How To Prepare For A Church Staff Member Search


Churches all over the country are looking for the best possible candidates to lead their church in a variety of roles. As a Consultant that helps churches find these candidates, I’ve seen firsthand that it can be a daunting task to find the right fit if several things haven’t been thought through first.

Before you start the process of your next search, here are a few things that church leaders need to consider.

1. Figure out what qualities you need.

When my kids were little, we often played the game called “Would You Rather,” putting two positive or negative experiences or attributes together and having to choose one or the other. “Would you rather be rich or be famous? Would you rather be really funny or really smart?” Of course, everyone would like to have it all; but if you had to choose, what is more important to you? 

When looking to begin a new church staff member search, use this question-asking format to discover which qualities you desire in the new hire and which qualities you truly need. Are you looking for discipleship or evangelistic focus? If you had to choose, which is more important for your team? Would you rather hire someone younger with high potential or older with more experience but less flexibility? Creative or organized? High talent level or team-builder? This question-asking process makes for great debate and conversation among your church leadership team, and in the end, it refines the description of the candidate your staff needs.

Related: Searching For The Perfect Candidate - Desirables vs. Practicals

2. Be willing to accept weaknesses.

I have teenage daughters, and I want them to be specific about the qualities they’re looking for in a future husband. As a father, I want their standards set extremely high. However, I also know that if their expectations are so high that no man can achieve them, I’ll likely not have any grandkids.

My point here is that you should use the above question process to choose a few “non-negotiable” characteristics, and then be flexible on everything else. The more requirements you place on a potential candidate, the smaller that pool of potential candidates becomes and the longer your search takes. I’m not encouraging you to settle for someone who doesn’t fit your church’s staff culture, but I am saying we can take a lesson from Jesse when he overlooked the young David out tending the flock. Don’t let your preconceived notions of what the candidate should be like cause you to overlook someone with tremendous potential.

Related: Should You Hire For Potential Or Experience?

3. Remember that perfect candidates don’t exist.

Our team here at Vanderbloemen has a combined over 230 years of experience working on church and ministry teams of all denominations and sizes. In all of these years of experience, we’ve seen tens of thousands of different types of high-capacity church leaders and staff members.

However, in our work helping churches find the best candidate for their team, occasionally we’ve seen some churches looking for a person that simply doesn’t exist. Searching for the needle in the haystack is one thing, but if you are waiting for a candidate to check every single one of your boxes, you may be waiting a while.

There are high-capacity candidates out there that would be a great fit for your team. Know what you’re looking for and be willing to accept a few shortcomings.  Don’t settle, but be open to what God could be doing through bringing you a high-potential candidate who maybe is a bit different than what you thought you wanted.

Related: Sasquatch, Unicorns, and Perfect Senior Pastors

4. Seek outside help.

If you need help assessing what qualities you need vs. want in a new hire or you don’t know where to begin to find the kind of candidate your team needs, reach out to us. We’d love to hear about your team’s unique needs and help you figure out how to start your search. We help churches all over the country find high-capacity staff members for their team.

Whether you’re a church of 100 or a church of 10,000, we have the resources and networks to find you great team members who perfectly fit your church’s DNA. We can save you the time and energy of a staff member search so that you can continue to focus on the mission, vision, and operations of the church. If you’d like to talk about what your team needs, let us know here.

Related: 3 Reasons Churches Need Objective Eyes

5. Pray.

Be sure that you are bathing your staff member search in prayer, both personally and as a staff and congregation. Remember that "A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps" (Proverbs 16:9). Pray for God's guidance throughout the entire process, as you assess what kind of candidates you need through discerning which candidate would be the best fit for your team. Our team approaches each search prayerfully, and we encourage every church leader, church team, and congregation to stay in prayer during search for a new team member. 

Related: Free Download - Pastor Search Prayer Calendar

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