We’ve been talking recently about what many are calling “The Great Resignation” and how it may affect your church.
If you haven’t heard of it before now, The Great Resignation is what many businesses (and churches) are seeing over the past few months: an increase in people that are quitting their jobs and moving on to other things.
At Chemistry Staffing, we are seeing a greater number of church staff that are not only resigning their church roles but moving beyond ministry into employment opportunities outside of the church. Some are starting new businesses. Others, having been burned out from ministry, are seeking employment outside of church ministry. Still, others are looking for increased flexibility and more family time than their church position allowed.
In a recent study, we asked church leaders some key questions about The Great Resignation. We received over 700 responses from church leaders across the country.
Here’s what we learned.
54% of church staff told us that they are considering changing jobs in the next 12 months.
Not all of them will.
But a good number will take the plunge.
Let’s be honest. The church as a whole is not known for keeping employees, staff, and pastors for the long term. The normal numbers, especially for entry-level ministry positions, suggest that many churches do not provide a culture that promotes long-term ministry health.
But this 54% number is staggering.
If you lead a multi-staff church, consider what your church may look like one year from now if nearly half your staff transition.
And if you lead a multi-staff church, consider what the next year will be like with more than half of your staff at least considering a new role elsewhere.
In fact, if the numbers prove true, more than half reading this right now are at least considering a change.
Here are some things to consider as you think about 2022:
Not all staff transition is bad
We really do need to start here. Not every transition is a bad transition.
Many times God does move people on because he wants to move people on. That’s ok. In fact, that’s healthy. God-led change has been happening forever, and it’s a good thing. Hopefully, that’s how you got your current role.
Sometimes people feel God’s call to another church body. We talk with candidates all the time that try to describe this tugging in their spirit. Everything is going well, and they hate to leave, but the Spirit says it’s time to leave, so they do. It’s heart-wrenching and joyous at the same time.
If you have a staff member that leaves under this kind of scenario, embrace it. It will be hard as you watch them leave, but bless them in their new ministry. This is God at work.
Your current staff member will be harder to replace
Because of so many people transitioning out of ministry over the past year, replacing your staff member may be more difficult than you imagine.
The economy and tight workforce have made the marketplace very competitive. This is also true in the church hiring area. Salaries are more competitive today than a year ago, so the chances are high that replacing your existing staff member will require a bump in pay.
The candidate pool has also diminished, especially among mid-level experienced candidates (those with 3 - 10 years of experience). And since there are fewer of those candidates still in the church staff candidate pool, they are being very selective. Many of these candidates have multiple offers and options.
Make 2022 a year of church staff health
Honestly, the easiest way to cut transition and turnover in 2022 is to value your current staff and create a healthy, thriving, and productive church atmosphere for them to work in.
A lot has changed in the past two years. Proactively meeting with each staff person to ask them how they’re doing seems like a needed and logical thing to do (and the end of the year is a great excuse to do it). Don’t tie your conversations to a year-end review or a salary discussion. Just take a moment to genuinely check to see how each of your staff is doing spiritually, physically, and emotionally. You will be amazed at how much this may bring a sense of health (and unity) to your team.
If you do need to hire, consider your options
If you have a resignation from your team, your first gut reaction will be to replace the position and immediately start the hiring process.
This may or may not be the right thing to do.
We are talking to a lot of churches that are finding the need to re-work their paid staff and staffing structure. This might be the time to expand or consolidate positions or to re-set an entire area of ministry.
Overall, we are seeing a migration from ministry specialists to ministry generalists.
This means that your next person may wear several hats rather than just one. Or they may approach their specific ministry differently because of the changes of the past couple of years in your church.
Many churches are hiring generalists that can be more pastoral than platform-oriented… ministering not just from the stage but to smaller groups and individuals.
In other words, the job description of your next hire may look totally different than the job description of the person that is leaving in two weeks.
Staff re-sets can be difficult and confusing. But when your strategy is well-thought-through, it can mean some great things for your church in the long run.
We’re here to help. In fact, it’s what we do.
If there is ever any staffing matter that you’d like to talk through with one of our team, please let us know. We can share with you what other churches in your situation have considered.
And we have a strong list of church staff that are currently looking to transition and might be a great fit when you need to bring in a new staff member. We’d love to hear what you’re looking for and see if we can help.
Have a great week!