Month: June 2023

8 Axioms of Church Staff Hiring

10 Things That Require Zero Talent

8 Axioms of Church Staff Hiring

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.”

– Larry Bossidy (Retired CEO & Author)

One of the facts of leading a growing ministry is that you are going to have to get really good at hiring a great team. In fact, as the church grows, often the core leadership team will spend a large portion of its time in simply acquiring a fantastic team to push the mission forward. Ministries that scale their impact end up requiring a team of people to get the work of the church done, and therefore, you need leaders who think carefully around the hiring process.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of hiring some amazing ministry leaders. These leaders pushed the ministry forward and took us to brand new levels. There is a deep satisfaction in surrounding yourself with a team of people more qualified than yourself to help make the ministry grow. As I reflected on what went right during the hiring process for the top leaders (and what went wrong on people that didn’t work out), I’ve pulled together eight truths for you to reflect on in your ministry hiring.

Past performance is the best indicator of future reality.

When we’re hiring people for roles at our churches, we’re usually in a blissfully euphoric mood that can impair our judgement. The candidates we’re talking to are on their best behavior, saying what we want them to say, and since we feel the pain of the open role we tend to believe them. Church leaders are typically optimistic and hopeful individuals, compounding our ability for self-delusion when it comes to any particular candidate’s qualifications for the role.

Simply put, we imagine skills and abilities that aren’t present in the candidate because we want them to work in our organization. We need to force ourselves to look closely at what they’ve actually done and accomplished in their past roles and graph those results onto our church.

Use performance-based questions to explore what they have actually done and soberly consider if that exact level of performance was achieved at your church, would it accomplish what you’re looking for. Development and growth are a bonus, not a guarantee! In fact, their performance will drop in their early days with your church because new relationships and culture take time to acclimatize to.

Anybody is not better than nobody.

I’ve made this mistake more than once and the pain has stung every single time. We had an open position that we needed to fill for a long time. We struggled to find the candidate from a number of people who applied. After a while, we started to think that the type of person we needed didn’t exist in the world. Slowly our standards for what we wanted to hire started to erode.

Eventually, we got to the point of convincing ourselves that anybody is better than nobody. We begrudgingly hired a candidate that we knew didn’t have all the past experiences we were looking for, but we told ourselves that it would be ok and that they would be a quick learner. However, this logic never works out!

Your church is surviving without the role currently filled, but a bad hire can actually do a lot more damage than an open role. Resist the temptation to prematurely fill open positions at your church with candidates who would not excel in those roles.

The pain of extracting a misplaced staff member is multiple times worse than the discomfort of an open role in your organization.

Internal to consolidate culture. External to change culture.

When you hire a member of your team from within the church, you reinforce the culture that already exists. However, when you hire someone external to your church, you push the culture in a new direction. Over the years, I’ve heard church leaders claim with pride that they just “hire from within” as if that is the badge of honor we’re all driving towards. This is a sure sign that the church will simply perpetuate its existing approaches and systems. If we’re honest though, there are areas of our ministry that need a new sense of life and vision, and those areas should be considered for “external” hires.

The degree of change required in the area that needs change is an indicator of how “external” a hire should be. If you are looking to make tweaks to an area, possibly bringing in someone from a different department within the church would be the best; however, if a ministry needs a complete overall change, you need to go and find the best person from anywhere in the world and get them into that role.

Staff expands.

In 20 years of ministry, I’ve never had a manager come to me and say that they believe the next best move for their area is to reduce the total number of staff in that ministry.

Staff generates the need for more staff. Managers who can keep a close eye on their “head count” and resist the urge to just expand their staff are rare, but a vitally important group in your church.

This is related to the “Parkinson’s law” that states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. People find a way to make jobs more complicated and time-consuming, which in the end requires more staff to get the same amount of work done.

Time stewardship is a real issue in most church staff teams. We need to find ways to get more done with the same number of staff members as a stewardship and care for the time that the Lord has given us.

People move towards where they are from.

