hiring a new staff member

(finding a healthy, long-term fit)

The average church staff member in America stays at their church for about three years. Churches that hire well can increase the longevity and effectiveness of their staff exponentially.

There are five needed Elements of a great long-term hire

In our work with churches over the years, we have identified five different areas that need to match up in order for your next hire to have ‘long-term, healthy fit’ potential.  Miss on any one of these five, and the chances for longevity of your new staff member goes down significantly.  Misalignment on two or more of these areas are the things that bad hires are made of. 


Does this person believe the same as us on both core and secondary issues?


Will this person be a good fit for our community, church, and culture?


Does this person play well with others?  Are they likeable?


Does this person have the talents and abilities we need to do a good job?


Will this person fit on our team? Do we want to do life AND ministry together?

Too often churches fall in love with candidates too early in the interview process. While likeability is one of the five elements you’ll be screening for (personality), it is not the only filter. Great hires for your team equally search for theological fit, culture/DNA fit, personality fit, skills and experience fit, and ‘Chemistry’ (which is your final ‘gut check’ to be sure a candidate is the right person for your church and community.


That is why Chemistry Staffing developed an assessment process that gives us an understanding of who a candidate is theologically and culturally, gives us a sense of their personality, and helps us understand whether they have the necessary skills to do the job that they were hired for. This pre-interview assessment process allows us to gather 125 points of data early on in the process, allowing us to gain crucial insight into whether someone is a potential fit for the churches we work with or not. The end result of this process allows us to eliminate 90-95% of the candidates who submit a resume for a position. By the time a candidate completes our assessment process, we have a reasonable idea as to whether they could be a good fit for your church, and whether they should be interviewed for the position.

we have access to great candidates. lots of great candidates.

Candidates Assessed

When your church starts a search with Chemistry Staffing, we’ll access our database of candidates that have already completed our entire assessment process. This allows us to quickly see if we may already have candidates that match what you are looking for. This is only the start. We also market your open position, network with thousands of church leaders across the country, and contact universities and seminaries on your behalf. You’ll tap into our network to help surface the right candidates for your role.

Our team makes all the difference

When you partner with Chemistry Staffing for your next church staff search, you tap into an experienced group of church professionals that are passionate about helping your church find a great fit. Our team includes senior pastors, executive pastors, worship pastors, youth pastors… people highly trained and experienced in church work.

Our candidate coaches have been in the trenches serving churches for years.  They have the experience to know the right questions to ask during our interview process. They can uncover theological discrepancies, character flaws, and ministry burnout. And they take the time to get to know your church and SPECIFICALLY the type of person you are looking for in your next staff member.

Our church coaches have a passion for the Church combined with deep experience and expertise in our Chemistry assessment process. Your church coach will get to know you and your church personally and work with you from the very start of your search until well after your new hire’s first day.

You can find out more about everyone on our team here.

Questions? Concerns? We get it.

Finding your next staff member is a BIG deal. You SHOULD be asking a lot of questions. Maybe this will help. Click on any of the buttons below to (hopefully) get some answers…

We've never worked with a search firm like Chemistry before.

No worries.  Many of the churches that we are working with have NEVER worked with a search firm before Chemistry, so you're in good company!  Let's set up a time to talk about how we might be able to work together.

We HAVE worked with a search firm. It was not a good experience.

We are so sorry to hear that. You'll find that working with Chemistry is much different that working with most other search firms.  Our process is totally different, and our approach is very relational.  We'd love to hear about your past experience and how we might be able to gain your trust in your next search.

We're going to try the search on our own first.

Awesome.  We always suggest that your search starts by networking with people you know (and people they know).  Websites and job boards can be helpful as well. We'll be here if you need us.  The biggest way we help is by bringing great qualified candidates to the table.  If you find your search is not attracting the right people, let's talk to see how we can help.

My church doesn't have the budget to work with a search firm.

We get it. Many churches don't budget for staff searches.  But working with Chemistry can actually save your church time and money.  We've worked with churches of all sizes to help make our service affordable for any church. If you're concerned about cost or budget, let's talk...

My church is too small (or too large) to work with Chemistry.

Every church isn't Saddleback or North Point. We've worked with churches as small as 40 people and as large as 8,000 weekly attenders.  And we value all equally. God works in all size churches, and so do we. Your church won't be a number (or an afterthought) with Chemistry.  Let's talk about how we might be able to work together...

We're considering a different search firm. Change my mind.

You're doing your due diligence. We love it.  We don't presume to be the only church search firm on the planet worthy of your consideration.  Many other firms do great work.  We would love to tell you why our process is different and how we could serve your church in a great way during your search.  Let's chat...

My biggest fear is that we'll make a bad hire.

