Monday, May 26, 2008

How We Hire Staff

Usually the best staff members come from WITHIN a congregation. In the history of Pace Community Church ALL (but one) of our hired staff has come from within our congregation – (what you might call farm grown). When we realize a certain job is going to require a paid staff position, we look at WHO is ALREADY doing the job as a volunteer. Then we find the funds necessary to pay this person so they may be released from their secular job and enter employment in the ministry. That’s how it works.

WHY HIRE FROM THE MEMBERSHIP? By hiring members we already know they are FINANCIAL SUPPORTERS of their church. We know they have BEEN ACTIVE in the church. We know they SUPPORT THEIR CHURCH and WORK WELL in our unique environment. We’ve had time to OBSERVE THEIR TALENTS and know they are CAPABLE. We know they are LOYAL. We know they are already EMOTIONALLY COMMITTED to the church, and they are not planning to go anywhere. We know their RELATIONSHIP SKILLS that they get along well with others. We’ve had time to see how they RESPOND UNDER PRESSURE. We already know their STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES. We know they LOVE our MISSION and VISION. They are FAMILIAR with our CULTURE. We know they are already RESPECTED by other volunteers. We know they have CHEMISTRY and are enjoyable to be with. Most importantly, we know they have a HEART FOR GOD. Furthermore, lay people who are hired from within ARE NOT EXPECTING TO BE OFFERED A JOB; they know it’s a GOD THING from the beginning and serve accordingly.

We hire for HEART and CHARACTER first – for SKILLS and EXPERIENCE second. Here’s why: We can always teach this person skills and allow them to gain experience. But we cannot easily change their character. If they are contrary and disagreeable as a volunteer, they will be the same on the ministry staff. Can’t have that. Most churches look only at the skills, experience, and education of a prospective staff member that he/she lists on the resume. That’s risky because you could have some big surprises six months later. A persons true DNA eventually surfaces. Bad volunteers make worse staff members.

At PCC we don’t think that it is necessary for all staff members to have been formally trained in seminary. Just because someone has had a few courses on Greek doesn’t quality them for godly leadership.

We are not unusually interested in some hot-shot fresh out of seminary either. We know such a person will NOT stay with us for the long haul. Being his first position, and having no other experience for comparison, he will always be looking for greener pastures elsewhere.

Here are THREE attributes we look for in a prospective staff member:

1. Are they TEACHABLE? Staff members have to be continuously growing – professionally, spiritually, and Biblically. The day you think you have arrived is the day your clock has stopped. Staff members have to be willing to put the best interest of the church over their own iterests.

2. Are they FLEXIBLE? People who have the right kind of heart are flexible. At PCC we change a lot. From week-to-week, from month-to-month, from year-to-year, we change. Our staff understand that what they are doing today they may not be doing next year. They realize that if we launch a new initiative this year, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be allowed to continue the same next year. As our church grows and expands, so will policies, procedures, and positions. We manke one person’s job, split it in two and let someone else take up the slack. Or we may add a second or third responsibility to a person’s current responsibility. Our staff have to understand they will not always get their way. Flexibility is essential.

3. Are they LOYAL? In fact, loyalty is the most important of these three. The staff must function in an atmosphere of trust, knowing that their colleagues will take care of each and stick up for each other. Nothing will destroy the morale of church staff faster than backbiting or backstabbing.

Our future staff members already attend our church.