(This should be the final entry in this little series of postings regarding church staff teams. For a pastor to bring in associate ministers for his church can be a wonderful boost to his work, a blessing to the congregation, and a lift to the associate’s career. But it’s also scary, a real faith venture which can and sometimes does go badly. Here are a few considerations on the subject.)
1. The pastor and congregation of a small church agree it’s time to add a staff member, their first. How should they go about it?
Very deliberately. Cautiously, prayerfully, intelligently.
The most common error I’ve seen pastors in this situation make is to bring in a buddy whom they have known through the years, who is presently without a church. On the surface, it looks like a gift from Heaven, a situation handed them from on high.
Maybe so. More likely not.
Pastor, it’s one thing to be friends with that colleague through the years. But when you become his supervisor, the relationship changes. Be careful here.
I suggest to the pastor of a small congregation about to bring in a new staff member that he do the following:
a) Put together a small team of mature church members to assist him. They are not “the” search committee, although they and you work as a team. You will need their counsel, their wisdom, their judgment, and the new minister will need their support. (It’s best if they do not select a chairman; you are their leader.)
b) Be very clear as to what you want the new staffer to do. If it’s to work with the youth or administer an educational program or develop a senior adult ministry, spell it out.
c) Have an understanding with your committee that all must be on board with a recommendation before it goes to the church. Prepare them for the possibility of everyone except you agreeing on someone, or you wanting a candidate whom they do not accept. Make sure they are able and prepared to deal with that. Immature members will quickly lose patience with a pastor who seems hard to please or who does not accept their choice.
d) Call other pastors and get their help. They know people you don’t.
e) Once you find a likely candidate, do not fall in love with him/her too quickly. (Caution your committee about this, too.) Take your time to get to know him, to run plenty of references, to check thoroughly into his past.
After all, this being the church’s first venture into staff members, you want the experience to be a good one.
2. Where do we find great staff members?
Continue reading “10 Questions About Church Staffs” »