The people who make up your team are the most important part of your church after sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and obedience to God’s Word. Your leadership team molds the culture of your church and guides them for better or worse. And it is for this reason that you must create a great team before trying to create a great church.
Leaders of [organizations] that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline.
- Jim Collins
But we can’t look at filling church jobs with a strict corporate HR mindset. The right people for a church can often look quite different from the right people for a business.
Quality church leadership takes more than professional skills. According to 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, a church elder should also be spiritually sound, a defender of the faith, wise, fair, reverent, well-thought-of, hospitable, accessible, gentle, not thin-skinned, not money-hungry, committed to his wife, a good father, and more. So staffing your church requires looking at the spiritual and personal conditions of a job candidate and not just the professional skill set.
And because heart attitude is far more important than brain power, sometimes God chooses unimpressive people to do great things. So we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit in order to recognize the occasions when the right person may also be the unlikely one.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (MSG)
Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God.
It is better to be patient when hiring and get the right people than to quickly add manpower that leads your church in the wrong direction or slows it down as dead weight.
For extra help, there are church staffing organizations that can guide you through the process and scout out people who would be a good fit for your church’s job. Recently, Vanderbloemen Search Group (specializing in large church executive searches) partnered with Help Staff Me (specializing in mid-level staff) to combine resources and expand their networks of relationships. The partnership will likely boost the growing trend of more churches turning to staffing specialists to get the right people on the bus.
Of course, this only scratches the surface of how to fill church jobs with quality leadership. If you have some tips of your own, please share in the comments.