Hiring people “from away” can be a source of richness in the life of your community. Team members from another state or even country can add a tremendous amount to your ministry because, by definition, they add cultural diversity to your organization.

However, over time people will generally move back towards where they are from. Family is a strong pull for people over the long arch of their lives. In fact, on average people live only 18 miles away from their parents during their adult years of life.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be hiring people from far away, but just be aware that the stress these individuals put on themselves is abnormal behavior and might result in them opting to move closer to home in the long run.

Hire chemistry & character. Develop competency.

You’re going to spend at least 2,000 hours a year around these people; so, ensuring that these are solid relational fits is important. Although you don’t want your staff team to feel like a “frat house”, it should be a fun and enjoyable experience to be a part of.

Moral failures because of character flaws are a more common reason for ministry implosions than ineffective or incompetent leadership. Make sure that through the hiring process you probe the character side of the candidate. Find ways to explore the subtler side of what it means to work in a ministry.

What we “do” in the ministry isn’t rocket science and can be developed while someone serves with your ministry; however, chemistry and character are typically more fixed traits and will settle out over time.

“Really wanting to work at the church” isn’t a qualification.

I’ve been easily flattered (and ultimately fooled) by candidates who are really excited to work at our church. Their enthusiasm is infectious when I’m meeting with them and I find myself wanting to work with them simply because they want to work with me. Please resist this pitfall! Enthusiasm for the mission and community of the church is needed, but it’s not an overarching qualification that should blind you to the other aspects of the candidate’s background.

Often times, this sort of enthusiasm will be even more evident in candidates who are considering joining your church from marketplace roles. You need to explore this particular enthusiasm closely because often it’s rooted in a love for what the church “does”; however, working within the ministry is a much different experience than benefiting from the ministry. Everyone loves the sausage but not particularly the sausage factory!

Hire ministry leaders, not ministry doers.

What are you actually looking for your staff to accomplish in your ministry? It’s important that you are crystal clear on the objectives you are looking to fulfill through this role. My firm conviction is that every staff member needs to be leading the ministry and not just directly doing the ministry. We’re hiring people who can mobilize, train, and release volunteers into the ministry rather than them doing the work directly. You are hiring ministry leaders, not ministry doers! Paul said it clearly in his letter to the Ephesian church:

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[a] and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”

– Ephesians 4:11-12

As you are interviewing candidates, focus on the information they provide about the teams they built and leaders they equipped rather than what they did personally. You’re looking for leaders who can scale their impact through leading teams of people to reach the ministry goals and objectives. Don’t get caught being overly impressed with people who tell you harrowing personal stories of their one-on-one impact on the people your church is serving.

Written by Rich Birch

Article taken from here.

Find more ministry blogs at MinistryJobs.com/blog

Not Your Typical Family Ministry Blog!

Not Your Typical Family Ministry Blog!

Not Your Typical Family Ministry Blog!

If the title didn’t give it away, I don’t know what will! Instead of writing a blog a few paragraphs long that has insight from someone you have probably never heard of before, I thought it would be great to hear from our audience on MinistryJobs.com. That’s right, we want to hear from YOU! As our parent company Froot Group Staffing just announced the launch of their Family Ministries department, we want to learn more about what ministry workers in family ministries are dealing with on a weekly basis and how you are overcoming obstacles!

As our organization is set up to help candidates in transition find a new fit, we also want to resource those that are in ministry. Our goal is to learn and grow in our understanding of how you as a family ministry staff member at a church deal with certain issues within your ministry.

We will not publish your answers, but discuss them internally in order to coach our candidates better. Read through some of the questions below and feel free to submit some or all answers to the questions we are curious to learn more about through this link: Family Ministries Questionnaire!

Question #1: “What have you found that gives you the most life in the everyday grind of ministry?”

Question #2: “What has been the most influential book for you as a leader in family ministry?”

Question #3: “If there have been times in ministry that you thought of quitting, what has kept you from stepping away and continuing to press on?”

