Easum and Tenny-Brittian, Effective Staffing for Vital Churches


Bill Easum and Bill Tenny-Brittian, Effective Staffing for Vital Churches: The Essential Guide to Keeping the Right People. Baker Academic, 2012.

Referenced in: Ministry Staff and Leadership Teams Summary

This is a very prescriptive process for staff development designed for missional effectiveness. The authors’ starting point is that more than anything else, how a church staffs determines how many people a church can reach for Christ.  Although money is tight, having the right staff is critical for churches to address the changing mission field. This is in spite of the fact that there is a shortage of leaders.

Easum and Tenny-Brittian say that “today, the primary focus of an effective staff is the mobilization and empowerment of the entire congregation for the purpose of transforming the surrounding community and the world.” Staff, therefore, must be built for missional expansion, with each staff person overseeing a piece of that mission. This involves a shift from “paid staff who direct volunteers in carrying out programs to paid servants who equip unpaid servants to carry out most of the pastoral responsibilities.” (22)

The authors offer a standardized four-fold process for staff building. It is not based on programming, but on functions, and is thus adaptable to churches of varioius sizes. They outline four core mission processes, and four key staff functions to facilitate mission.

Core Mission Process: Bring people to Christ and into the kingdom
Staff Key Leader Function: Invite through networking, servant evangelism, cultural liaison, and marketing

Core Mission Process: Retain them
Staff Key Leader Function: Connect through worship, follow-up, hospitality, friend-making, and follow-up

Core Mission Process: Disciple them
Staff Key Leader Function: Apprentice through mentoring, small groups, encouragement, and leadership development

Core Mission Process: Send them back out into society
Staff Key Leader Function: Send through gifts and passion, connection, training, and congregation outreach

The authors lay out very specific and practical role descriptions, best practices, and action plans for each Core Mission Process and each Staff Key Leader. They provide tailored instructions for traditional, indigenous, and multi-site churches, with insight on how to do this in any size church.

The Lead Pastor’s function is to lead each of the staff members as they fulfill each core mission process. To help the Lead Pastor, they describe the fundamental shifts necessary overall and Four Transition Points based primarily on size: up to 150, from 200-500, from 500-1000, and from 1,000 and above. For each transition point, they describe the main difficulties, the required changes in skillset, values, and time management, and early signs of failure to progress through the transition.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

Well-staffed churches grow. But how do churches staff for growth in these rapidly changing times when budgets are tight, mission opportunities abound, and there is a growing shortage of qualified pastors, staff members, and church leaders? Two veteran pastors and church growth consultants offer workable solutions that focus on the four core processes vital to church health and growth: bringing people to Christ and the church, retaining them, discipling them, and sending them back out into the world. They also show pastors how to navigate the leadership transitions they must make to become increasingly effective as the church grows. Pastors will learn how to be leaders who multiply leaders and develop a mission-minded staff that does the same. Foreward by Ed Stetzer.


“I read everything Bill Easum writes. Bill writes from reality, not theory, and he understands the local church as well as anyone I know. This book is a winner.”—Rick Warren, pastor, Saddleback Church; author, The Purpose Driven Life

“Effective Staffing for Vital Churches is a tremendous help for church leaders as they strategically think through staffing in order to accomplish the mission of Jesus. Bill Easum and Bill Tenny-Brittian provide us a practical tool that keeps the mission of the church at the forefront of the staffing process. This book provides the research and experience that give leaders confidence to meet the staffing challenges necessary for an effective church. And who doesn’t want to lead a more effective church? I do!”—Dave Ferguson, lead pastor, Community Christian Church; spiritual entrepreneur, NewThing

“Easum and Tenny-Brittian have given the church a much-needed and timely resource with their book Effective Staffing for Vital Churches. It is a practical, step-by-step guide on how to make wise staffing decisions, for the smallest family-size congregation all the way to the megachurch and the multi-site church. I read this book straight through in one day. It helped me to clearly understand many of the poor staff decisions I made in the past, and warned me about some I was considering for the future. I am going to get copies of Effective Staffing for Vital Churches for everyone on our staff!”—John Franklin Howard, senior pastor, Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church, Greensboro, North Carolina

“Bill Easum is a longtime friend of mine, and his new book with Bill Tenny-Brittian shares the key principle of effective staffing. You have to grow as a leader and grow a team as you seek to grow a church. This book provides practical, proven ways to do it.”—Dave Travis, managing director, Leadership Network

