Having been at Peoples Baptist Church now for over thirty-two years, I have seen many staff members come and go. Some have floundered, and some have flourished and gone on to do even greater things for God. Having a Christian school and a church staff, we consistently maintain between fifty and eighty staff members.
I would like to draw your attention to four things that should be considered when hiring staff members. It is also important to note that any good staff member can turn if he takes his eyes off the Lord. I learned the first three of these from my friend, Dr. Paul Chappell, and the fourth I have added. I have found this formula to be effective in preventing “staff infection.”
Does this person have impeccable character? It is important for a pastor to call references and do his homework before hiring someone. Any flaw in character should send a red flag up immediately. I am not saying that someone who has stumbled cannot be used. What I am saying is that someone who lacks in character will hurt the pastor and the church at some point. What may not be discernable by looking into his eyes during the interview can still be perceived through direction of the Holy Spirit.
Can this person do the job intended for him to do? We as independent Baptists are famous for shifting people around because we found out too late that they could not effectively do the job that they were hired to do.
Making sure that someone is a competent hire saves stress in the long run for everyone involved. In these last days when time is of the essence and there is a world to be reached, the last thing a pastor should have to do is waste time babysitting a staff member who should be helping him get the main job done.
Can this person get along with others? No matter how competent he may be, if he can’t get along with the others, too much time will be spent putting out fires. Paul and Mark had to go their separate ways. Both were good men doing great works for God, but they did not work well together. Later on they mended fences.
Paul and Silas were in jail together praying, singing, winning souls, and praising God—things that are impossible if staff members are not getting along.
Is this person the right one at this moment? You might find someone who has impeccable character, who is competent in the work place, and who works well with others, but the timing has to be right. It is important not to run ahead of God. Not only is there a right way to do things, there is also a right time.
These four principles are in my mind every time I hire someone. Granted, some things we do not fully find out until someone has been hired, but how good it is when we can help ourselves in making wise choices in the beginning.