Question #4: “How have you worked to create a ‘Jesus first’ family ministry instead of a ‘fun first’ ministry in a culture that has a hard time finding Jesus attractive enough to make the ‘main thing’?”

Question #5 “What advice would you share with someone stepping into kids or student ministry for the first time?”

Thank you very much for taking the time to send us your thoughts on these questions. We are praying for you in your ministry as you continue to serve on the battlefield for the Kingdom!

Written by: Alex Purtell

Alex is the co-founder of Froot Group, a worship and family ministries staffing company.

Find more ministry blogs at MinistryJobs.com/blog

5 Tips for the First 30 Days with a New Staff Member

5 Tips for the First 30 Days with a New Staff Member

5 Tips for the First 30 Days with a New Staff Member

You finally were able to hire that new staff member.  You wrestled the budget to find the money . . . you sifted through all those applicants . . . you processed this candidate through the maze of conversations needed to bring them on.  Now this person is about to get started . . . how can you set them up for a win in that first month?  Here are five things that we’re trying to live out at Liquid Church as new staff comes on.  (Dave Brooks has done an amazing job leading this process!)

  • Set The Table // Do they have all the tools they need to get the job done?  Make sure their technology and office space is all ready to receive them.  Nothing says “you’re not welcome” more than not being ready for them to arrive.  (A friend of mine has had business cards printed for new staff members and brings them to the “job offer” interview when the conversation changes to asking them to join.)
  • Schedule Their Time // They won’t know how to spend their first few days . . . so schedule that out for them.  Set the meetings with the people they need to be talking to.  Make sure those people are ready to lead the new staff member in what ever conversations they need to be having.
  • Foster Friendships // Point them in the direction of people that you’d like them to build friendships with.  At Liquid, we assign every new staff member a “mentor” . . . someone who isn’t a supervisor but a peer in the organization (not necessarily from the same area) who we think that new staff could benefit from friendship with.
  • Communicate Culture // Chances are the new staff member was able to parrot back enough about the culture of the church to get hired . . . but don’t assume that they know about the “why” and “how” of your ministry.  Give them key messages to listen to.  Hand out a few books for them to consume.
  • Consider Their Family // The first few months on your team will be effected by how their spouse is feeling about the new role.  Somewhere in your process you need to check in with the spouse to make sure that they are transitioning in this change.  Even if the person is a long time member of the church . . . it’s a huge change joining the ministry staff.

Written by Rich Birch

Article taken from here.

Find more Ministry Blogs at MinistryJobs.com/blog

5 Traits of a Great Boss

How to Ask for Raise

5 Traits of a Great Boss

John Maxwell and Kevin Myers are two great bosses I have worked for in my ministry career. They are both strong visionary leaders, creative, empowering, and love God. I’m grateful for them both.

I have also known many bosses that other people work for who are a cross anywhere between Mr. Rogers and Godzilla. Extremes I know, but bad bosses are unfortunately all too common.

Over the years, I’ve interviewed hundreds of church staff and asked them what they want in a great boss. This post reflects those answers and my experience.

Before we tackle the main list, here’s a quick outline of the basics that everyone has said they valued, and essentially assumed:

  1. Love Jesus – humble spirit, servant heart, hears God’s voice
  2. Continued Growth – secure, learning, practicing leadership
  3. Strong Character – Trustworthy, living by same standards that they expect, discipline to do the right thing.

5 Traits of a Great Boss:

1) They know how to manage the tension between making things happen and making staff happy.

As a boss, you are not responsible for the happiness of your staff. Each of us is responsible for our own happiness. But some bosses try anyway. Good heart, bad leadership. There is a fine line between the leader who gets results and the one who just wants everyone happy.

  • Boss extreme type one: all about the relationships.
  • Boss extreme type two: all about the results.

The truth is you must lead in the reality of both ends of the tension. The team needs to work and play. They need to be challenged and cared for; getting the balance right is tough. They need courage to make the tough decisions and..

2) They know what they’re doing!

