4 Challenges Churches Face When Hiring For Worship Roles
By: Vanderbloemen March 7, 2016
All staff positions are important. From the facilities employee who puts liners in trashcans to the Senior Pastor, everyone has a role and function, and they are all vital to keep the church running efficiently. That being said, there are roles that are more visible than others.
Worship roles are some of the most visible members of your church staff. In a line of work that depends on people's continued attendance at your church, making the right selections for your Worship Team is crucial. But hiring for Worship roles isn't easy.
Below are some typical challenges that church leaders face when recruiting for Worship Pastors and other creative team roles.
1. Trying to find a jack-of-all-trades
We all try to justify the search for the "utility player" in an attempt to convince others and ourselves that they actually exist. You just want a Worship Leader who can sing well but is also organized and answers emails quickly. That’s not too much to ask, right? Not exactly.
Just like anyone else in the church, Worship Leaders are usually innately disinclined towards certain traits (from experience, I can say quickly answering emails is often one of them). For those of us who answer emails all day, things that seem as easy as breathing could be as difficult to many creative people as leading worship or writing a symphony would be for one of us. Don’t forget this as you hire for worship jobs. Put simply, you’re probably not going to find someone who has it all, no matter how long you search.
2. Searching without clearly defined goals
We can’t say this enough: set clear goals before you begin searching for a worship role. With worship pastor jobs in particular, there are many nuances in styles, personality traits, and even the instruments people lead from, so it’s imperative to create your list of non-negotiable requirements on the front end. Be specific but realistic. Start with something as simple as how you want your service to look and feel. Do you want the person to lead from guitar or piano? Do you want them to be pastoral or exclusively a leader from the stage? Do they need to be able to play multiple instruments and/or lead a choir? Do you want them to write original music and/or be able to lead teams of volunteers? Things like these are simple, measurable goals.
After you determine these “easy” expectations, you can delve deeper to determine if this person will need to be able to perform a lot of administrative tasks or if creative work will be their sole responsibility.
3. Running into the rock star personality
There isn’t a church out there that wants someone with mediocre abilities. We all want someone who can sing well, who is energetic, and who will lead the congregation with excellence, but there is a fine line between someone who is extremely talented and someone who just wants to make it big. A rock star personality is going to want to stand out and could possibly have difficulty submitting to authority or wanting to serve others.
The first and best way to avoid this hiring mistake is to ensure the candidate fits your church’s culture. Ask their references how they interact with their congregation. Do they care for and build relationships with the congregation? Watch videos of the candidate leading in their current position. Watch to see if they hog the stage and microphone, or if they humbly lift up those around them. If you can’t determine if you’re watching a worship set or a concert, you’re probably dealing with a rock start personality.
4. Hiring someone other than who your church expects
Like a mother bear protecting her cubs, your priority as a church leader is to make decisions that will best benefit your congregation. Sometimes this means making hires your church doesn’t yet understand, but often this means having a deep knowledge of where your people are and making decisions in line with that. The importance of hiring Worship Pastors that fit the theology and style of your church’s services is a simple truth that is often inadvertently overlooked when a skilled candidate is interested in your church.
Churches are constantly changing and evolving, so you may not even realize what your people need or expect, but chances are it has changed since the last time you hired for a worship position. A great practice is before hiring these positions, watch the worship portion of your service with the mindset of an outsider. Observe how people act and react, and it will help you pinpoint the things you want in the people you hire.
Have you encountered challenges when hiring for worship jobs? What are your suggestions for a smooth search?
If you liked this, you'll also enjoy The 5 Mistakes Churches Make In Worship Pastor Searches.