Bringing a new staff person (paid or volunteer) onboard is an incredibly important decision. Rich Birch suggests six questions to ask before making such a move. Getting the right person on board and in the right seat can move the church forward. Getting the wrong person can cause great havoc. Please read this carefully!

Originally posted by Rich Birch

Six critical questions to ask before hiring a new role at your church

 “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 (GE COO & Author)

Church Leaders are often faced with the request to hire new staff for various ministries areas. The reality is that every area in most churches could use more staff … our reach is always beyond our grasp and we are presented with lots of areas needing more support. The mere fact that an area wants (or needs) staff support doesn’t mean that we can (or should) hire someone to support that area … every ministry within the church could plead the same desire. We need to critically think before we consider hiring new staff for any ministry area at our church. Here are some questions to use internally or with your team to think through whether or not to hire that new staff position.

  • Have we maximized volunteers in this area? // Sometimes we hire staff in churches to avoid having to do the work of engaging more volunteers. If we can’t demonstrate that we’ve done everything we could with volunteers in this area we shouldn’t hire staff to solve the issues being presented.
  • How does this role push us closer to our mission? // Can you draw a direct line between this role and what you are attempting as a church? If you can’t … hesitate in hiring. Don’t let this question just be a “flaky vision talk” sort of exercise … take time to understand how this role will help you become the sort of church you want to become not just someone to relieve immediate pain.
  • Can we delay this hire another 6 months? // What are the dynamics that are so critical at this juncture that we need to make this hire right now? Sometimes taking a few months delay in the hiring process gives us better perspective on what we need to do in an area and helps the new staff member land with greater clarity.
  • Do we have a clear sense of the “wins” in the first 100 days of this new staff member? // Taking time to write about how this staff member would make a tangible difference in the first 100 days after hire is a great practice. Writing out the early wins starts to frame up the conversations we’ll have with the team member when they arrive on staff.
  • What numbers are we seeing that support us hiring this role? // Do we have three times as many students in the youth ministry? Are we meeting our financial goals for the year? Staff need to be attached to some sort of numbers so when they start we can track the difference they are making in our church.
  • How will this role release more volunteers? // We’ve come full circle to the first issue listed above … volunteers. Be very wary if this role isn’t going to be about finding, training and releasing new volunteers. At some point you are going to need roles that don’t release new volunteers but they should the exception … not the rule.