This is typically the time of year when churches experience staff transitions and changes. Here at Nativity we’re not expecting very many changes at all this year, but still I was thinking about it in view of some of our past experiences. Hiring new staff members is one of the most important things I will ever do as pastor. Here are a few tips I now rely on.
- Do Not Hire Quickly
This is a common mistake in any kind of organization, but perhaps especially so in ministry. It is not at all uncommon for regular turn-over in many church staffs, and sometimes it comes in an unexpected or even unwelcome way. The instinct is to fill the position as quickly as possible, the important becomes the urgent and, in the process it can diminish our sense of discernment about a candidate. We end up just filling holes and hoping for the best, but not really knowing what we’re getting.
- Hire From Within
The best way to avoid this, obviously, is to build a cohesive team with low turn-over. But also, to be constantly on the lookout for new talent so that when the inevitable happens and someone leaves you’ve already got a pool of likely candidates. Never lose an opportunity to discuss staffing with your best volunteers and ministry leaders. Plant the seeds in their imagination, even preach it from the pulpit. Grow your own talent so that when someone does join your team they already get your vision and mission and have already committed to it.
- Hire For Character, Competency, and Chemistry
Sometimes called the “3 C’s” of hiring, they represent what you need to be looking for in any candidate. Of course the successful candidate will have all 3 while a disastrous candidate wouldn’t have any. But think about this: an unsuccessful candidate will probably only lack one, and maybe that doesn’t seem like a big deal. It is.
Your next hire must have good character, that is fundamental to even getting in the door, do not compromise on this one. Then they’ve got it be competent at what they do or propose to do, but on this one there is a some wiggle-room. A person can grow or gain competency, but they’ve got to at least demonstrate the ability to do so. Finally there is chemistry: you’ve got to like the person, culturally they have to be a fit with your team.
Take the time and do the hard work needed to make successful hires. A bad hire is one of the most time consuming, costly mistakes you’ll ever make. On the other hand a good hire can transform your team and bring your church to the next level.