Dec 26, 2014

A Tool to Determine How Many Children's Ministry Staff Members You Need

"How many paid children's ministry staff members should our church have?"  I often get asked this question by churches.  Here's my answer.

Our church is multi-site which means we have campuses of all sizes.  We are also opening new campuses on a regular basis.

Because of this, we created a template that helps us determine how many paid children's ministry staff members we need at existing campuses and at new campuses when we launch them.

Below is the template.  This is the results of lots of discussions, brainstorming and trial / error.  You will see that it's based on ratios.  It has been a huge help to us and takes the guess work out of how many staff we need.

I trust it will be a help to you and your ministry.  Feel free to download it if you'd like.  Blessings.


This is great! Thanks for sharing. Since I'm full time, and we are between 300 and 500, I'm using all 42 hours you allotted. Do I need to not count my hours and only consider volunteers/staff?

Great question David. Yes, the hours include all full-time staff. But if you are between 300 and 500 it might be time to add a part-time person. Hope that helps. Blessings.

It does. Thanks Dale. Hope you have a great new year!

Any equivalent for Student/Youth Ministry?

Great post by the way!

Also, I'm assuming this means you are getting production help from a central team right? What does that look like?

Great question J.C. Yes we have a Core team that supplies resources, curriculum, etc. There are 3 full-time people on the core team. Don't have anything yet for Student Ministry.

Love this! My question....we are seeing church as a 'every other week or once a month' for families. Therefore, our numbers of children are around 800 for the month, but about 300 for a given weekend. Which number do you look at when figuring out your staffing structure? The 800 because that's how many children you are actually caring for? Or the 300 that you see on a given weekend.

Also - what about going to multi-site? What recommendation would you give on how to structure the CM department to prepare for the new site?

Thanks in advance for you time!

Hey Bethany. Thanks for the interaction. The number is the average number of kids each weekend. For multi-site if you type that in the search window at the top of the blog it will pull up everything I've written on that. Have a great day. Blessings.

Thanks for the tip on multi-site postings! Very helpful. I wrote my above question incorrectly. I meant 800 kids we see in a year, not a month. We see 300 kids on the weekend, but serve 800 kids throughout the year. Do you still look at the number of children for one weekend of the number of children you see in a year to determine the appropriate staffing ratio. Thanks!

We look at average attendance year-to-date. Once a campus starts averaging a higher average of kids on the scale we add additional staff as mapped out.

Hi Dale;
Wanted to ask some clarifying questions about the template. When you say "coaches," what exactly do you mean? And are you including a children's pastor in the template? I see that you have an associate children's director listed, so is that the children's pastor? Thanks for your time and for the graphic. It looks awesome!

Hey CarrieAnn, a coach is a person who leads the volunteers at a service hour in an area like preschool, elementary, etc. The associate director would be the lead person at the campus. Hope that helps. Blessings.

Great info! Question about the volunteers. Is that number the number of total volunteers you have or your average number for the weekend.

Average number on a weekend.

Another question:) What formula did you use to come up with how many hours were needed when you had a certain number of volunteers and kids. Hope this makes sense.

We based it on scope of care. For us that is 1 FT person for 100 kids.

This is a really cool tool. I'm wondering how best to work through this: We average about 800 on a weekend, but the number of kids in our programs I'm responsible for numbers about 450. Which level should I be looking at?

Steve-O ideally you would have 1 FT staff person for every 100 kids who attend on the weekend.

Hi, thank you for this post and chart! It is very helpful! Can I ask what your overall staffing percentage is as a Church? We try to stay around 30% which plays a role in how many staff I'm aloud to hire. Just wondering where your church is at. Thank you!

That's a great question Peter. As far as budget % I am not sure. A guestimate is 40ish%.

Would this be the same for student ministry or in an family/ng structure?

Hey Aaron, I haven't translated this into student ministry world - I know our student ministry staffing is not this low of a ratio due to needing less volunteers, etc.

So great! Thanks for sharing this as I have many conversations with senior staff about appropriate amount of CM staff. In a previous comment you answered that there are 3 FT core team. Just to clarify, are they NOT included in this graph? Is it the 3 FT core/central then 1:100 in addition to those? Thanks.

Hi Carol. No this does not include the core team. This is at the campus level.

Hi Dale! As all have said, this is a very helpful tool. What tools/research did you use to come up with this structure? We are multi-site with 3 sites. How do you break down the Core Staffing Team? We currently have an average of 310 kids between all three sites, and I am the only paid person. And I am PT. So, I am brainstorming with our Lead Team on optimal KidMin staffing structures. Thanks for your research! While we are driven by Volunteer Staff, KidMin is a big job that takes a lot of time. Thanks for your help!

Hey Jalonn, great to hear from you. This structure came from our own trial and error, working through what would work best, etc. For us this was the ideal structure although at times we didn't always hit it, it was what we aimed for. If you are the only person on staff and are PT for over 300 kids per week, I would be asking for some help. It is very hard to care for that many kids and volunteers with limited hours. Obviously the goal is to equip volunteers to lead other volunteers and care for the children but that also takes hours to invest in them. I have a webinar coming up April 6th that will address some of these issues and make the case for why it's so important to staff your kidmin team well. You can get more info about it here on the site at this link -

Dale, I couldn't agree more!! They have heard my plea many times :) I've been on different teams and have given my own experience. Being multi-site puts a whole new twist on things, as you know. I'm working on gathering stats and information to help communicate with our lead team. Thanks for the link. I'll include this in my research. -Jalonna

Last question. How do you break down your Core Team? I'm proposing a few different staffing structures and wondered what worked best for your team.

Core team supplied vision, direction and support for campuses. Campus teams build team and executed the weekends with excellence.

Would you be able to share a job description or what a typical week looks like for your Core Team members? We are looking at revamping our structure and feel like we may have too much overlap/mixing of campus and core positions. It seems we are pretty on point for our campus staffing, but many of them also carry network type roles. I feel like it may be starting to create tension between campuses.

Hi. Per the previous post - I do offer consulting if you'd like to talk about your core / campus staffing. Here is more info at this link -

Is the attendance number for single hour? We have a 2 hour am structure. Worship 1 hour and groups at the other. Many of the kids are there 2 hours. Should I go by total number of actual kids or total attendance both hours?

Hi Pastor Mike, the attendance number would be based on actual number of kids who are there.

Are your current staffing trends still following this model? Have the numbers changed? Thoughts on if this these numbers are still relevant?

Great question Bdough. Yes I still follow this model. It is the best scenario. But reality may say no due to budget, limited positions, etc.

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