It’s difficult to lead if you’re not really good at what you do. Staff will lose confidence in you, and even in themselves if it becomes evident that you struggle with your role as a supervisor. If you are struggling, get some professional leadership coaching as soon as possible.

  • Let’s just say it; great bosses are smart.
  • Great bosses are competent.
  • Great bosses are out in front and lead the way.

3) They are committed to the development of their team.

Great bosses take the time and utilize the resources to invest in the personal development of their team. They want more for their staff than from them.

  • A great boss genuinely cares about the people on the team and treats them with respect.
  • A great boss pays careful attention to leverage strategic and practical coaching moments.

4) They intentionally and consistently empower the team.

Effective development requires empowerment. Therefore, it is important to grasp and practice the art of empowerment entirely. I’m giving a brief outline here, but it deserves much more time and attention than the length of this article can offer. Let me refer you to my book Amplified Leadership for a more thorough treatment on empowerment.

  • Trust with responsibility
  • Train for competency
  • Unleash with authority
  • Communicate for clear expectations
  • Believe in for maximum results

5) They know how to create an environment conducive to success.

Seeing the big picture, knowing what’s going on, anticipating and knocking down problems, as well as setting the stage for maximum wins is at the core of what a great boss does.

  • A great boss knows how to read the playing field.
  • A great boss knows the direction the team should be headed, and how to get there.
  • A great boss knows how to create positive team morale.

Written by Dan Reiland

Article taken from here.

Find more Ministry Blogs at MinistryJobs.com/blog

What Senior Pastors Really Want from their Worship Leaders

How to Nail a Phone Interview

The relationship between Senior Pastors and Worship Leaders can be one of the most difficult to manage.

Though they are both called to shepherd the sheep, they have very little overlap in their function. Of course, some senior pastors were previously worship pastors, but very few worship pastors have been the lead pastor of a church. This makes it difficult for them to really understand one another.

But when you see a healthy senior pastor and worship leader relationship, it’s incredibly rewarding for both individuals and the congregation.

When I was growing up my dad was a “minister of music,” as they were called, for nearly 25 years at 3 very different churches. I’ve now worked full-time under three pastors and university presidents in 13 years and have seen and experienced both what I would describe as healthy and unhealthy working relationships. I’d like to share a few things I have learned and observed.

First, two stories.

A number of years ago there was a transition of senior leadership at the place where I was leading worship and suddenly I had a new boss who couldn’t have been more different from my previous one. Because of the transition there was little time for getting to know one another and sharing vision or ministry philosophy.

So I continued with “business as usual.”

I chose songs, set lists, and volunteers like I always had. After our second service together he called me into his office and asked how I thought worship was going. I responded with something like “solid” or “good”. I then explained a few of the extenuating circumstances that kept it from being an A+, as I began to sense his displeasure.

He responded by telling me that if I wanted to “stick around here” I would need to be “a lot more anointed than this.”

When I pressed for clarity, his advice was to “pray more.”

Meeting adjourned.

Full disclosure, I did “stick around” for a few more years and our relationship grew as we learned to love one another and work well together, but the start was less-than-ideal and caused me far more anxiety than was necessary.

Rewind 15 years…

My dad worked at a diverse megachurch with a thriving choir, orchestra, and production team. It was the place where I discovered my call to the church and my love for music. Rehearsals were challenging, yet fun. The people were authentic and full of life. In my head it was a dream church; it was the perfect scenario to be a pastor’s kid.

But a few years later, when I was in college, I learned that my dad’s experience as a staff member was quite different…

Almost weekly he and the other staff pastors dreaded the meeting where they were sure to be met with a list of unacceptable critiques from Sunday morning. One by one the pastors left: the youth pastor, the children’s pastor, the outreach pastor, and eventually my dad followed suit.

I tell these two brief stories because they highlight the disconnect that is often found between senior pastors and worship pastors.

Senior pastors, like most leaders, have particular desires for what the organization should look like. And yet, so many are unrealistic or go uncommunicated. But, unless the relationship is otherwise strong and healthy, there’s not typically an appropriate opportunity for worship pastors to give their bosses this kind of feedback.

