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10. 4. 2023

Staff Hiring| Church DNA/Culture

Why You Must PRE-ASSESS Church Staff Candidates Before You Interview Them

| 2 min read

Written by Todd Rhoades
Aug 29, 2022 9:43:50 AM

The goal HAS to be healthy transitions and better, longer-term fits. Churches need to filter candidates better; and candidates need to vet and do due diligence on the churches they're considering working for.

It's that simple.

Of course, it's not that simple.

The average church staff member stays on staff for about three and a half years.  And according to some internal research I conducted last year, 59% of those that responded said that their last staff transition was 'unhealthy'.  That's nearly six out of ten church staff that said that the system they found themselves in had failed them in some way.

The reasons were many. From churches that didn't tell the tell the full story of their past, to senior pastors and elder boards that changed direction mid-stream and forced them out (nearly 20% of the 300 that responded said that they were either fired or asked to leave their last church job.)
Churches had similar stories: candidates that didn't tell their full story, or didn't turn out to be who they said they were.
This is the scenario that Matt Steen and I stepped into with the creation of Chemistry Staffing nearly six years ago. We knew that there had to be a better way... a way to help both churches and potential staff members find really healthy, long-term fits.

We'd done our homework.

Here's what we found.

One of the reasons many things go wrong with churches and hiring is that there are so many things that can go wrong. (That's why they usually do).

Each church has a complex set of desires and demands. After much research, we've broken these down as follows:

1.  Theology. Each church needs a staff member that fit them theologically.

2.  Church Culture/DNA. Every church has a unique culture and DNA. Candidates have to match that, many times, unpublished DNA to be a good fit.

3.  Personality. This is what Bill Hybels calls 'chemistry'. Healthy, long-term candidates must 'gel' with the current team of ministry leaders at a church.

4.  Skills/Abilities. While this is last on our list, it's still important. Each candidate must have specific skills that their job description demands.

If/when a church misses on any four of these, the chances of a long-term healthy staff relationship diminishes dramatically.

The same goes for candidates. When they are looking for a new church to minister in, they should make sure they align with ALL FOUR.

What we find is that churches and prospective candidates sometimes treat these four criteria like they're in Vegas. Hiring a new staff member is kind of like putting your money down on the table and praying for 'lucky sevens'.

Alignment is the key to unlocking long-term healthy fits.

That's why Matt and I determined that we need to assess each and every candidate and each and every church on these four criteria BEFORE any relational transaction takes place between the church and the candidate

What does this mean?

Well, for starters, when your church is hiring a new person, our process will automatically filter through any applicant that doesn't fit you theologically.  That's good, because that person wouldn't be a good long-term fit at your church anyway.

Then we look at the candidate's philosophy of ministry... their view of church culture and DNA. We determine whether or not they would fit your church's unique culture. For example, if a candidate feels more at home in a suit and tie on Sundays, and your church is a casual jeans and t-shirt setting, it's a sign that this will not be a healthy long-term fit for you.

We do the same process for personality and skills and abilities.

How? By a series of short assessments. Each candidate that applies for your church's job opening will be immediately assessed in the areas of theology, church culture/DNA, personality, and skills/abilities. Then their answers will be matched with how your church's leadership team answered the same exact questions.

This assessment process gives us over 100 points of information on each candidate that applies for your position. It also gives us a great snapshot into how good of a fit this candidate would be for the position you're hiring for.  And all before you've even talked or interviewed the candidate.

Truthfully, we think this is a game changer. We think this is helping churches to unlocking what we all really (really) want... effective long-term ministry.

If you're a church looking for a new staff person, we'd love to find out what you're looking for and see if we can help. 

And if you're a candidate, you can get on our radar by filling out your church staff profile and answering some quick assessment questions.

The goal HAS to be healthy transitions and better, longer-term fits. Churches need to filter candidates better; and candidates need to vet and do due diligence on the churches they're considering working for.

We're looking forward to helping serve you and your church when you're ready to make your next hire. If there's ever any way that we can help you, please feel free to reach out to us anytime!

Want to have a discussion about your staff team and how we can help? Let's do it!

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