Ministry Job Searches: 3 Things Churches Should Do When Looking to Hire Staff

chartI haven’t updated much about our job search recently. Can’t go into details, of course, but we have been talking to some folks. God is working, he is moving. He’s got the timing. I fully believe he will answer the prayer of petition we have been praying. He will bring us a job in ministry that will allow us to do the things God has called us to do.

If I was in charge, I would have already moved us. There were a couple of openings I was sure would be right for me. I just knew I would be the candidate. Guess no one told them. Over the past few months these things came up and faded away. There is some promise on the horizon, though. Pretty excited about the possibilities.

But I wanted to give some advice to churches and ministries who are searching for new staff.

1. Send rejection letters. No one likes to get a letter that says you weren’t selected for the job. it’s no fun. It’s a kick in the gut, every time. Know what’s worse than getting a letter? Not getting a letter or call for weeks. You’re left wondering if they even got your resume. Or left with false hope, when in reality the job is already filled. For the sake of everyone involved, once you’ve eliminated an applicant, send out a letter.

2. Don’t initiate contact and then drop off the face of the planet. More than one church emailed me, asked to set up a phone interview or something. Then just dropped away. There is something satisfying about getting that first contact. You feel good, they chose you out of all the applicants. It’s natural to have high hopes. It’s not fun when those are dashed.

Churches, if you initiate contact with a potential candidate, follow through. Even if the decision is a “no” you need to complete the conversation. Say you email someone, and then life intervenes and you can no longer pursue the candidate or the position. Tell the people involved. Knowing is so much better than not knowing.

3. Give salary ranges up front. Go ahead and post the general range right in the job description. At least indicate whether it’s an entry level position or not. That is a huge clue to what the position pays. This will be a major time saver for you and anyone who applies. 

On the flip side, don’t assume you can’t afford the applicant. One church who contacted me and asked for some more material did the disappearing act. I heard through a mutual acquaintance that it wasn’t that they didn’t want me. I was qualified, and they were interested. But they decided that they couldn’t afford me, without ever asking. People who apply for ministry jobs can figure out pretty quickly what a fair salary package would be. We know that smaller churches and ministries can’t compensate the same way larger ones can. It’s not about the money.

I always tell any church I interview with that I need a salary that allows me to support my family in their community. They know how much it costs to live there. They know what they can afford. Smart applicants have taken the time to find out what it costs to live in the community. Both parties should be free to communicate those realities.

These are just a few things I’ve run into in our current job search. What other things should a church do when looking for staff?