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Communication

Beware: Not Every Potential Staff Member is as Good as They Appear

Have you ever bought a quart of beautiful strawberries, only to find when you get home that there were six beautiful strawberries at the top, and a quart full of half-ripe berries filling the rest of the container? When churches hire new staff, many times they are just looking at the top berries...

strawberries
Have you ever bought a quart of beautiful looking strawberries, only to find when you get home from the store that there were six beautiful strawberries at the top, and a quart full of half-ripe berries filling the rest of the container?

It's no secret that the best berries are the most visible. 

And it's a mistake to think that every berry will look just like the ones visible at the top of the quart container.

It seems the only way to see what you're getting is to dump out all of the strawberries and inspect each one.

No one does that. It takes too much time. (and it's probably socially unacceptable).

Even though that's the best logical solution and alternative to purchasing 80% unripe berries.

We do this all the time in the church world.

When churches hire new staff members, many times they are just looking at the top berries... the most easily seen attributes of candidates.
  • Where did they go to school?
  • What degree do they have?
  • Where did they serve last?
  • What denomination or tribe are they in?
  • How old are they?
  • How does their resume look?
  • Do I like them personally?
Unfortunately, none of these top-level filters give you an accurate representation of how a candidate would do in your church long-term.

But hiring off of just these 'surface layer' attributes is what churches do most often.  Then six months later they're confused when all the bad berries start to show up.

Oh... and candidates do this too. They measure churches by:
  • Their attendance
  • Their location
  • Their budget
  • How much they like the pastor
  • Their denomination
  • Their facility
Few (if any) of these criteria tell you how well you will fit at a church long-term.

Many churches and candidates get married after the first date. Then wonder why the marriage isn't working out.

All the ripe berries off the top are gone.

When hiring (or accepting a new ministry position), be sure to do your due diligence. Ask the right questions. Probe. See if the chemistry is there. Check the integrity. And don't go off your feelings.

That is the key to long-term fruitful ministry. But it's hard work to decipher on the front-end.

We stand ready to help you or your church ask the right questions, to cut through the top layer and find what fits and works.
Todd Rhoades

Todd Rhoades

Todd has invested over 30 years in serving churches, having served as a worship pastor for over 15 years, a church elder for more than a decade, and in various ministry leadership roles in both the business and non-profit sectors. As the original founder and developer of ChurchStaffing.com, Todd fundamentally changed the way thousands of churches search for pastors and staff on the internet. Todd is a graduate of Cedarville University, and lives in Bryan, OH with his wife, Dawn.

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