will be different.

  • Established multi-site churches with several sites often see staff costs as low as 35% to 40% of their overall budget. This is because they can find efficiencies with a central support staff, and if they utilize a video venue model, they don’t have to pay teaching pastors for every location.
  • If you believe in hiring proven leaders who can grow their ministry, you will likely have a higher percentage of your budget going toward staff. High capacity leaders cost more.
  • If most of your hires are internal (hired from within your congregation), you might be able to keep staff costs lower. These staff members might be in a dual-income family (thus reducing costs of benefits), and might be willing to work for far less than the national average due to their connection to the church and belief in the mission.
  • How well you leverage your volunteer base will make a difference in how much you spend for staff. I’ve worked with many churches that have a history of hiring staff way too quickly. Their first impulse is to hire, rather than to organize and equip volunteers. I think that is wasteful, both of the church’s money, but also of the giftedness of the congregation members, many whom would step up and serve if asked…

2. Staff-to-Congregation Ratio

The second benchmark is to look at how many staff you have compared to the size of your congregation (measured by average weekly attendance). Vanderbloemen Search Group and Leadership Network published a joint study of large churches (defined as 500+ in attendance) that took a deep look at salaries and trends in church staffing. That study indicates that the attendance to staff ratio is 76:1. That is, for every 76 persons in average worship attendance, churches have one full-time staff person. Those numbers consist of all staff, including pastors, directors, administrative staff, custodians and others. (It would not include staff devoted to non-church functions like a school).

Other studies have reported similar findings. Paul Alexander, who works with The Unstuck Group, reports that they see the average ratio of churches they consult at 86:1.

How to calculate your ratio:

Example Your Numbers
1. Add the total weekly hours of your part-time staff

(Example: 2 staff x 10 hours (20), 2 staff x 20 hours (40), and 1 at 30 hours would equal 90 hours)

90
2. Divide line #1 by 40 2.25
3. Add total number of full-time staff 6
4. Total Full-Time Equivalents (add lines 2 and 3) 8.25
5. Average weekly attendance (include kids) 950
6. Divide line 5 by line 4 115
7. The result is your attender-to-staff ratio 115:1

If your ratio is higher than 90:1, that means you are more efficient with your staff than the typical church. This might be a good sign, demonstrating a highly efficient team or showing an unusually good usage of volunteers. It also might mean your team is showing stress cracks. If you are in this category, and you have noticed your team is working unusually long hours and finding it difficult to balance family with work, then you probably need to work toward a solution that may involve bringing on additional staff. If you have high turnover, it might mean the expected work level is unsustainable.

If your ratio is lower than 70:1, then you are blessed with more staff than the average church. Start-up churches often have low ratios since they begin with a core of staff (worship, teaching, children, etc.) and initially don’t have any people. Their staff ratio can get closer to the average as the church takes root…

3. Combining These Two Benchmarks

For a deep dive into your numbers, consider both of these benchmarks together. What percentage of budget are you spending on staff and what is your attender-to-staff ratio?

  • If your ratio is low (staff-heavy) AND your percentage is low – you have room to increase salaries. Make sure you are paying your core staff what they are worth. It costs a lot more money to replace a high-performing staff member than it does to keep one. Consider this as you set next years’ salaries.
  • If your ratio is low (staff-heavy) AND your percentage is high – you need to consider reducing staff over time through attrition. You likely have too much staff. If your offerings are okay, you probably don’t need to lay off staff. But every time someone decides to leave, you should consider moving people around and avoid replacing them – that is, until your attendance or offerings increase.
  • If your ratio is high (lean staff) AND your percentage is low – you have room to hire additional staff, and may want to consider doing this for the health of your existing staff. They are likely feeling the stress of long hours and wearing multiple hats. Get them some help!
  • If your ratio is high (lean staff) AND your percentage is high – you likely have limited income and need to work hard to engage and equip your volunteers to help carry the load. Consider getting a copy of my book, Simply Strategic Volunteers, and focus on getting more of your laity engaged in the work of the ministry.

This article provides some broad categories that will hopefully give you some direction. If our team at Vanderbloemen Search Group can be helpful in providing customized consulting for your team, we’d love the opportunity to partner with you.

Read more at … https://www.vanderbloemen.com/blog/cost-efficient-employees-church

STAFFING & A History of FTE (full-time staff equivalents) and How Many Staff Members Do You Need? #Staffing/MembershipRatios

By Susan Beaumont, Ministry Matters Magazine, 6/29/13.