Just about every church has a bad hire in their history. At Chemistry, we're focused on minimizing the risk of a bad hire. That's why we work so hard accessing and interviewing candidates on the front-end of our search.  We'd love to share more with you on how our team works to find your church the right healthy, long-term fit.  Let's talk...

Here are some of the great Churches we've worked with

Let's start the conversation...

Are you getting ready to start the search process at your church? Or maybe you’re in the midst of a search that needs a little extra help? Let’s talk. We’d love to hear your story and see if there’s a way that we can help find your next long-term ministry staff member.


As you talk with potential staff members, it’s important the you make sure that they are a good fit for your church theologically. 

  • How do your church’s open-handed and close-fisted theological issues line up with the candidate’s views on these issues?
  • On close-fisted issues, non-alignment needs to disqualify the candidate from your search, but you should also be exploring the open-handed issues to ensure that they will not cause a low-grade frustration between you and your new hire.

When not thoroughly aligned, cracks many time begin to show within 12-18 months of the hire.  

At Chemistry Staffing, our process pre-screens every potential candidate on major and secondary theological issues and compares the results with your church’s theological beliefs. This instantly identifies areas of disagreement or issues that warrant additional discussion before the hire.


Every church has a different culture and DNA. Small-town churches have a different feel than city churches. And most Baptist churches have a different ministry philosophy than Pentecostal churches.  Finding a candidate that matches your church’s (and community’s) distinct ‘way’ of doing ministry is key to finding a healthy, long-term fit.

  • What type of church culture is the candidate coming out of and how does that compare to your church?
  • An honest assessment of your culture will help ensure that you do not bring someone on the team that will chafe at the way you do things from day one.

Every candidate that applies for your staff opening at Chemistry Staffing is asked a series of culture and DNA questions to see if they have the potential to be a great fit at YOUR church.  It is not uncommon for a candidate to be a tremendous fit for your church theologically but be a total mis-match when it comes to your church’s culture and ministry philosophy.  Identifying areas of misalignment early in the process will help insure you don’t make a common hiring mistake.


Every church and every church staff member has a personality. Too many churches make hires based on a first impression: “Do I like this person?”  But there is much more that likeability that determines whether or not a candidate will be a great fit at your church.

  • A hard-charging, type-A personality in a type-B church will not end well.
  • Knowing how your church is wired and comparing that to the candidate will help you discern whether someone will be able to stay for the long-term.

It’s extremely important to get to know your candidate well BEFORE you make an offer to come on your staff.  Introducing your candidate to key staff and volunteers in different social and church settings can help you determine how well a candidate will fit with your church’s and staff’s personality.

At Chemistry Staffing, our personality assessment sees if there is great potential for personal connectedness and affinity or if the candidate has personality traits that may clash with your team and church in the long-run. Our assessment also flags potential problem areas that can be addressed during the interview process.


Skills and experience is one of the easier things to assess.  Resumes and interviews can pretty easily uncover a candidate’s past experience, education, and innate abilities.

We often remind churches that the goal of your search is not to find “Jesus with a guitar”. Keeping realistic expectations is important. (It’s impossible to find someone, for example, with an MDiv, 20 years of experience, and 32 years old!)

Here are some key questions to ask:

  • Has this candidate demonstrated the required skills of the position, or are they ready to step into a bigger role?
  • Digging into a candidate’s skill set will keep you from setting someone up for failure.

Hiring the right person is sometimes a mix of evaluating past successes and future potential.

At Chemistry Staffing, we’ll work with you to find the right mix of skill and experience you’ll need for the success of this role. We can help you navigate each candidates potential strengths and weaknesses. Our pre-interview skills and abilities assessment helps us find candidates that meet the expectations and requirements of the role.


Many times you’ll know if a you have made a personal connection with a candidate within the first ten minutes. But hiring based on your first-impression of a ‘chemistry’ match can be a huge mistake.

Chemistry should be the final test for whether or not a potential candidate will do well serving on staff at your church. Here are some key questions to ask:

  • Is this someone that you will enjoy working with for the next five years?
  • Would you feel comfortable inviting this person over to your house on a Tuesday night for BBQ?

Determining the level of chemistry a candidate has with your team saves you from incredibly awkward work environments.

But hiring based on chemistry alone can be a dumpster fire when you find that the person you’ve fallen in love with also shares key theological or philosophy of ministry differences.

When a church hires Chemistry Staffing to help with their staff search, we assess for the first four critical areas (theology, culture/dna, personality, and skills/experience). Once a candidate aligns in those four areas, we urge our churches to dive into the ‘chemistry’ question. Most churches will know instinctively if a candidate possesses the ‘chemistry’ it will take to be a healthy part of their team.