“Very few people are as equipped to tackle the subject of staffing an effective church as Bill Easum. His vast experience in the field of ministry leadership equips him well. Don’t hire anyone until else you read Bill’s all-in-one manual. It establishes the right rationale as well as getting down to the details. Stop poor staffing decisions and become an expert by reading Effective Staffing for Vital Churches.”— Brandon Cox, pastor, church planter; editor,

“Every pastor in America knows that we haven’t been taught the skills we need and that leadership is the key to effectiveness. Bill and Bill offer practical and proven steps to address the unique issues for leadership in the twenty-first-century Church. Effective Staffing for Vital Churches refreshingly provides new wine in new wineskins by taking the biblical mandate that leaders equip others for ministry and then plainly showing you how that can become a reality in your context.” Scott Musselman, senior pastor, Our Saviors Lutheran Church, Jefferson City, Missouri

“In typical style, Easum and Tenny-Brittian waste no time and cut to the chase. Effective Staffing for Vital Churches is packed with practical advice, applications, and examples. It squarely confronts the ‘management mentality’ (which prays, ‘Use me O Lord, especially in an advisory capacity’) while offering truly effective leadership management practices. I am especially drawn to the way readers are helped to avoid passive dependence on staff while undergirding the staff’s role of mentoring and transforming people into effective leaders. I commend this book to every church leader who feels called to shift a staff from an ethos of merely ‘taking care of people’ to an ethos of ‘transforming people,’ to every church leader who wants to move from ‘being the saint’ to ‘equipping the saints.’”—Dick Hamm, senior consultant, The Columbia Partnership; author, Recreating the Church

“A rare combination of theological integrity and real-world practicality that pays equal attention to the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the challenges of wise church staffing. The two Bills have delivered the goods in a practical, readable work that pays refreshing attention to scripture and the theological nature of the church in the process. Whether the church staff is a cast of thousands or simply your own unsanctified face in the morning mirror, this book is for you. Laity and clergy alike will profit from the healthy biblical perspective and practical guidance on the creation of a team, a staff, and an empowered laity to nurture a church that grows in the right ways and for the right reasons.”—Bob Phillips, directing pastor, First United Methodist Church, Peoria, Illinois

“In Effective Staffing for Vital Churches, Easum and Tenny-Brittian deeply emphasize that hiring the right staff is not only important for growing churches—it’s critical! This book is a must-read for any church leader who is trying to help his or her church fulfill the Great Commission!”—Bil Cornelius, founding pastor, Bay Area Fellowship; coauthor of Go Big: Leading Your Church to Explosive Growth

“I have been reading through Effective Staffing for Vital Churches. The book is absolutely right on; thank you. I finally feel like I have some clarity for my position as lead pastor and some handles on how to begin to go to the next level. This in itself is invaluable information. Thank you. Thank you, thank you.”—Marty Shea, Village View Church

“I love this. It had me at ‘every church is missional or it isn’t a church!’ The book articulates fresh new insights for church leaders in a post-church-growth culture. Yes, the game has changed! I have been influenced by your work for more than two decades and will continue to be so.” —Mike Slaughter, Ginghamsburg Church

“Effective Staffing for Vital Churches is a priceless gift for any church that would like to move to the next level of influence in the community where they are called to serve. Easum and Tenny-Brittian shine penetrating new light on the critical importance of building a new type of church staff that would bring more people into the church, help retain them, disciple them, and then send them back out into the world to serve in Jesus’s name. This book will also serve to establish a new paradigm for effective churches, where they will be asked to put most of their efforts and resources into ministry and missional efforts that replicate themselves. This book is a must-read for pastors, staff, and lay leaders who are committed to living out the Great Commission!”—Dr. G. Steven Sallee, lead pastor, Cokesbury United Methodist Church, Knoxville, Tennessee

About the Author

Bill Easum has served for the past 25 years as a consultant to congregations and denominations through his firm, 21st Century Strategies, Inc. He is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books and has personally worked to grow more than 700 congregations.

Bill Tenny-Brittian is a partner in 21st Century Strategies, Inc., and is the managing editor and publisher of Net Results, North America’s most experienced church growth and evangelism magazine. He is the author or coauthor of seven books.

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