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Stop Hiring People you Like

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A wrong hire can set a ministry back for years and unfortunately churches aren’t known for making great hires. Pastors have a tendency to hire people that they like, and value relational chemistry over production. I get it. Pastors are taught Greek, Theology and the Bible. Seminaries aren’t known for providing great courses on recruiting, hiring and team development.

So, most pastors are left to rely on their “gut” and hope for the best. They typically look for natural connections that they can build on to get “comfortable” with and “believe” in a potential hire.

Is the potential hire from the same denomination of churches? Did they go to the same seminary or school as the pastor? Do they know the same people and run in the same circles (tribe)? Did a friend recommend them? Have they read the same books or listen to the same podcasts? Do they go to the same conferences for inspiration and new ideas? Do they already know someone on staff? Do they share similar interests or grow up in the same area or region of the country?

All of these simple connections can lead pastors to emotionally and relationally zero in on a potential hire and pull the trigger to bring them on the team for all the wrong reasons.

Don’t be Afraid of Results

Culture and chemistry really matter, they should factor into your recruiting and hiring. Potential hires need to fit with your team and your church. But you’re not just hiring them for their fit, you’re hiring them to get something done. You’re hiring them to produce results. If they don’t have a proven track record of producing the kind of results you’re looking for, then pass on them, no matter how great a “fit” they may be.

Challenge the Team

A new hire is a great opportunity to infuse a whole new set of experiences, ideas, perspectives, training and competencies into the staff team at your church. When you invite a new person to your staff team they should lift the water level of the entire team up. Their approach, experience and expertise should challenge the team and motivate them to take some new ground. If there is too great a value on chemistry and relationally connecting with a potential hire then relationship will trump growth.

You’re not Hiring them to be your Friend

Listen, I completely understand wanting to “like” the people you work with and yes, I’ve read about how everybody needs a “best friend” at work. I’m fortunate enough to work at a church and on a team that I actually really, really like. But at the end of the day when you’re hiring someone you’re not hiring them to be your friend. You’re hiring them to join with you and play their part to make a big vision become real. I mean could you imagine saying to Jesus, “Hey I know we didn’t take your mission to reach everyone on the planet with the Gospel very seriously and we didn’t do a great job with that, but we really liked each other.”


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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