Below are the results from the children’s ministry staff survey I created last month. 25 churches participated, which was less than I hoped for. However, it provided a strong data set (1 entry was removed because of inconsistent information).

One thing is for sure, every church is different. A great example of that is how 2 churches that completed the survey both have 1000 kids attend each Sunday. Once church has 4.5 full time equivalent staff (FTE) and the other has 10.75 FTE, or more than double. That’s where being multisite, having additional programming, and other factors play a big role in staffing. Despite that difference, churches in this study were pretty similar regardless of size.

Key Stats

  • On average, churches have 1 full time equivalent staff person to every 126 kids (1:126).
  • On average, churches have 1 volunteer for every 2 kids that attend their main environment (1:2).

Programming

  • 42% have mid-week programming for children.
  • 13% have Sunday night programming for children.
  • 21% have programming before/after services for children. (i.e., Sunday School, classes, etc.)
  • 12.5% have a family experience.

Attendance

  • The average attendance last year, of all the churches, is 1665. (A lot of large churches took the survey.)
  • The average attendance this year, of all churches, is 1789, for 7.4% growth over last year thus far.
  • The average kid’s attendance last year, of all churches, is 296.
  • The average kid’s attendance this year, of all churches, is 337, for 13.3% growth over last year thus far.

Volunteers

  • The average church has 168 volunteers for their main children’s environment.
  • 66% of churches have volunteers that support other children’s ministry environments, and on average they have 63 volunteers towards those efforts.
  • On average, churches have 1 volunteer for every 2 kids that attend their main environment.
  • If you have more than 2.5 kids for every 1 volunteer, you probably feel the deficit there and should talk about how to recruit more volunteers.

Staffing

  • On average, churches have 1 full time equivalent staff person to every 126 kids.
  • The average church has 2.46 full time equivalent staff.
  • The average church has .86 full time equivalent unpaid staff.
  • 25% of churches plan to hire children’s staff within 6 months, and plan to hire .8 full time equivalent staff.
  • 63% of churches said they were “understaffed”, while 37% said they “have the right amount of staff right now”.
  • As I expected, no church indicated they were “overstaffed”.
  • Of churches that indicated they are understaffed, their ratios ranged from 1 FTE to 76 (high amount of staff) kids all the way to 1 FTE to 300 kids (very low amount of staff).
  • The lowest ratio (least staffed) was 1 FTE to 300 kids.
  • The highest (most staffed) was 1 FTE to 38 kids. However, that church may be staffed ahead of growth, as many new churches are, since they have 1 full time person and average 38 kids. If you don’t consider all of the churches that have less than 126 kids (the average ratio in this set), the highest ratio (most staffed) was 1 FTE to 60 kids.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey. There was a lot of helpful information in here. The ratio of one full time equivalent staff person to every 125 kids is in line with what Dale Hudson suggested in this post.

If you have a staff-to-kid ratio that is greater than 1 FTE to 126 kids (like 1 FTE for every 100 kids), and you feel understaffed, you may want to evaluate some things. Are staff spending significant time on other things? Do you do too much in terms of programming? Do you have enough volunteers?

If you have a staff-to-kid ratio that is less than 1 FTE to 126 kids, you have less staff than the average church. If you feel understaffed, you’re probably right. If not, why do you think that is?

In either case, share your thoughts below.