Always Hire The Same Way (part 2 of 4)

Many pastors are not certain how to hire a qualified person for a position. [This is part 2 of Hiring Without Regrets. Click here--> to read previous article.] The key is to develop a process that the church is committed to follow every time without exception. On my team, I emphasize how serious we are about following an effective process for hiring by saying, “Even if Rick Warren applies for a job here he must go through the same process we use for hiring everyone else.” The reason for using that highly unlikely example is that it communicates that if our hiring process is true for Rick Warren, it is going to be true for anyone we consider hiring on our staff.

I learned over the years, that while it’s almost always preferable to hire from within (we will discuss this later in depth), it is also easier to make a mistake hiring from within. This is what I call the illusion of familiarity. The fact that we know someone simply because they are a member of our church can lure us into thinking that we can take short cuts in the hiring process. But an effective hiring process is designed to prevent us from overlooking key issues, sometimes even obvious issues. A number of years ago we needed a staff person for a primary area of ministry. Because this position included a focus on discipleship, a few of the Elders on the Board recommended that we consider a man who was currently serving as an Elder and had a proven passion for discipleship. We spoke privately with the Elder under consideration who definitely wanted the church staff position if it was available. Because this man was so well known, had served many areas of the church faithfully, and had some obvious passion for ministry, we by-passed our normal hiring process. Within 90 days there were serious problems with the Elder we hired as a staff person. One of the unintended consequences was that the new staff person felt a degree of pressure to perform as an employee that he had never felt in all his years as a volunteer. Not only did we nearly rupture our long-term relationship with him, but we nearly lost him as church member.

So, regardless of hiring from within or from the outside, an effective hiring process must be well designed including the recruiting process, screening and interviewing processes, but it also must be non-negotiable every time with every potential candidate…even if that candidate were (tongue-in-cheek) Rick Warren. The following graphic is the model we practice and that I have taught hundreds of church leaders to consider, modify, and contextualize as needed. 

The Stakes Are High

Effective hiring is a critical aspect of building a great church. The right people with the right qualifications can increase ministry effectiveness by bringing valuable experience, needed spiritual gifts, skills, new ideas, and enthusiasm to your church.


Next Week: Recognize The Hidden Investment of Staff

Submitted by Russ Olmon, President of Ministry Advantage