Over the last 25 years of being involved in student ministries, I have seen many churches and youth ministries hire the right people and hire people that they wish they could have used a mulligan (a do-over). I have seen new hires make the organization look like a brilliant success and I have seen some hires leaving churches and other organizations wondering what direction they were moving.
Through watching many people get hired over the years at my own church and others and personally being involved in hiring many employees, I have learned a few key dos and don’ts for the hiring process. Listed below are these dos and don’ts and how they apply.
5. Don’t limit your candidates
Many churches and organizations pick a couple candidates without opening up the position to any who might be interested. Of course you want to be cautious and not have 30 applicants for a part-time position, but you also don’t want to limit your choices to one or two individuals. If you limit your candidates, then you may be limiting who God wants on your team.
4. Don’t assume a good volunteer will be a great staff member
Many times when hiring, churches and organizations will hire those volunteers who are amazing at what they do. Although this is probably where a lot of your hires will come from, don’t think just cause they are good at volunteering that they will be a great paid staff member. I have seen many people enter into full-time ministry disillusioned with what it actually takes to run a ministry. They were great volunteers, but not necessarily great staff members.
3. Don’t assume you are hiring the candidate’s spouse when you hire the candidate
I have heard many horror stories of youth pastors and staff members getting hired on and the manager who hired them expecting the employees spouse to be a non-paid full-time staff member. Just remember when you hire someone that you are hiring them to do the job, not two people.
2. Don’t hire emotionally
Many times over the years, I have seen people hire someone because they were getting anxious about filling a spot or because they were emotionally tied to a person and wanted them on the team. Don’t ever allow your emotions to control your actions. Think logically about who you are hiring and make sure they are right fit because of their heart, giftings, personality, vision and strengths, not because they are your best friend.
1. Don’t speed through the process
Hiring the right person usually takes time. Don’t rush the hiring process. If you just stay focused on the long term vision and not the present need, then you will make your decision wisely. Don’t allow your need for someone to make you rush a decision that you will regret later on.
5. Do know the vision of the person you are hiring
Every person has a vision for their life and the ministry they want to do. When hiring someone you must make sure that the vision for the ministry they have is the vision that the church is already shooting for. When visions clash, everyone becomes frustrated and goals are not achieved. Everyone on the team must have the same vision for what the ministry should look like.
4. Do have the person(s) fill out gifts, personality and strengths tests
In order to know if the person will fit well on the team, have the candidate take every test that is useful in knowing their personality, gifts and strengths. Without this knowledge, it is almost impossible to know if the person will fit or not.
3. Do observe the person in action first
I remember one hire we needed to make one time. We were looking at this one individual and on paper the person looked perfect. Over the phone, the individual sounded like a sure fit. So one last move we made was to go and see the person in action. We decided after the visit that the person wasn’t right for our need. That night taught me to always see a person in action first. It will allow you to see how the person interacts with students, leaders and parents. It will allow you to see the person’s skill set played out in ministry. Don’t go on word or reference allow, observe the person, then make your decision.
2. Do hire from within
The most strategic hire for any organization should be from within. If you are in the process of raising up leaders now, then when you need a new staff member later, you will have a few to choose from. Hiring from within assures you that the person knows the culture, values and vision of the church and they are in line with all these. If you have the person in your flow already, then always hire from within.
1. Do seek God’s guidance
It sounds cliché, but it is essential for any church or organization to seek God’s guidance when needing to hire someone. You can make sure the person’s vision is in line, you can have the person fill out any tests, you can observe the person many times, you can even have the perfect person already in the ministry, but if you don’t have God’s blessing and guidance, then the decision will ultimate not be a success.
Hiring someone for ministry is so important. If we are to be responsible with what God has entrusted to us, then we must be careful with how we spend the money that people are faithfully tithing. If we have a need and we do our due diligence to find the right person, then goals will be achieved and lives will be changed. Be smart, hire once, see success.