When churches hire members

Surveys show 60 percent of lay church staff are hired from within. Here’s how to navigate the risks.

“I often hear people say, ‘A church should never hire its own members,’” says Ann Michel, Associate Director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. She continues, “Yet research I conducted a few years ago on staffing patterns in United Methodist churches found that congregations are increasingly ignoring this adage. Overall 60 percent of lay church staff are hired from within and another 10 to 25 percent joined the congregations where they work once on the job.

As I’ve studied this phenomenon more broadly, I’ve learned just how many churches are thriving through the efforts of homegrown staff. And I’ve come to see the growing number of church members stepping into more significant ministry roles as an act of the Spirit to renew the church.

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