3 Common Mistakes Churches Make When Hiring


There are few processes as important to your staff as hiring. That’s why you’re probably willing to spend however much time and effort it takes to find that perfect fit. You’ll want to make sure every ounce of effort is worth the cost. You’ll find that a lot can go wrong in the intricate process of hiring, and there’s a lot you can do to ensure the success of your search experience. Here are three common mistakes churches make that hurt the hiring process.

1. Ununified teams

Your search will be as efficient and effective as the committee that leads it. The search committee, or anyone involved in the hiring process, should be unified by a clear vision of who your church/organization’s ideal candidate is. This vision must be clearly articulated with detailed expectations. Light bulbs should go off in everyone’s mind when the match is right.

Team individuals need clear expectations of how the responsibilities are divided. To form an efficient team, you’ll need to prevent having too many cooks in the kitchen, and the opposite problem, negligence. The more involved your search is, the more you’ll need a clear plan of action.

Even if hiring responsibilities fall onto one or a few people, these components need to be clear in order to execute a successful plan for the good of your church or organization. Leave no room for your church’s needs to be muddled with the preferences of the individuals on the search committee.

2. Waiting too long

Moving too slowly when hiring a new candidate can gradually pull the church into a state of desperation, where they are pressured to settle on their ideal qualifications. 

Preparing for a search before it begins and moving efficiently throughout the process allows your church more time to look out for ideal candidates and to move quickly once they are identified. Those ideal qualified candidates do not stay on the market for long! 

Your team better know what your church needs as soon as you need it because once you come across a qualified interested candidate, the success of the search depends on the team’s efficiency and confidence moving forward. As the unmet position lays vacant, promising candidates lose interest, diminishing your options. Moving quickly so long as you do not compromise quality is the key here. Ideally, your team is ready to move when the time is right, and they are ready to wait with patience and prayer throughout as well.

As the search continues, your church attempts to function with a missing gear. Finding a good match is worth the wait when necessary, but if your church struggles because you missed the opportunity, then your church is missing out. Your church staff may be experiencing fatigue and loss of motivation as they compensate for the need during this time of transition. Your sense of urgency met with a prayerful dedication to the Lord’s will and timing will serve your church members and staff well through this time.

3. Lack of identity

Your church cannot possibly find a candidate who fits the ministry’s heart and mission if your church does not know what the heart and mission are. The church must develop a thorough sense of identity through thoughtful statements of faith, mission statements, vision statements, and core values to articulate and express what the church exists for and how they execute its purpose. This will point to what type of person would fit into the church, and it helps candidates envision if they would like to be a part of the church. 

This also requires a sense of self-awareness in identifying your church’s culture and weaknesses. You’ll need to find someone who fits with the strengths of your culture and challenges you to grow in your weaknesses. Identifying your weaknesses openly can attract candidates who are passionate about helping your church grow in specific ways.

Even if you are not hiring yet, pursue a thorough sense of identity now. Your church needs to pursue self-awareness in faith and function to operate well in all aspects of ministry.

Preparation for a successful hire begins before you need it. You can cultivate your staff into a well-oiled machine today. Clear expectations create a team with initiative and ownership, which will translate into a successful search committee when the time comes. Your team will help you to have eyes to identify your church’s needs and act proactively. Be ready to accept candidates early in your search. Finally and most importantly for your overall ministry, confidently define your church’s identity — your heavenly identity and your function in the world. You will find that the benefit your church gains from this extends to all ministries broad and personal.