Getting Started On Your Church Staff Search

Congratulations! You’ve just started looking for your next church staff member. In this first video, we’ll share with you what you can expect during your search, how to develop your search plan, and what to do with all the resumes you’re about to receive. Let’s get going!

Now Playing: Getting Started on Your Church Staff Search

Key Takeaways

After you watch the video above, read through these key takeaways that will help guide you as you start your staff search.  These ideas and strategies will get you off on the right foot as you search for your church’s healthy, long-term fit.

When it comes right down to it, there should be only one goal for your church's staff search:  find the person that will truly be a 'healthy, long-term fit'.

The average tenure of a church staff member nationwide is under three years.  At Chemistry, we define a 'healthy, long-term fit' as someone that has the potential to serve at your church and in your community for the next 5+ years.

Make no mistake.  Most of the resumes that you will receive will be from fine people... people that are gifted and called to ministry.  But most of the people that apply for your open position will simply not be a great fit for the position you have open at YOUR church.

That may be because they don't have the skills or experience for your role.  It may be that they are not a good cultural fit for your church or community.  Or it could be that there are some significant (or non-significant) theological differences that would make it hard for them to serve in your context.

That's ok. We'll guide you through how to identify the resumes of candidates that could truly be a great fit for your church, community, and context.
At Matt says... be sure to 'bathe this bad boy in prayer'.

But seriously.

We cannot emphasize enough how important prayer is to your search process.

Remember: God is not surprised about anything that's happening right now. He's not surprised that you need to hire someone. In fact, He even knows who this person is, and has actually been working in the life of your future staff member for years to prepare them for this move. How utterly fantastic is that?

God won't be surprised by your frustration. He won't be surprised by how long it takes. And He won't be surprised at the smoothness or rockiness of the journey.

But what God sees in whole, we only see in part.

So we need to pray for our search process, for our future staff member, for our search team, for our volunteers and staff, and for the lives that will be impacted by this hire. And most of all, we need to pray for clarity and wisdom.
Your search will take time.

It SHOULD take time.

You may spend some sleepless nights. But as we've said, God is not surprised by how long this process takes. And you shouldn't be either.

The work you are doing is going to have a significant impact on your church and community. There is a spiritual wake that is formed by the significance of your work.

This is going to be a ton of work, but always remember that the work is important.

Lean in. There are no shortcuts.

(Actually... there ARE shortcuts. And you'll be tempted to take them. But shortcuts always come at a future cost. We'll help fight that temptation. And most likely, you'll thank us later!)

So lean in.

This whole process will quite possibly take longer than you think it should. That's ok. It's just THAT important.
As you start to look at resumes, remember first of all that each resume you view represents a child of God.

At Chemistry Staffing, we like to say that each and every candidate we encounter is unique (one of a kind), special (if they're special to God then they need to be special to us), and valuable (each person is called by God to do something significant in his Kingdom somewhere)

Having this mindset about each candidate is incredibly important. It will cause you to treat and communicate with each person differently.

You can only learn so much from a person's resume. And in almost every case, the four corners of a person's resume is a partial (and flawed) snapshot of this person, his/her family, and their ministry.
This may sound corny, but when someone sends a resume to apply for a position at your church, they are sending a little piece of themselves along as well. They are 'putting themselves out there' and being vulnerable. In fact, the transition side from a candidate's perspective is always full of uncertainty, doubt, and questioning what God has next.

So treat each candidate like they are one of your own... because... well, they are. They are your brother or sister in Christ. Do your best to respect, communicate, and honor each person that graces your with a resume or application for your opening.
You'll get a lot of resumes from great candidates, they're just not great candidates for your church.

And you'll be tempted by many things: -personality -experience -church background -family -salary -connection

We'll show you how to not be distracted by 'shiny things'.

In fact, we're about to show you the five things you'll need for there to be a healthy, long-term fit for the person you eventually hire. (Stay tuned!)
The longer your search goes, the more you'll be tempted to settle.

But don't settle.

What we're proposing takes time.

There are extra steps. Steps that you've not, up until this point, needed to consider. Steps that we'll show you starting in the next video.

Each step is worth it.

Each step helps help ensure that you're making a great decision for your church (and for your next team member)

And each step will get you closer to finding that healthy, long-term team member that we've been talking about.

Additional Resources

We’ve assembled some great supplemental learning tools that will help you in your search for a healthy, long-term fit for your staff team.  All of these exclusive Chemistry Staffing resources are available for free download for you and your search team.

We're Here to Help... Ask Us Anything!

We are here to help you with any questions during your search.  Ask us anything.  Where are you stuck?  What clarifications do you need?  How is your hiring situation unique? We’d love to hear how your search is going and try to answer any questions that you might have!

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Your Presenters

Todd Rhoades

Todd has invested over 30 years in serving churches, having served as a worship pastor for over 15 years, a church elder for more than a decade, and in various ministry leadership roles in both the business and non-profit sectors. As the original founder and developer of, Todd fundamentally changed the way thousands of churches search for pastors and staff on the internet. Todd served for over a decade as a Director with Leadership Network, providing him exposure to the innovative trends in today’s church and inside knowledge of how healthy churches operate. A graduate of Cedarville University, Todd lives in Bryan, OH with his wife, Dawn.

Matt Steen

Matt has served the local church for over two decades as a youth pastor, church planter, and executive pastor. Originally from Baltimore, Matt currently lives in the Orlando, FL area with his wife Theresa, and has a B.S. in Youth Ministry from Nyack College and an M.Div. and MBA from Baylor University. Certified as an Urban Church Planter Coach by Redeemer City to City and as a StratOp facilitator by the Paterson Center, Matt has made a career of helping churches thrive through intentionality, clarity, and creating healthy cultures. He is convinced that a healthy church is led by a healthy team with great chemistry, and loves partnering with Chemistry’s churches to do great things for the Kingdom.

Need help with Getting Started With Your Search Finding Candidates Identifying a Healthy Fit Discovering Your Non-Negotiables Scoring Resumes Making Great Decisions Interview Questions Compensation Packages Your Search Team On-Site Visits Video Interview Strategy Developing Your Benefits Package Onboarding Your New Staff Member ?

As part of the purchase price of this course, you also receive a free 30-minute consultation with one of our Church Coaches at Chemistry Staffing to help you in any area of your search.  Need some help finding qualified candidates, sorting resumes, or developing your compensation and benefits package?  We’re here to help and guide you in any area of your staff search.