Thursday, July 19, 2007


In my last two blogs I have dealt with issues related to principles we use for hiring additional staff. The underlying theme in the blogs was to explain the value of hiring from within. Now let me summarize the typical steps we take when filling a position:

  • Is there a church member currently serving in a volunteer capacity who has an impeccable character, handles people well, shows evidence of a Christ-filled life, and supports the vision of the church? That person would be our number one candidate.

  • If no obvious candidate emerges, we might post the position to the church family because our ideal is still to hire from within the family.

  • If no obvious candidate emerges, we seek someone outside the church. We may advertise the position in numerous markets and/or we will seek word-of-mouth referrals.

Let me give you a few examples.

  • When we made plans to transition the children's ministry so that one person would oversee the Child Development Center as well as the other aspects of children's ministry, we went straight to Virginia Wallace, who was currently the CDC Director. Had she declined the offer, we would have gone to the other steps in the process and most likely would have gone outside the church to make the hire.

  • After the untimely death of Garry Weeks, we first explored a few options with people within the church. But none seemed to match the criteria. We formed a search team and interviewed possible candidates from around the country. Through the months of searching, the team never had a peace about any of the candidates. Then it seemed God was leading us back one of our own. During this interim period, we approached James Clonts, who had previously decided to pursue ministry outside of CBC. We asked him to pray and reconsider. Long story short--James was our guy.

  • Charles Fant--here is a unique case where we did not have a position for pastoral counselor. Charles approached us and requested that CBC allow him the opportunity to counsel, using our church as his home base, at no cost to the church. Knowing Charles' effectiveness in previous ministry settings, we saw no downside in allowing him and us this opportunity.

I could list multiple examples. But the point is that every position opening is unique. We try to follow the values that I have expressed in these blogs. But there are no set 1-2-3 steps that are in concrete. The main thing we try to do is to pray earnestly for the wisdom of God and to be sensitive to the Spirit's leading.

The church is charged by God to do kingdom business. We have a calling that involves eternal value. So don't think of the church as a government-run business that needs to follow proper protocol of posting jobs for 30 days and interviewing a minimum number of candidates before making a decision. (I wonder how many times the proper protocol has been followed to the letter when all along the supervisor knew whom he/she was going to hire.) We will always seek to be fair. But job posting will happen when there is no obvious candidate to fill a position.

But are we missing out on better qualified candidates by hiring only from within? Probably so. There is always someone out there who has more experience, is better educated, and is more highly qualified. But I feel like Herb Brooks, the hockey coach, who led the U.S. Olympic hockey team to the stunning upset of Russia in the 1980 games and then on to the gold medal. His accomplishment could be termed nothing less than a miracle. When building his team, he looked for players who were more concerned about the name on the front of their jerseys than on the back of their jerseys. Many "experts" questioned his roster, claiming that he was overlooking some of the best players in the country. Coach Brooks responded, "I am not looking for the best players. I am looking for the right ones."

At Chapin Baptist we are always looking for the right staff, the ones who will serve together as a team to do the work of God's kingdom and lead Chapin Baptist to higher ground. Hopefully, they will be the right ones and the best ones. And if they're not the best, we will do all we can to help them become the best.

Three posts in three days. That's a record. I'll probably give you a break for a few days.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great blog Ken, and a good, in-depth look at trying to hire the "right" person for the "right" job. While there will always be a few members that will question a particular hire from within (many with good reason and intentions), I feel the more you know about a potential cadidate before hand, the better the hire. And the ability to pselect a person that can "blend with the "team" is so critical for the church operation and success in a position.
Keep up the good work...