Single Salary, Virtual Office, Financial Surplus…

Thinking of planting a church? Or, perhaps multiplying one from your congregation? Maybe you pastor a “portable church” that meets in public spaces. The following might be helpful to you. It is an excerpt from an upcoming book series called “How To Hire, Fire and Manage In Between.”

A Single Salary

Consider a congregation that grows to about 400 people with only one paid person—a full-time pastor. This man recruits four people who each give him eight hours a week. These five run a volunteer team of nearly a hundred people.

The church bought  each of these people a dedicated laptop and church-owned cell phone. This way the pastor can count on reaching them whenever he must. He communicates with them, almost exclusively, through email, texts and cell calls.

A String Of Restaurants & Coffee Shops

His “office” is a string of local restaurants and coffee shops. They are where he meets people for team meetings, disciplemaking, counseling, etc.

To spare the families of these key leaders, this pastor stays in touch with the four “staff members” via technology and a monthly meeting. He feels that churches hold too many meetings and runs a very tight ship with little wastage, of time or money.

A Virtual Office

He describes his setup as a virtual office. When he finally leased weekday space, he did it without adding personnel or creating a physical office. He rented inexpensive office space to add a clubhouse to his church along with much needed, through-the-week classroom space. There is no receptionist or admin assistant.

Since they use a public school for weekend church services, the rented room provides a place for midweek training events and service functions like a “crafts group” that sew inexpensive backpacks for children involved in the church’s annual trek to East Africa. A group of senior citizens also use the place to fold bulletins for the weekend. The location houses high schoolers each Friday night and  serves as a daytime hangout for senior citizens who feel uncomfortable meeting at Starbucks.

In The Money

This far into the life of the church, it will still be a couple of years before the church hires the second paid staff member. The pastor is the only employee of this thriving church. Did I mention that the church is doing better financially than the one down the street that prematurely hired staff?

Useful idea? Sound off below. Your comments help others and could trigger a thought that might rescue a failing church or inspire another pastor to new heights.

Thanks for reading!




2 thoughts on “Single Salary, Virtual Office, Financial Surplus…”

  1. Some good ideas in there but some things I think just aren’t “real world.” I planted a church 18 months ago and we run about 215 each week. I office out of Starbucks. We meet in a school on Sunday mornings. HOWEVER- I don’t think one full time pastor with no other paid staff could manage even a church of 200 let alone 400. At the very least, I think you need a few very part time staff members. We have 3 staff members (worship, children, youth) that we pay for about 10-15 hours of work per week and a couple of unpaid staff members. However, the simple fact is that you can call a part time paid staff member to a higher standard than a unpaid volunteer. We also have another full time associate pastor who fund raised part of his salary. That has helped us be pretty financially stable as a new church.

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