… Faith Communities Today (Fact 2008, 2010) is a study out of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, that looked at, among other things, how 3,000 congregations allocated their budgets. Researchers discovered that the average U.S. Protestant congregation allocates 45 percent of its total operating budget to payroll-related costs. Mainline churches spend considerably more (49 percent) on payroll-related expenses than either the Evangelical Protestant (31 percent) or the Catholic/Orthodox communities (41 percent)

… A Leadership Network study (which focused on staffing costs in larger congregations) found that the following factors were related to staff costs:

  • Whether the church is growing. Staffing costs are leaner for churches whose attendance is growing, perhaps because growing churches have not “caught up” with emergent staffing needs.
  • The dominant age group of the congregation. Staffing costs are leaner, but only slightly, for churches where the average person’s age in the congregation is lower.
  • The year in which the church was founded. The younger the church, the leaner the staffing costs.
  • The location of the church. Staffing costs are lower for residential and new suburban locations and slightly higher for older suburb and downtown churches.
  • Race. Staffing costs are leanest for predominantly African American churches and highest for Anglo European churches.
  • Use of paid part-time staff. Staffing costs have no relationship to the percentage of paid part-time staff in relation to full-time staff, until a congregation employs three or more paid part-timers for each full-time staff.
  • Economic level of the congregation. Staffing costs are leanest for churches whose internal constituency is described as poor and highest for churches with an internal constituency described as wealthy.

Staffing/Membership Ratios

Perhaps the longest standing rule of thumb about staffing structures is the ratio of program staff to average worship attendance. In 1965 Martin Anderson wrote one of the first books to address staffing models in the larger church, Multiple Ministries. He recommended a staffing ratio of 1 pastor for every 500 members (1:500) . Looking back on that number, it is hard to believe that congregations ever functioned with such lean staff teams, but in fact they did. Remember that this book was written during a time when worship attendance and membership were more closely aligned, when membership meant different things than it does today, when volunteerism in the church worked differently, and when church programming was more homogenous and standardized than it is today. No church today would ever dream of targeting a 1:500 staffing ratio and expect to meet the needs of its congregants.

In 1980 Lyle Schaller wrote The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church in which he introduced average worship attendance as a more reliable indicator of staffing needs. Schaller proposed a ratio of 1:100 as a guideline for the typical ratio of full-time paid professional staff positions in mainline Protestant congregations. In 2000 Gary McIntosh wrote Staff Your Church for Growth and suggested that a 1:150 paid professional staff ratio was a more realistic and affordable guideline. Both Schaller and McIntosh focused on the combination of professional clergy leaders and professional program staff leaders. Their ratios did not include administrative or support staff. Both assumed that the staffing ratio remained constant across size ranges.

So, given these conflicting guidelines, what is the most effective way to think about the size of the staff team relative to the active membership base of the congregation? The same 2010 Leadership Network Study that looked at the characteristics of a lean staff team created an alternative way of thinking about staff size relative to attendance. Rather than thinking solely about program or clergy staff in relationship to attendance, the Leadership Network study looked at the ratio of all full-time staff equivalents (FTEs) to attendance. Furthermore the study looked at how that ratio changed as the percent of budget devoted to staffing expense increased and decreased. Here is what they found.

Staff Costs as a Percent of Budget              Ratio of Staff to Attendees

10-19%                                                1:108

20-29%                                                1:91

30-39%                                                1:73

40-49%                                                1:73

50-59%                                                1:70

60-69%                                                1:59

The conclusion here is obvious. If you spend more of your budget on staff, then you have more staff per attendee than other congregations do. The results also suggest that churches with higher staffing budgets don’t necessarily pay their staff better; they just hire more staff. The ratios are helpful benchmarks as to how many staff congregations employ. Given that the average congregation spends between 48 and 50 percent of its operating budget on payroll, we can assume the average congregation employs one full-time equivalent staff member for every 70 to 73 people in average weekend worship attendance.

Determining how large of a staff team that you need depends upon your mission and your context. No benchmark can answer the question for you. It should never be your objective to match the averages quoted in this article. However, these averages can be used as a starting point for good dialogue between you and your leaders. Do you lie inside or outside of the normative parameters outlined here? In what ways does the unique nature of your mission and your context require something outside of the norm?