So what can we do? How can we begin to move toward a place of health that will bring support and security to the relationship?

Here’s what I know: no worship pastor ever takes a job thinking it will end with them being bitter or resentful toward the senior pastor. Yet it happens often.

There’s plenty that I think would be helpful to share with senior pastors, but you can only change your attitude and behavior. And if you do I’m almost certain it will begin to corrode the barriers that impede a healthy working relationship.

There are two common hurdles that immediately come to mind when I think about the unique relationship between worship pastors and senior pastors.

The first hurdle: many worship leaders seem to only be concerned about their specific ministry.

You may be thinking, “well of course I care about the whole church!” But are you visibly and verbally revealing that? Admittedly, the worship pastor’s job is more technically demanding than it’s ever been, so it’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of software and PCO without realizing it. There’s no shame in that.

But your senior pastor can’t do that. They typically don’t have the luxury of focusing on one or two things. The senior pastor’s job is to oversee the whole organization while writing sermons, meeting with people, resolving staff conflict, etc.

How can you take steps to show a genuine interest in the whole organization?

How can you see the big picture rather than just through the lens of your department and your needs? When you’re sitting in staff meeting and the conversation turns to children’s or men’s ministry do you tune out? Pay attention, be engaged, offer helpful thoughts and solutions. Learn to be a true “team player.” Please don’t be a diva – you’re giving the rest of us a bad rap!

Maybe in your context the staff is large enough where you’re not expected to branch out beyond the worship ministry…If so, know that it’s a luxury.

Even still, inherent within your vocation is the call to pastor the people in the pews. And you can always grow as a pastor.

If the overall goal of the ministry is to pastor and disciple people, then model and embody that, first within your ministry and then beyond to people in the congregation. Look for opportunities to lead at a women’s ministry event or share a devotion at an outreach.

The more you’re exposed to the rest of the organization, the more in touch you’ll be with the people and the burdens that they’re carrying. And the more in touch you are with people, the more pastorally aware you will be when leading worship.

The second hurdle: poor communication.

Many worship pastors feel competent singing, but rather incompetent speaking interpersonally. Some are intimidated by their senior pastor. If you are and feel you don’t know where to begin building the relationship, then formulate questions around topics that you know will matter to him or her and be ready for an opportunity to ask them.

Nothing breaks down relational barriers like taking a genuine interest in another person’s life.

Senior pastors also need verbal support and encouragement.

Encourage your pastor when they lead a meeting well, preach a great sermon, are generous with their time or money, make a favorable decision to a request, etc. A specific word of encouragement can go a long way. Do these for your senior pastor even if he or she doesn’t do them with you. Prayerfully embody what you wish were reciprocated.

Maybe the relationship is great on a personal level, but the working relationship is strained and murky.

Are you clear on exactly what your senior pastor desires from the worship ministry? Do you know what a “win” looks like? If you’re unclear then ask for a meeting, be specific about what you’re wanting to talk about so he or she won’t feel blindsided.

If you ask for a meeting, come with specific questions.

Don’t say, “what are you looking for?” or “what do you want?” There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but it forces your pastor to try and articulate vision in ways that you have to translate for your ministry. It might be more helpful to come and ask, “do you like it when I open service like ___ or would you prefer that I ___?” Or “Last Sunday I chose ___ song because of ___. Did you think that was a good decision? In the future, how could I approach a situation like that?”

Communication is a skill that you must learn. If you don’t you’ll have either a short tenure or a frustrated tenure…possibly both.

This blog was primarily dedicated to worship pastors, but there will be a second post to follow with thoughts that I think could be helpful for senior pastors.

Before you leave this moment it might be appropriate to take a minute to pause (especially if your working relationship is tenuous) and pray. Something like, “God help me to do what I can to bring change rather than wishing that he/she would change first.” It might just go a long way.

Written by Jonathan Swindal

Article taken from here.

Find more Ministry Blogs at MinistryJobs.com/blog