As a former church administrator, the worst leadership mistakes I ever made were related to staffing… hiring the wrong people. If your church leadership is experiencing frequent turnover, loss of vision and direction, declining productivity and low morale it could be from the negative consequences of bad church staffing decisions.
Here are the four most costly staffing mistakes I see churches make…
1. Ignoring Team’s response to a potential new staff: Not only should we look at the competencies and skills necessary for the job but also consider how they interact with your existing team players. In leadership, your staff feels betrayed when the senior leader brings on a new staff person without consulting the team. Think about it, would you bring a strange person in your home without consulting your spouse or family member?
2. Quick to hire: In my administration leadership days, I found myself constantly telling the senior pastor to put the potential hire in a volunteer status before we commit. This allows both parties to mutually walk away if the relationship does not work. I’m also convinced this process will help the ministry to identify “Difference Makers” and not “paycheck takers.” Decide on a volunteer timeline and stick to it. It’s important to avoid rushing into a decision regarding a new hire, even when the need may be great. Resist the urge to make a quick decision based on the tyranny of the urgent need.
Here are a few things I recommend including in your volunteer timeline:
• Background checks
• Reviewing volunteering
• Prayer and fasting
• Meeting with the candidate’s family – elder/deacon/search committee meetings all should have their place in the timeline
3. Hiring church or family member’s because they need a job: This almost never work. Keep in mind when you hire members and friends the collateral damage is high when you attempt to fire them. If choose to hire family and church members, have a process. Also, involve as many people in the process as you can. Staff members that have a vested interest in the role may include those working closely in relationship with the new person.
4. Hiring Based on Gut feelings: It is important to check how you are feeling when you interact with potential candidates, but hiring someone based solely on a good feeling and not backing it up with their experience, solid references, and a clean background check is a recipe for disaster.
These four costly staffing mistakes in ministry often are the key challenges that will be the difference in your ministry growing or gradually ceasing to exist. This has lead me to set out on a journey to find a solution to prevent high church staff turnover and how to recruit more difference makers and less paycheck takers. Does your ministry leadership style create the environment of paycheck takers or ministry difference makers? Today, many pastors have been blessed with the gift of spreading God’s word. However, most cannot administrate the ministry vision.
Good administration is getting others to work together. You must understand that church administration is a ministry centered on people, not techniques and paperwork. It is an art of management, not manipulation. It requires faith in God, sensitivity, integrity, timing, administrative skills, and resourcefulness.