As staff recruiting in the ministry world continues to evolve and become more competitive and sophisticated, churches and recruiting firms have developed a keen sense of red flags during the recruiting process that help indicate whether a candidate is a good fit for your church or not. Those red flags may be a bit different from church to church, but there are many red flags that are fairly consistent across the board.
Sometimes I get nervous when I see a pastor’s number pop up on my phone a few months after we finish a Staffing & Structure Review. A million scenarios (usually worst case) go through my head. I wonder if someone resigned, got sick, refused a suggested move…
However, when one pastor’s name popped up recently, I started smiling.
Take a second to really consider: are your staff satisfied in their roles?
As we all know, the power of any team is multiplied when its members are unified. But too often, church staff teams are marked by division and poorly managed conflict. I hope you haven’t experienced it, but there’s a good chance you will at some point.
We see this all the time: church staff teams are not built for growth. It’s one of several church staffing/structure issues that consistently reveal themselves when my team and I are serving churches across North America.
We typically recommend that church think ahead, designing a future structure that would support the ministry if it were twice its current size. Sticking with your current structures and leadership capacity will get you the same results you’ve always achieved. It takes new structures and increased leadership capacity to achieve new, expanded results. (more…)
About five years before the announcement, Lead Pastor Bill Schroeder at The Chapel in Sandusky, OH started preparing to pass the baton of leadership. He engaged conversations with trusted business leaders and pastors, read the best-selling books, and started planning with the church’s senior leadership team.
“People at our church just won’t volunteer.”
It’s a response we get often to our research on volunteer involvement. We recently found that the average church engages 45% of adults and students in volunteer roles. Many even engage upwards of 71%! However, for many churches, those numbers sound like an impossible dream.
What is the difference among churches with a high volunteer rate? In many cases, these churches have traded a culture of status for a culture of service.
One of the most common lids to growth in a church is structure. It can free you up to move toward the vision that God has given your church or it can chain you to the past. Either way, it’s your choice. But how do you know if a restructure is in your future? These helpful tips below will help you get going in the right direction.
Do you have a healthy and effective church staff?
Church leaders across the country consistently contact us after they’ve become frustrated trying to lead ministry with an ineffective structure. We’ve seen firsthand that how a church approaches staffing is a reliable indicator for whether or not it will accomplish its vision.
The biggest church staffing mistake you can make is hiring the wrong person.
Not only does making a bad hire cost your church a lot of money in the long run, it can ruin morale, productivity, and vision-alignment among your church staff.
Some people just have a knack for making good hires. Others have had a lot of years of experience to give them impeccable intuition. If neither of those are you, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to hire great staff. You may just need to learn what not to do.
Here are 6 church staffing mistakes the Vanderbloemen Search Group team has seen church leaders make and how you can avoid them.
1. Involving the wrong people in the hiring process
Before you start a search for a new church staff member, your team should ask, “Who should be involved in making this hire?”
This is probably the most crucial piece. Are the people who wrote the job description and requirements the ones actually doing the interviews? Are you letting both this new hire’s direct manager and fellow team members interview the candidates?
If you have one person writing the job description and another person interviewing, yet the team that this candidate is expected to work with has never met them, how will you know if there is a good culture fit on both sides? We’ve seen churches make this mistake too many times, causing tension, confusion, and a longer search process than expected.
Having the right people on your hiring team is crucial to the success of the new hire.
2. Failing to detail the exact role that needs to be filled
Before you write a job description, can you name the specific needs that this position will fill?
We often see rapidly growing churches that are overwhelmed with new initiatives, so they start hiring because they know they need help. However, they can’t name the areas of responsibility that this new person will take over.
Until you lay out what responsibilities you want this role to take on, it will be hard to make the right hire. You might think you need a Student Pastor, but once you write out all the details you may find out what you have actually needed this whole time is a Family Pastor or a NextGen Pastor.
3. Writing a confusing job description
Is your job description clear and concise, or is it confusing and difficult to read? You might not know what 100% of the responsibilities of this new job will be, and of course there is always room for “other duties as assigned.”
However, you should know what 95% of this position is going to look like so you can properly recruit for the role and set candidates’ expectations upfront. Without a clear vision, objectives, duties, performance benchmarks, and expectations, it will be very difficult to gauge whether or not your new hire is serving your ministry well.
4. Playing the “what if” game
You want to hire the best person you can find for your role, but are you missing out on great candidates because you are waiting for “the one?”
You should always hire slowly with intentionality and prayer, but don’t miss out on the right candidate because you’re comparing them to an imaginary “what if” standard.
Hiring always comes with risk, but if you’re abiding by best practices, seeking outside help, and have a candidate that meets both the cultural and competency pieces you’re looking for, they might be the right candidate for the role.
Candidates are people, and no person is perfect. Don’t miss out on someone amazing because you are waiting for perfection. Don’t let fear guide your search instead of faith.
5. Neglecting to do thorough reference and background checks
A crucial key to a successful hiring process is a thorough reference and background check.
“A misconception about conducting church background checks is that they are intended to ‘dig up dirt’ on a potential hire. This is not the case. The process of conducting church background checks are intended for you to get to know your potential new team member better and gain clarity on whether they would be a good fit for your team or not.”
If you come across anything concerning on a background check, make sure you give your potential new hire a chance to explain. You never know what the circumstances are behind bankruptcy, debt, or a late payment until you sit down and talk about the details with the candidate.
6. Not interviewing the spouse/family of the candidate
If you are in the final stages of the search process, you should definitely be interviewing the candidate’s spouse. You can tell a lot about a person in watching how they interact with their spouse.
Is the entire family ready for a move? You might have a candidate who is thrilled to move for a new position, but you might find out that the spouse and family are not ready for a big move. If you only ever talk to the candidate, you might not know how their family is feeling about a possible transition.
Are you expecting the spouse to be heavily involved in your church? If so, that’s even more of a reason to include them in the interview process and set expectations upfront.