Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What I Have Learned About Hiring Staff

1. Never hire someone to a "position."
When looking for ministry staff and team players, don’t hire a Youth Pastor, an Administration Pastor, Worship Pastor, Children’s Pastor, Executive Pastor or any other “position” for that matter. Instead, hire a "PERSON" - a person who loves your church, identifies with your mission, fits on your team and can TAKE ON a VARIETY OF ROLES.

For example, PCC doesn’t need a youth pastor, per se. But what it does need is a "person" who is "passionate" about youth, who can connect with youth, and has the ability to gather and lead other leaders who have a passion for youth. We have such a person. The title and position are secondary to passion and performance. And if that person can do that task, plus wear three other hats, then that is a healthy staff member for any church to have.

PCC doesn’t need an administrative pastor. It needs someone who can read my mind, pick up on unspoken signals, and organize scattered thoughts into an organized plan. It needs someone who will die for the database. It needs someone who can see where we are headed, and allocate resources to get us there quickly and safe. We have such a person - he not only does administration, but "all other assigned tasks" as well.

I could continue with all the other positions in our church, including my role as the senior pastor, but you get the idea. It’s about the PERSON and WHAT he/she BRINGS TO THE TABLE that matters most – not the position you’re tying to fill in the organizational flow-chart.

Titles, positions, and job descriptions are overrated. It is best to forget about them and think instead about aptitude, proven loyalty, personality, charisma, natural leadership, organizational ability, gifting, and a genuine call of God. All staff should wear more than one hat.

2. Choose people who will stay with you for the long haul.

Does that need any elaboration?

3. Never hire staff who are “projects.”
Projects are people who have problems you think you can solve. Hiring people like these is “thinking with your heart instead of your brain” - and is doomed to failure. Sometimes churches will hire someone as an act of kindness while ignoring the demands of ministry that will be placed on that person. Such a person will fail costing you big bucks.

4. If hiring from outside the church, never hire someone who has not served in at least two or three previous churches successfully... and ensure that their departure from their last church was ethical.
Why? Because no one is ever satisfied with their first or second job. Yes, there are few exceptions – but the rare exceptions only prove my point. The vast majority of people find something wrong with their first or second job, no matter how good it is. It is human nature to not appreciate what you have when you have nothing to compare it with. People naturally look for greener pastures and will eventually move on – sometimes causing trouble on their way out.

5. Never hire a hot-shot.
Hot-shots and superstars appear on the surface to get the work done. However, they are difficult to train and typically do not work well with a team. Hotshots build for the short term rather than the long term. They flame-out pretty quickly too.

6. Never hire the least expensive person because you feel you cannot afford better talent.
If you hire a “bargain” you actually hire a liability. They will cost you thousands of dollars in mistakes and/or the loss of people.

7. Whenever possible, hire from within.
I’ve already written about this, May 26, 2008. You may read it in full here: