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A Healthy Team Ratio

By New Churches Team

Throughout your church there are a variety of teams. Primarily you have a pastor to staff, but you might also have any combination of staff to volunteers, leaders to coaches, ministry directors to coaches, senior leaders to ministry directors, and so on. The list can be endless. What is the best ratio of leader to team member for any of these roles up and down the leadership pipeline? And should it be different in a volunteer situation?

It Really Is in the Numbers

In the process of coaching over 4,500 church leaders through the leadership pipeline, we have learned that a team of 6 is the most effective team. One of the biggest reasons for this is the number of lines of communication. A team of 6 has 15 lines of communication. When you increase that team to a number of 12 to 15, you create hundreds of lines of communication which is impossible to manage in a healthy manner. There is additional research that shows that you can only have 6 to 7 healthy relationships outside of your family. If your team is larger than this, consider if you are effectively leading that team or if you are simply dumping on them instead of developing them. This ratio is the maximum that anyone in the leadership pipeline, from paid staff to volunteer coach, can effectively develop.

Modeling is Important

The most effective way to teach someone this method of leadership development is by modeling it. Create a top-down model where everyone from the top of your leadership pipeline is directly developing and leading a team of no more than 6 people. You do this by giving away the responsibilities of your ministry through intentional steps. This process isn’t possible if you are doing it with 24 people. It has to be 4 to 6 people to be effective. 

Move from Leading Yourself to Leading Leaders

The reality is, if you have 20 leaders, you can’t care for all of them. They will fall off the radar or you will spend an inordinate amount of time with a select group of them. You need to go from leading yourself to leading others to leading leaders. If you are leading more than 6 people, figure out who the leaders are in your group that can help lead others. Create teams where you are leading the team leaders who are leading the team. The leadership pipeline framework is so important to this method and can scale to any size ministry or church. 

Adapted from the New Churches Q&A Podcast Episode 446: What is the Best Leader to Team Member Ratio? Click hereto listen to more to church planting, multisite, and multiplication tips.


New Churches Team

NewChurches.com wants to help you build a strong foundation by connecting you with top experts in the field of church planting and multisite ministry, and by regularly providing you with the resources, information, and community you need to thrive as you multiply the mission of Matthew 28.


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