The 4 Costly Consequences Of A Bad Church Staff Hire


All church leaders have experienced the effects of a bad hire on their church staff. A mistake like this is expensive, both monetarily and emotionally. Here at Vanderbloemen Search Group, we’ve heard about many situations where the pressure of filling an empty position caused church leaders to make an imprudent hire.

The repercussions of a poor church staff hire are easy to spot and can have lasting consequences. Here are four of those costly consequences.

1. Bad hires disconnect church community.

One of the key functions of a church is to create a strong, relationship-oriented community where the congregation can grow in Christ together. A key component to facilitating a strong church community is trust in the leadership. As we all know, gaining trust takes time. It can take years for the church to build a strong trust of and rapport with the church staff. When a bad hire is made and there is turnover as a result, the community of the church is compromised because of the lack of consistency in or trust of the church leadership. If there is a rotation of church staff, you never allow for the church to truly connect with the staff and begin building a life-changing community. 

Good hires that stick facilitate growth and community. Tweet: Good hires that stick facilitate growth and community. via @VanderbloemenSG

2. Bad hires are taxing on the church staff and morale.

Working in ministry is not easy. Often, churches are already understaffed or their leadership is working overtime and are stretched-thin. By adding the strain of a bad hire, it can become a huge drain on the church staff's morale or create a toxic staff culture. Whether the bad hire was a poor fit, divisive, lazy, or simply ill-equipped to do their job, their presence (and their leaving) creates a ripple through the staff that lasts even after they’ve left. Also, once you eliminate a bad hire from your team, it’s up to the rest of the staff to pick up the slack while the position is vacant.

The church's staff is often affected most when a bad hire is put in place. Tweet: The church's staff is often affected most when a bad hire is put in place. via @VanderbloemenSG


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3. Bad hires can stunt your church’s outreach and growth.

When a church’s senior leadership has given their attention to an underperforming employee, time is taken away from the planning and implementing of mission and vision. However, when a church staff has the right people in the right place, the leadership is able to move the ball forward without distractions. There will always be personnel issues to contend with, but a loss of focus on the mission of a church will always have an impact on the growth and effectiveness of your ministry efforts.

4. Bad hires cost money.

This one may seem a bit obvious, but if you take a close look at the numbers, the financial cost of a bad hire is higher than you may think. Here is an example of the monetary cost of a poor hire, broken down:

  • Severance - When letting the bad hire go, severance pay is usually in the neighborhood of one to six months pay. This could be anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000+.
  • On-boarding - The investment you made for onboarding or growth opportunities like conferences and books: $50 - $5,000.
  • Relocation – Often, churches have paid for relocation costs when bringing on a new staff member: $1,000 - $5,000.
  • Lost salary & benefits – Obviously, the months you had the bad hire on your church staff cost the months of their salary/benefits.
  • Staff search – Searching to fill a new position isn’t free. When you make a bad hire, there’s money lost from the initial recruiting of this person and now the costs of a new search.
  • Your staff’s time given to the search - $5,000 - $10,000
  • Travel for candidate interviews - $1,000 - $2,500
  • Loss in giving – Unfortunately, a bad hire can also affect a church’s giving. An unqualified Youth Pastor or inexperienced Children's Pastor could result in families moving to another church. Loss of vision can mean the congregation isn’t bought in any longer. Usually, the higher the bad hire sat on the organizational chart, the larger the effects can be on church giving.

While having a bad hire on your team can be costly in many different respects, having a great hire will have the opposite effect. Here at Vanderbloemen Search Group, we would love to partner with you so that your church doesn’t have to experience these consequences firsthand.

How can your church leadership avoid making a bad hire?

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