Dan Carlton on A New Start for Legacy Churches

One of the biggest challenges for legacy churches is budgets and ministries that have been driven by programs, facilities and personnel.  Many of us have recognized this challenge for years but have struggled with changing the conversation from programs, facilities and personnel to mission.  If you need evidence of that – talk to the personnel chair that has dealt with a long-standing employee, the facilities chair that has to deal with an ever growing list of deferred maintenance issues or the staff members who has to continue to show they “value” a programmatic ministry that has long outlived its effectiveness.  We need to start having these conversations today.   

Personnel – What percentage of total income should be allocated to personnel in the post-pandemic world?  I had been leading my current church to get down to around 45% (most legacy churches I’m aware of are 60+%).  Now I’m thinking we need to get down to 35%.  Many of us will not get a choice in that matter.  The economic downturn and the loss of donation income will require some quick and stressful decisions to be made.  We usually don’t do those well.  Let’s be upfront with our staff and be as graceful as we can with their exits.

Dan Carlton is pastor at Culpeper Baptist in Virginia. | (Courtesy of Dan Carlton)

Let’s also understand that the church has a mission that is greater than being an employment agency.  For far too long we have let under-performing staff continue because we didn’t want to have the hard conversations or we didn’t know what else the staff member would do.

Mergers This conversation was happening before the pandemic.  We need to get more focused on it now.  Every legacy church should empower a team of folks to look at opportunities to merge with other congregations.  This will help us control fixed expenses but also bring much needed creative conversations to ministry possibilities.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Dan Carlton