Read more at … https://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/4094/how-many-staff-do-you-need

#OD723 #FTE

SOCIAL MEDIA & Archbishop of Canterbury, warns against ‘alternative facts’ online & launches “social media guidelines” for the church. #GoodModel

by Alex Hern, The London Guardian Newspaper, 7/1/19.

The archbishop of Canterbury has said “there is no such thing as an alternative fact” and called on Christian social media users to engage with an attitude of “truth, kindness and welcome” online.

Speaking at Facebook’s London office to the social network’s European head, Nicola Mendelsohn, Justin Welby expressed his concern at how “savagely social media can be used”.

“Look at any article, and then look at the comments below it and very quickly you find stuff that is just poison,” he said.

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 12.39.49 PM.png

In an effort to counter the problem, the Church of England announced a set of social media guidelines, a first in the organisation’s history, built around the three precepts – truth, kindness and welcome – articulated by the archbishop.

“When you’re talking on social media, put the truth out. There’s no such thing as an alternative fact: there are opinions, and there is truth.

“When you are expressing an opinion, do so with kindness. And be welcoming: don’t throw out stuff, tweet or post things, that is a shut-out. That’s not the point of social media. It is social media.”

The Church will be following the guidelines in its postings on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. Welby said: “We don’t want people to lie, to act with cruelty, or to use religious jargon in a way that ontologically results in some epistemological confusion – to use some religious jargon… it’s the golden rule that Jesus Christ talks about: treat others as you would like to be treated.”

A livestream was broadcast to an online audience of 300, a small group compared with the larger crowds who tuned in to watch the archbishop leading bible studies when Facebook Live was a newer platform. The select audience may have missed Welby apparently coming down on the side of reform of Britain’s upper chamber of parliament, when he said that, sitting in the House of Lords, “you just think: why am I here?”

Read more here … https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/01/church-of-england-publishes-social-media-guidelines

Here are the guidelines:

Our community guidelines have been created to encourage conversations that reflect our values. They apply to all content posted on the national social media accounts run by the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop of York.

Social media is a very public way of enabling us as Christians to live out our calling to share the good news of Jesus Christ. One of its many joys is that it is immediate, interactive, conversational and open-ended. This opportunity comes with a number of downsides if users do not apply the same common sense, kindness and sound judgement that we would use in a face-to-face encounter.

While written specifically for all users who engage with the Church of England’s and Archbishops’ national social media channels, these guidelines are built on universal principles. They are a resource for Christians, people of other faiths and people of no faith. Dioceses and local churches across the Church of England are welcome and encouraged to adopt them.

By engaging with the Church of England and Archbishops’ social media accounts, you agree to:

  • Be safe. The safety of children, young people and vulnerable adults must be maintained. If you have any concerns, ask a diocesan safeguarding adviser.
  • Be respectful. Do not post or share content that is sexually explicit, inflammatory, hateful, abusive, threatening or otherwise disrespectful.
  • Be kind. Treat others how you would wish to be treated and assume the best in people. If you have a criticism or critique to make, consider not just whether you would say it in person, but the tone you would use.
  • Be honest. Don’t mislead people about who you are.
  • Take responsibility. You are accountable for the things you do, say and write. Text and images shared can be public and permanent, even with privacy settings in place. If you’re not sure, don’t post it.
  • Be a good ambassador. Personal and professional life can easily become blurred online so think before you post.
  • Disagree well. Some conversations can be places of robust disagreement and it’s important we apply our values in the way we express them.
  • Credit others. Acknowledge the work of others. Respect copyright and always credit where it is due. Be careful not to release sensitive or confidential information and always question the source of any content you are considering amplifying.
  • Follow the rules. Abide by the terms and conditions of the various social media platforms themselves. If you see a comment that you believe breaks their policies, then please report it to the respective company.

How will we respond to people who breach our social media community guidelines?

The Church’s and Archbishops’ Communications teams may take action if they receive complaints or spot inappropriate, unsuitable or offensive material posted to the national social media accounts. This may include deleting comments, blocking users or reporting comments as appropriate.

Who do I speak to for further advice?

If you have a safeguarding concern, please follow the policies and procedures on this page or use this contact form.

 

Read the guidelines here … churchofengland.org/guidelines

SLIDES & 6 dos and don’ts for next-level slides, from a TED presentation expert

by Amanda Miller, TED.com, 6/13/19.

