September 28, 2016

Spans of Care

On today’s Whiteboard Wednesday, Doug McClintic describes “spans of care” in a congregation, and how this system of taking care of one another helps to strengthen and start churches.

The spans of care in your congregation are what holds a congregation together. Through research and experience, there is an ideal ratio between how many people you have in your congregation and how many volunteers are needed to provided the necessary work output and level of care for the people in your congregation.

The research reveals that for every ten people in your congregation, at least one volunteer worker is needed. For example, if there are ten children in a classroom, you usually need one volunteer to work with those children. Or, if you have ten ushers who are working together, you would need one leader to coordinate the ten ushers.

Above that, there should be a volunteer designated as a leader. The leader oversees the laborers and coordinates the work of volunteers. These individuals are considered volunteers themselves but usually have added responsibility. For example, they would be the head usher or the head teacher or a person who provides leadership for the nursery or for a youth class. These people provide leadership to those who are serving in the 1:10 capacity.

In a church, you usually need one leader for every 25 people worshipping in the church. If you have one leader, oftentimes the church is about 25 people with one or two other laborers helping alongside them. As a church grows to 75 people, you would likely need about three leaders, along with other proportionately larger groups of laborers.

Keep in mind that many churches don’t go beyond 75 people because they are unable to get to the next level, which is to recruit a volunteer “leader of leaders”, a person who is not on the church staff but who can oversee other leaders who recruit people to be leaders, and who are able to provide direction and vision and leadership at a fairly high level. They understand the mission, vision, and values of the congregation, and make sure that the mission, vision and values are at the forefront of their service and leadership in the church.

Usually, you need one of these people for every 45 people in order for the church to grow and expand. Referring back to the ratio, 6 or 7 leaders would be needed for a church with around 200 people in attendance.

Ultimately, this is where most churches make a big mistake. They are unable to develop leaders from their volunteer pool and so they begin to hire these leaders. In turn, it begins to cap their growth to the number of leaders of leaders they can hire rather than develop. At Luminex, we have been working on processes for leaders, pastors, and church planters to develop leaders of leaders, which we think is one of the most important parts of developing leaders to start and strengthen churches.

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