Welcome back to another episode of the unSeminary podcast. I’m excited to have you with us today as we chat with Dr. Benji Kelley and George Franco of New Hope Church, which has campuses in the Carolinas and internationally.
The church started in 2002 and has grown greatly since then. They have a home in Durham, North Carolina, with 10 campuses. If you were to come to New Hope one Sunday, you would find a warm and welcoming church that loves demonstrating God’s diversity in their congregation.
Today we talk with Benji and George about how they are building their staff team at New Hope.
• Choose staff on the healthy side of their stories. At New Hope, they began to notice a trend where there was a high-turnover rate for their staff. After doing some digging, they realized that some of the staff weren’t ready for the demands and responsibilities of full-time ministry. As George explains, “Everybody’s got a story. When Pastor Benji’s interviewing people, he can see the redemption happening in people’s lives, which is what makes him such an amazing pastor and leader. But sometimes when we hired staff, there were people who weren’t on the healthy side of the story yet.” So this was one of the areas Benji and George began to have honest conversations about, for the health of the larger church.
• Have candid conversations. Benji has tried to be intentional from the very beginning, with his staff and with the church, when it comes to being candid and transparent. One of his mottoes is to “Move toward the funk.” When potential problems are arising, move toward them and have the hard conversations. As Benji says, “At the end of the day we know three things: We love the Lord, we love His church and we love one another. If you have those three things in place, we should be able to talk about everything because we talk about it with respect, with mutual honor, mutual submission to the vision and the church.” Ultimately the staff at New Hope wants Jesus’ church to be beautiful and thrive, so they are willing to have those candid conversations.
• Outside help. Finding and keeping great staff is one of the top problems churches face. New Hope decided to work with a search firm to help them in hiring staff members. Rather than working with several firms, they wanted to find just one that would really take the time to understand their church’s culture. Not only is the organization they found a good fit, but they also send out a rep to come on the campuses. She’s very aware of the culture of the church, which helps immensely when seeking candidates who would fit within that atmosphere. Culture is the biggest challenge when hiring from outside the church, and so finding that company that will work to fully understand the church’s needs and culture is vital to finding great staff.
• Hire based on character. Hiring based on character can be more challenging than one might think in a church. Sometimes there is an assumption from churches that because we’re hiring Christians, character shouldn’t be an issue. Although there are some obvious areas of health and maturity we want staff to possess, we all have those “soft areas” where we can grow. But the question is, will we be teachable and let others speak into those areas? As Benji and George interview potential candidates, they ask specific questions to get a feeling for if these people are open to having someone work on those soft areas with them.
To learn more about New Hope Church at www.newhopechurch.org
This article originally appeared here.