Why Non-Ministry Experience Is Valuable On Your Church Staff
By: Nicole Cochran September 28, 2016
So your candidate doesn’t have much (or any) experience working on a church staff yet. Should you pass over their resume? Before you do, I'd encourage you to dig a little deeper. It's true that ministry experience is typically a great indicator of the person’s capabilities and ability to do effective Kingdom work on your staff, but what about those who don’t have experience on a church staff yet but have high potential?
Work in nonprofits, faith-based companies, or for-profit organizations can provide valuable experience that can often translate well onto a church staff. Take another look at the candidate’s resume and see what other experience they may have and if it is relatable. Many skills, even in the corporate sector, could be of huge value to your staff if the person is adaptable and a great culture fit for your team.
Here are fives areas where non-ministry experience might translate well to a church staff role. See if these five areas line up with the overarching traits you're looking for in a new hire.
1. They are driven by cause, especially life-change
Article after article and study after study have shown that millennials prefer working for organizations and companies where they believe in the cause or the mission. If the candidate has experience and is passionate about working in cause-driven organizations, they could potentially be a great fit on a church staff as well, especially if they feel called to help the Church reach others with the love of Christ.
Working in an organization where the core is cause-driven gives an idea of the person’s priorities and where their heart is. No matter what their work experience is, people whose work has been mission-focused drives their mindset higher than themselves.
2. They can juggle varied responsibilities
Ask your candidate if they've had to wear many hats in their past work experience. Churches, ministries, and faith-based companies alike often operate with leaner staff, and this in turn means that employees wear more hats, work more hours, and are overall relied upon to be more valuable and multi-faceted. While everyone is gifted more in certain areas and not as gifted in others, employees of ministry organizations need to be agile and diversified in their skills. Is your candidate familiar with this kind of work environment?
3. They're a great culture fit
The culture at every church or any place of work is going to vary greatly. As I mentioned before, churches and ministry organizations are rooted in similar overarching goals. These goals will hopefully shape the culture of not only the prospective employees prior place of work, but also your own church. Finding alignment in culture is one of the most important considerations of a new hire, as well as one of the most nuanced. Looking at someone who has worked in a similar culture space is a good start. If they fit your culture, and you can teach them the technical skills they need to perform the tasks within the ministry role, they might be a better fit than you think.
4. They are driven by relationships
The relationships on church staffs and within congregations are built around learning people’s story, relating to them, and serving them. Someone who has found the importance of taking the time to get to know others will be able to more easily plug into the community of the church. Ask your candidate what their relationships have been like in their past places of employment. They might have even been in a relationship-driven role in a corporate environment like customer care or client relations that could translate well into a ministry role where they are caring for people.
5. They are a person of character
Transparency, honesty, and integrity is an obligation for any organization. Your candidate's reputation for telling the truth and being of high character will be apparent when you do reference and background checks on them. Someone who consistently operates out of integrity and truthfulness will be familiar and comfortable with the transparency and honesty needed on your church staff as well.
These are just a few tips to start digging into candidate’s resumes and see what else might be below the surface even if they don't have prior ministry experience. Keep in mind the position you are hiring for and decide if their other experience will hold up against the skills you desire in the hire. Hiring for potential over experience can be a great way to grow a leader from within your staff.
What non-church job experience has been useful in your ministry position?
If you liked this, you'll also enjoy 3 Advantages Of Moving From The Corporate World To A Church Staff.