First, be careful not to establish too many departments. Studies show that a manager can only maintain good management practices with about 12-14 people. It is no accident that long before the business world discovered this, God had established 12 as the number of government. So the number of departments should best be limited to 12 and should never be more than 14.
So with that in mind, I often recommend the following departments:
Outreach: This is one of the first that should be developed. It is a vital ministry for growth.
Home Bible Study: If possible, this should be made a separate department from Outreach, as it is a very time-intensive job, but vital for growth.
Visitor Follow-Up: Again, it should be made separate from Outreach as soon as possible. There is much paper-work involved in this job.
Ladies Auxiliary: This is almost always a department, as it can contain many ministries within itself.
Men’s Ministries: This also should be made a department as soon as possible, since it is vital for freeing the pastor’s time. It often contains three areas of important ministry: Men’s Fellowship, Maintenance, and Usher’s Ministry.
Youth Department: This should be made a department as soon as there are enough youth to merit it.
Sunday School: This should always be a department, except in the smallest churches.
New Convert Care: Although sometimes placed within Outreach, it should be its own department as soon as possible.
Bus Ministry: Because this is another time-intensive job, it should be separate from Sunday school or Outreach.
Promotions Ministry: It should also be separate from Outreach, but work closely with it.
Prayer Ministry: This is vital for growth and definitely warrants its own department.
Music Department: While it may not be needed in very small churches, those that can should strive to develop this department as soon as possible.
Each department leader should be given a comprehensive job description.