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What We Love Makes a Difference
By: Bill Easum

Lately Iíve been doing a lot of thinking about why people tend to worship wooden or brick idols.  As if that isnít enough, Iíve been pondering why people have more an affinity for things than for one another.  And as if that isnít enough, Iíve been wondering why Christians seem to worship their buildings more than they do Godís mission given to them to disciple the world.

What got me thinking along these lines was a consultation I did lately where the church needed to both hire staff and build a new worship center. We know, for example, when a church builds a new worship center, itís not unlikely the church will grow 20-30 percent that first year but only retain around 5% of the growth over the next couple of years.

And we know why churches donít retain more of the people when they build than they doÖthe church doesnít add enough staff to equip and retain the extra number of people. So, whatís the answer?  Add more staff before or while building.

So, I recommended to this church that they add two years of two staff positions into the upcoming capital fund drive. With what we know, it makes sense doesnít it? What do you think they did?

They decided they couldnít afford it. And guess what? Three years from now, they will look back on this decision and say, ďWe wish we had added those two staff positions.Ē 

How do I know this is what they are going to do? Because over the past 25 years Iíve recommended this more than four dozen times. And how many churches do you suppose took the advice Ė six that I can remember? And what happened to most of these churches? They didn't retain more than 5% of their new people.

The conclusion is that people will borrow money for buildings but not for staff, which means they care more about things than people. If youíre planning on building, please add 10 to 20 percent more staff to retain the people. 

Why? Staffing is about relationships as much as it getting things done. The more staff the more relationships. The more relationships the more you retain new people.

Bill Easum is the founder and president of 21st Century Strategies, Inc. a full-service church consulting group since 1987 whose mission is to equip Christians for global impact, www.effectivechurch.com.  

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