Church Staff Hiring

Effective New Staff Onboarding Tips

Churches seeking pastors may be relieved to have the interview process completed with a confirmed candidate. We know the feeling!  However, there remains one essential next step: onboarding a new church staff member or pastor effectively.

From reviewing daily procedures, to the staff handbook, to compensation details, we’ve found that onboarding is essential for establishing expectations and systems that keep a staff working effectively together. Here are a few ways to make this process especially smooth after your pastor search:

Designate Someone to Lead the Onboarding Process

A new staff member should have a designated person to consult with any questions. While the onboarding leader should guide the process right from the start, it’s likely that the new pastor or church staff member will have questions in the days the follow.

The leader of the onboarding process should work with the pastoral search committee to sort out what’s been covered during the interview process, what requires clarification, and what hasn’t been addressed yet. The onboarding process should be clearly spelled out in a document listing each step of the process.


The Employee Manual for Church Staff

In a perfect world, each new staff member or pastor shows up on the first day of work an understanding of the employee manual. However, set up a meeting right from the start to get the basics of the church staff crystal clear.


Discuss office hours, sick days, vacations, and any other policies related to the ways that staff relate to each other. This is especially important for conveying the kind of church culture you will establish.


Provide Training and Resources for New Staff

In the course of the onboarding process for a new pastor or staff member, it’s likely that a new hire will need additional training or access to resources. Be prepared to fill in these gaps as fast as possible. Whether creating a budget for certain classes or training events, an effective staff member will be well trained, resourced, and confident.


Set follow up dates where leaders can assess a new hire’s progress and whether additional follow up is required. Most importantly, a new hire shouldn’t be blamed for any failures of the onboarding process.


Make the New Staff Member Public

The congregation shouldn’t be surprised to learn that a new staff member has been added to your church. That not only creates suspicion of the existing staff, but it puts the new staff member in an uncomfortable position.


There should be frequent updates during the pastoral position or church staff search process, and once a hire has been made, develop a communication and introduction plan that includes announcements and opportunities to meet the new staff member, starting with the existing church staff.


Evaluate Your Onboarding Process

No onboarding process is complete without evaluation and changes. Thankfully, you’ll have some expert insight available right on your own staff! Although it may be difficult to ask how you may have failed to onboard a new staff member effectively, this conversation can help resolve any potential problems and prevent these mistakes in the future.


Let’s Talk about Your Hiring Strategy

If seeking a new pastor or filling an open position at your church overwhelms you, consider bringing in expert help. At Chemistry Staffing we love helping church leaders conduct efficient, affordable, and effective searches for pastors and church staff.

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Todd Rhoades

Todd Rhoades is the co-founder of Todd has worked with churches for over 30 years, both as a staff member and a consultant. He was the original founder of Todd lives with his wife, Dawn in Bryan, Ohio.