 “We’re living in a visual culture,” says Paul Jurczynski, the cofounder of Improve Presentation who works with many TED speakers to overhaul their slides. “Everything is visual. Instagram is on fire, and you don’t often see bad images on there. The same trend has come to presentations.”

Here, he shares 6 specific tips for creating the most effective slides.


1. Do keep your slides simple and succinct 

“The golden rule is to have one claim or idea per slide. If you have more to say, put it on the next slide,” says Jurczynski. Another hallmark of a successful slide: The words and images are placed in a way that begins where the audience’s eyes naturally go and then follows their gaze. Use the position, size, shape and color of your visuals to make it clear what should come first, second and so on. “You don’t just control what the audience sees; you have to control how they see it,” says Jurczynski.

2. Do choose colors and fonts with care

…While it’s fine to use a variety of colors in your presentation, overall you should adhere to a consistent color scheme, or palette. “The good news is you don’t need a degree in color theory to build a palette,” says Jurczynski. Check out one of the many free sites — such as Coolors or Color Hunt — that can help you build color schemes.

With fonts, settle on just one or two, and make sure they match the tone of your presentation. “You don’t have to stick to the fonts that you have in PowerPoint,” or whatever program you’re using, says Jurczynski. “People are now designing and sharing fonts that are easy to install in different programs. It’s been an amazing breakthrough.” Experiment. Try swapping a commonly used font like Arial for Lato or Bebas, two of many lesser known fonts available online. Most important: “Use a big enough font, which people often forget to do.” Your text has to be both legible and large enough to read from the back of the room, he recommends — about 30 points or so.

BEFORE: Weak font, muddy colors 

 

 

AFTER: Strong font, color that’s striking but not jarring

 


3. Don’t settle for visual cliches

When you’re attempting to illustrate concepts, go beyond the first idea that comes to your mind. Why? The reason it appears so readily may be because it’s a cliché. For example, “a light bulb as a symbol for innovation has gotten really tired,” says Jurczynski. Other oft-used metaphors include a bull’s-eye target or shaking hands. After you’ve come up with your symbol or concept, he advises people to resist the lure of Google images (where there are too many low-quality or clichéd choices) and browse a free image site such as Unsplash.

One potential source of pictures is much closer at hand. “If it fits the storyline, I encourage speakers to use their own images,” says Jurczynski. “Like one TED Talk where the speaker, a doctor, used photos of his experience treating people in Africa. That was all he needed. They were very powerful.”

BEFORE: Fake-looking stock photo to illustrate teamwork 

AFTER: Eye-catching nature photo to illustrate teamwork


4. Don’t get bogged down by charts and graphs 

Less is also more when it comes to data visualization. Keep any charts or graphs streamlined. When building them, ask yourself these questions:

What do I want the audience to take away from my infographic?

Why is this important for them to know this?

How does it tie into my overall story or message?

You may need to highlight key numbers or data points by using color, bolding, enlarging or some other visual treatment that makes them pop.

Maps are another commonly used infographic. Again, exercise restraint and use it only if it enhances your talk.“Sometimes, people overuse them — they put a map because they don’t know what else to show,” says Jurczynski. He suggests employing labels, color schemes or highlighting to direct your audience where to look. He adds, if you have the skill or know an artist, “you may even consider a hand-drawn map.”

BEFORE: Yikes! What’s important?!? 
AFTER: The takeaway is clear


Read more at … https://ideas.ted.com/6-dos-and-donts-for-next-level-slides-from-a-ted-presentation-expert/

SUFFERING & 5 Biblical Reasons Why God Allows Suffering

by Lesli White, BeliefNet, 5/29/19.

… It’s common to wonder if our suffering is God’s Will. People often hold only one view of suffering; however, the Bible does not have one approach to suffering but many.

Here are five biblical reasons why God allows suffering. 

To Prepare Us For the Trials and Complexity of Life

… Scripture tells us, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). In these verses, Paul is referring to multiple types of suffering – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. What makes this experience complex is the fact that when suffering comes, several of these types of suffering are often involved which can take a major toll on our spirit. It’s important that we recognize that suffering is a battleground.

The book of Job offers great insight on the two ways we can choose to respond to suffering. One way is to curse God because of our suffering and the other is to praise God, even in the midst of our suffering.

