About this Ebook
Nothing will slow down a growing church faster than a few bad hires (or, frankly, even one bad hire). Every hire you make
changes the dynamics of our church staff so the cultural fit, spiritual maturity, and competence of each hire either helps build your staff or distracts from your church’s
In this ebook, you’ll learn about five people you don’t want on your church staff. They’re often great people. They do good work, and may someday have Kingdom influence somewhere else. But you don’t want them on your church staff today. This ebook will also show you three easy interview red flags that will help you recognize these five staff candidates before you hire them.
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With Toxic Leaders, Your Church’s Mission Is On the Line
Churches don’t set out to hire toxic leaders—but it happens. (Pretty often, too.) Just to be clear from the outset, these hires aren’t bad people. They may make great contributions some day to a Kingdom-advancing church. But a bad hire is someone who chronically detracts from your church’s efforts to accomplish its ministry goals. It’s the person who has been corrected but isn’t improving, stirs up strife on the team, creates more work than they perform, or just grieves your community in some way. But bad hires don’t just undermine a church’s culture, efficiency, and progress.
They hurt the church budget. Meaning a couple bad hires left on staff for too long can threaten a ministry’s survival. Some in the secular world have claimed that bad hiring decisions can cost employers two-and-half times a candidate’s annual salary. Writing about church staffs in particular, Holly Tate from the Vanderbloemen Search Group suggests that churches need a “Bad Hire Fund” to mitigate against some of the costs associated with the transition of a staff member who was a poor fit (such as the inevitable decrease in giving when it happens).
She specifically cites the bad hire of a senior pastor but adds that poor hires of other staff members— like a small group pastor or volunteer director—can bring a decrease in giving as well. In fact, Vanderbloemen Search Group has a “Bad Hire Calculator” on its website to help you figure out what those costs might be.
But money isn’t the biggest problem. It’s what a bad hire does to the working relationships among your staff that can be extraordinarily problematic.
Sarah Robins from Vandebrloemen writes, “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.” Bad hires simply aren’t worth it. No church can ever completely insulate themselves from the potential of bad hires. But in this ebook, you’ll be introduced to five profiles you don’t want to hire.
You just don’t want them on your staff right now. Your church’s reputation with your community, your ministry effectiveness, and your gospel witness are on the line.
The 5 People Not to Hire
If you were to sit at a table with the five people highlighted in this ebook, you’d likely be impressed. They may have top-notch credentials on their resumes, engaging personalities, and even godly character. But they’re not a good fit for your ministry, and it’s important to discover that before a job offer is made.
So stop. Think hard. Pray harder. Ask yourself if you’re in the process of hiring one of these five people you’re about to read about. If you are, it’s critical that you respectfully part ways with this candidate—for the sake of your team, ministry, and the wider community.
In the following pages, we’ll show you the who and the why of bad hires, as well as three “tells” that’ll clue you in on the kind of person you’re interviewing. If you think you might have a few of these people on your team already, this ebook will tell you how to improve the situation moving
*Pronouns are used at random to personify these staff members. Each type of leader described can
be anyone on your team, not limited to the gender written about.
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