Hiring Team Members – whether you’re paying them or not

In October of 2005, my husband and I flew out to California to interview with a pastor. It was an interview for a job that had zero employment promises and zero money.

Sounds crazy, right? But it was one of the best job interviews I ever had. 

We sat down, we talked and got to know each other, and we laid out expectations and possibilities. The moment was treated like a real hire, whether I was going to be paid to be part of this team or not. In that particular case, it was a church plant. If we all felt it right to move forward, we’d move to California, I’d get an outside job, and work for free to help build this church. We discussed the best case scenario (the church grow, I get hired full-time in a few years, etc), and the worst case scenario (no funds would be available, the relationships go south, we have to move on, etc).

Working to develop that team and also with church planters over the next several years, I learned that it’s important to have a great hiring process, whether you’re paying someone or not. (BTW, it ended up being a best case scenario, I was the first full-time hire outside of the senior pastor, and remained on the team for 8 years until moving on to senior pastor.)

I knew exactly what was expected of me, and what I could get out of this opportunity. I knew that I would have opportunities to grow, to be stretched, that I’d be invested in and encouraged. I also knew that there was work to be done, when I was expected to be there, and when I was a leader and when I was a follower.

When someone is making a huge transition in their lives to work with you, take it seriously. This is important! And while it can feel like a very organic, relational process, a little bit of intentionality and formality will go a long way to help your professional AND personal relationship with this candidate.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll post for you and explain some easy document templates IStewarding People - information on church HR, team, staff, and volunteer practices use when working with new hires. They’ll include:

  • Staff Inquiry (pre-application that helps guide the conversations during the discovery process)
  • Ministry Invitation (an initial employment agreement, job description, core values and team values)
  • Confidentiality Agreement
  • Social Media Policy
  • Keys & Security System Acknowledgement

May God guide you as you lead others well!

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