By Ken Blue
Eventually the pastor is going to be forced to search for staff members. This will be someone to work with him, or to replace him when he leaves. Regardless, it could be one of the most important decisions you could make. Therefore, there should be much prayer and counsel when searching for new staff.
I believe the ideal place to look for staff is right within your church. If a church is doing what it should, it will be constantly developing and training men and women for ministry. Although I have hired some good staff from without, the most success has been with those who have been longtime members of our church.
The pastor should constantly be observing the flock for prospective staff and leaders. There are some specific things one should watch for.
The most important is the character of the individual. Are they committed to Christ and His church? Are they faithful to the services, and are they prompt and on time? Do you trust them?
Does the person under consideration work well with others? Can he adjust his personality to you and others? He or she must be likeable and acceptable to others. There can be no room for outburst of anger, or pouting. These are signs of selfishness and immaturity. Don’t underestimate the importance of this quality. He must be able to work under authority, with his peers and subordinates.
Is the person qualified or capable of filling the position? I have seen several staff members who fit the character and personality qualifications, but could not do the job. This is awkward and a frustrating situation for the pastor and the staff member. This is why people need to be observed and trained before they are installed in a position.
The advantages, when hiring from within, is they know the people and the people know them. When hiring from without, you usually get someone who already has his or her own standards, doctrines, and ideas of ministry. If this is the case, they will be critical of you.
I remember on two different occasions when I hired assistant pastors from without, they could not wait to resign because some ladies in our church wore pants. We have power point and large screens in our church. Some students, when coming from college, would not sit through the song service. They had been conditioned to believe these were wrong. Those from outside may have issues with the type of music, and instruments you use. One young man grew up in our church, was saved there and left for Bible College. After the college had him four years, he returned to the Seattle area, but would not attend our church. So, hire from within and avoid the heartache. Let those whose standards differ, go start their own church.
Pastor Jason Murphy grew up in Open Door, and worked on staff for six years. He is now the senior pastor. Both of his pastoral staff were saved, married, trained, and ordained at Open Door. Also, the church secretary, and the custodian were hired from within the church. Pastor Murphy understands the importance of what we have been saying.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.