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Staff Health| Leadership

Having Healthy Career Path Conversations

| 2 min read

Written by Matt Steen
Apr 18, 2022 12:09:35 PM

Retaining Staff is an Important Part of the Process


One of the simplest ways to retain your ministry staff is to invest in their careers as pastors. Churches have traditionally ignored these conversations, but more and more we are having conversations with candidates who are leaving their churches because they don't see a future for themselves at that church. In this video, Matt Steen shares some thoughts on why having career path conversations are so important.


Watch the conversation or view the transcript. 


As always, we are here for you, and we're praying for churches and teams all over the United States! If you want to have a conversation about staff retention, you can schedule a time here. 




Read the Full Transcript

Hey, it’s Matt Steen, Co-Founder of Chemistry Staffing, here with another Chemistry conversation. One of the things that has been really intriguing to me as we’ve navigated these last two years - the COVID season, the great resignation season, all that - as we’ve been talking to a lot of our candidates, the surprising thing for me is the number of them that are starting to sense that they have kind of hit a lid as to where they are in their church, in their organization. They look around, they say, hey, I don’t know that there is anywhere else that I can go here. I feel like I have done everything that I can, and it doesn’t look like our organization is going to allow me to move. Whether it is a lateral move, whether it’s stepping up and that kind of thing. And I think a lot of this is just, traditionally, in the church we haven’t necessarily talked about career planning for our team. But I think what we’re starting to see is a shift where some of the rising generations are expecting that. I look at my own experience. We talked a lot in seminary about scripture, about theology, about those types of things. We didn’t talk about the career path and what pastors should expect as far as they get longer and longer into the ministries that they serve. You compare that to some of my experiences in business school where the whole conversation was about how to get a job and what your career path should be. So I think what some of the savvier churches that we’re working with are starting to do - and when I say “savvy” church, I’m not talking about big churches, I’m not talking about small churches. I’m just talking about churches that are really invested in their team members. Those churches are making sure that they’re carving out time to sit down with some of their ministry staff and just say, “Tell me what you see yourself doing in ten years. Tell me where you see this going. Do you plan on being a kids’ pastor for the rest of your life? Do you want to be a youth pastor or worship pastor forever?” Having those conversations early in somebody’s tenure is going to help you know how to help develop them. Right? And then it’s going to help you put together a development plan for them. Now, it’s a lot of work, and a lot of times people say, “If I’m teaching them how to be a senior pastor, does that mean that they’re going to leave us?” Well, maybe. Maybe that does. Maybe you have a youth pastor that’s been there for five years, and you’ve poured into them faithfully throughout that time, and then it gets to the point where they feel like God is calling them to take the next step, and you see it as well. Well, good on you. Because you’ve just sent out somebody to go and serve another church well. Now, does that hurt a little bit because you have to fill that role? Absolutely, there’s no question about that. But at the same time, you’re sending somebody else that’s going to go out and do faithful ministry really well somewhere. Where this doesn’t sting so bad is where you get to the point where you’ve got somebody that you’ve been developing for four or five years, and you start to realize that you’re going to have a gap in your staff team. There’s an executive pastor role. Maybe it’s a campus pastor role. Maybe you’re starting to realize as a senior pastor it’s time for me to move on. That’s when this is really going to pay off huge dividends for you. We’ve been telling smart churches that one of the things you want to start doing early on in your ministry staffer’s tenure at your church is to start to develop a career trajectory for them. Start to help them think through what does this career path as a minister, as a pastor look like? The fact that you are concerned about their future, the fact that you’re having the conversations and are going to be intentionally giving them experiences that helps to stretch them, frankly that’s going to pay off huge. Not just in overall health in culture, but in loyalty as well. They are going to be so grateful for your willingness to pour into them and help develop them for their next stage of ministry that it’s not unlikely that they’ll stick around longer than they would have if you weren’t. So just something to file away. One of the things that you really want to be doing is helping your team understand what’s next for them ministry-wise. We’re happy to help you to put together some plans or even help think through what that looks like across your staff. Just go ahead and click the link below, and we’ll get some time on the calendar to talk through it. Thank you.


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