To See the Magnitude of His Love

When we think of suffering, we often think of God being far away from us. Yet, God will carry us through some of the darkest seasons of our lives to show His incredible love for us. Sometimes the emotional or physical pain of suffering is prolonged. It can continue for weeks, months, even years. This pain can be intense. We may hurt so badly that even those who try to bring comfort feel the pain. If you’re going through a tough time, take heart. The Lord is sovereign and He controls all adversity in our lives. That’s why it’s imperative that when we are going through a time of trial and suffering that we remember how much God loves us. If He allows us to go through pain, suffering and loss, then He has something good He wants us to accomplish.

It Reminds Us of the Reality of Sin

Each of us knows firsthand what it means to suffer as a result of someone else’s sin. We have all been the victims of the evil choices of others. Evil words and actions have left great marks on our hearts, minds and bodies. Because of this, some people will get angry with God, believing He did nothing to stop the sin that unfolded. Yet, none of us is innocent. We too have played the role of sinner, harming others with the choices we make. Sin lurks at each of our doors. We, like Cain must battle our fear, insecurity, shame, resentment and anger. Failing to recognize or master these things often creates suffering for others.

To Help Us Grow in Community

Suffering happens in community and we have a responsibility to be of support and aid to those who are suffering around us. Paul alludes this in Galatians 6:2, when he writes, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ…”

It Allows Us to Minister

The comfort of God that we can extend to others isn’t limited to the church and is not limited to shared experience. Paul writes, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose,” (Romans 8:28). Paul’s idea is not that we must suffer the same thing as another person in order to minister the hope and comfort of God. What is needed is an experience of deliverance from affliction, comfort in grief and restoration in brokenness. These experiences remind us of who God is and what He can do. They are a silent testimony of healing and wholeness that enable one to invite God to be present in the pain of another.
Read more at https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/5-biblical-reasons-why-god-allows-suffering.aspx#UK3ER2cFcAEmSMEz.99

SYMBOLS & St. Augustine’s evangelistic rationale for depicting Christ on the crucifix

by Phil Kozlowski, Aleteia, 3/22/19.

St. Augustine in the 4th century offered a perfect summary of why Catholics use a crucifix.

The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory. In taking upon himself the death that he found in us, he has most faithfully promised to give us life in him, such as we cannot have of ourselves.

He loved us so much that, sinless himself, he suffered for us sinners the punishment we deserved for our sins. How then can he fail to give us the reward we deserve for our righteousness, for he is the source of righteousness? How can he, whose promises are true, fail to reward the saints when he bore the punishment of sinners, though without sin himself?

Brethren, let us then fearlessly acknowledge, and even openly proclaim, that Christ was crucified for us; let us confess it, not in fear but in joy, not in shame but in glory.

Read more at … https://aleteia.org/2019/03/22/why-do-catholics-use-crucifixes-that-show-jesus-on-the-cross/

SPEAKING & Your Audience Tunes Out After 10 Minutes. Here’s How To Keep Their Attention.

by Carmine Gallo, Forbes Magazine, 2/28/19.

Cognitive scientists have a reasonably good idea of when audiences will stop listening to a presentation. It occurs at the 10-minute mark...Neuroscientists have found that the best way to re-engage a person’s attention when it begins to wane is to change up the format of the content.

1. Introduce Characters

There aren’t too many commercially successful one-person plays. Few people can pull it off…. include members of the team. Hand off a portion of the presentation…

2. Show Videos

If you can’t bring someone else along, do the next big thing and show a video… Apple does this with nearly every keynote when they show a video of chief designer, Jony Ive, describing the features of a particular product…

3. Use Props 

Steve Jobs was a master at using props. In 1984, Jobs didn’t have to pull the first Macintosh out of a black bag like a magician. But he did. In 2001, Jobs didn’t have to pull the first iPod out of the pocket of his jeans. But he did. In 2008, Jobs didn’t have to pull the first MacBook Air from a manila envelope. But he did. Props are unexpected. They get attention.

4. Give Demos

Former Apple evangelist and venture capitalist, Guy Kawasaki, says demonstrations should start with “shock and awe.” In other words, don’t build up to a crescendo. Show off the coolest thing about your product in the first sixty seconds…

5. Invite Questions

A presentation shouldn’t be about you. It’s about your audience and how your product or service will improve their lives… Change it up by pausing and inviting questions before you move on to the next section.

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2019/02/28/your-audience-tunes-out-after-10-minutes-heres-how-to-keep-their-attention/#15109dee7364