Hire the Right Worship Pastor
If you’ve downloaded this resource, it’s probably because you’re looking for a new Worship Pastor.
That can be a daunting task.
Because other than the Senior Pastor, it’s the most visible role in the church.
Too many churches end up with someone who isn’t quite the right fit. Maybe the skills are there, but the chemistry just isn’t right. Getting this wrong can actually divide a church.
No process can guarantee the right result. After all, we’re talking about imperfect people and imperfect organizations.
Our goal in this book is to lay out a process that will give you the best chance of finding just the right person. We want to provide clarity at key points in the process. We want to help you have conversations in advance that increase the likelihood of ending up with just the right fit.
We’re going to talk through these four big ideas:
WHEN IS IT TIME TO HIRE A WORSHIP PASTOR?
- HIRE TO YOUR BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY, NOT YOUR BIGGEST PAIN
- WHAT IS THE ACTUAL ROLE AND WHERE DOES IT FIT ON THE TEAM?
- WHO IS THE RIGHT PERSON AND WHERE DO WE FIND THEM?
- HOW DO WE INTEGRATE THEM INTO OUR TEAM AND CULTURE?
Sit back, pour a cup of coffee, and let’s walk through this thing together.
IS IT REALLY TIME TO HIRE SOMEONE?
If you’re leading a growing church, at some point, you’ll need to hire someone.
Maybe you need to hire several people. Should you hire a creative arts pastor or is it time to get a full-time student pastor? Should you split the children’s ministry role and hire someone new or does your church need a small groups director?
If you’re wrestling through the question of who to hire next, here’s some practical advice.
- HIRE TO YOUR BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY, NOT YOUR BIGGEST PAIN
In every organization,we had pains,things we wanted to eliminate, and opportunities we wanted to pursue. If you don’t have the resources to do both, I recommend siding with growth.
Sure, it would be nice to have some administrative help, but you might be able to eliminate the pain by outsourcing. Of course, you need someone to take some things off your plate, but it’s likely more tasks would take their place.
That’s why (in most cases) you should look to hire for growth opportunities, not management.
In Bill Hybels’ book Leadership Axioms, he talks about something he calls plus side and minus side hires. In a church, plus side hires will be directly responsible for people coming to church. Plus side hires should result in growth. For example, a children’s pastor should help attract families with children to church.
Minus side hires aren’t bad hires, but they don’t have a direct line to growth. They may facilitate it, but they don’t produce it. Bookkeepers are minus side people.
What is bringing new people to your church? What ministry has the greatest likelihood of directly inviting people to church? Put your staff resources there.
If someone on your team comes to you and says, “We need to hire someone;’ don’t dismiss them. Instead, ask them to write a detailed proposal. Have them write down what they would do, how much they would make, and why it’s important to the growth and health of the ministry. If you can’t clarify all the details, you’re not ready to start looking.
Before you add anyone to the team, you need a strong one-page ministry plan. You need to have a clear purpose, mission, and vision. You should have a simple and articulated strategy. You should know where you are going.
We have a one-page template (and some coaching on exactly how to do it), inside the Church Fuel membership program. You can access the training and download the templates instantly as soon as you join.
If you don’t have a strategic plan, adding people to the mix will create more confusion. You will hire people in response to a short-term need and then wonder what to do with them when that need is gone. You’ll hire too many generalists who are good people and who can help you, but fail to give them measurable outcomes that truly matter to the entire organization.
Your purpose, mission, strategy, and goals should inform who you should hire next.
There will always be more to do than staff to do it. That’s why investing in volunteers and leaders is a wise thing to do. Before you hire someone, make sure you have maxed out your volunteer leadership development plan.
There are people in your church who are not serving because they haven’t personally been asked. There are people serving in ineffective ministries that should be recruited to serve in more impactful and more important ministries. Others are serving in the wrong ministry.
And there are people in your church who would get involved if you had a solid process for recruiting, training, and pastoring volunteers.
People in your church have incredible capacity, often more than we give them credit for. They could take on more volunteer roles. They are waiting for the opportunity to lead.
Nine times out of ten, a high-capacity volunteer will bring more value to the table than a part-time staff member.
9 TIMES OUT OF 10, A HIGH-CAPACITY VOLUNTEER WILL BRING MORE VALUE TO THE TABLE THAN A PART-TIME STAFF MEMBER
Lifepoint Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia is a growing church that spends less than 35% of their budget on staff. They hire people to lead ministry, not do ministry. They can do this because they have an intentional strategy to develop volunteers.
While their staff to attendance ratio is low, their adults to volunteer ratio is high. In other words, they choose to under-staff so they can over-volunteer.
There are times when you really do need to expand your staff. With church growth comes more responsibilities and more need for both volunteers and staff.
But make sure you’re not hiring people to do what volunteers should be doing in your church. Before you hire people, make sure you’ve done your best to develop volunteers and volunteer leaders.
Besides, the person you’re about to hire can’t do it all.
Before you bring someone new to the team, you need to make sure your entire organization is set up and prepared for the new person. There will be meetings, new communication loops, and additional confusion when you bring in someone new.
Before you hire someone, make sure the position is crystal clear. You need a job profile, describing the kind of person you’re looking for. This takes a lot of work. You also need a clear job description, with measurable outcomes built right in. We’re going to show you how to write this.
And before you hire someone, make sure the position is fully funded, not just for a few months with the hope they will “pay for themselves” Even a plus side hire will take the time to get up to speed and start paying for themselves.
Too many churches scrape some money together to hire a part-time person (or a really underpaid and overworked full-time person). So many times, that person isn’t set up for success. The church would have been better off waiting and funding the position at a higher level.
Once you’ve decided it’s time to hire someone, let’s go ahead and take a look at what kind of hire you need to make.
WHAT IS THE ROLE AND WHERE DOES IT FIT?
The journey to finding the best worship pastor for your church starts with clarifying exactly what you’re looking for.
Are you looking for someone to lead worship on Sunday, build a team, or oversee technology? Are you looking for someone with musical ability or leadership skills? Do you need someone to lead the church or are you looking for someone to lead a service?
Your worship pastor can take on many roles. Technology master. Listening ear. Expert problem-solver. So you need to ask . . . what will your worship pastor do? Just as every church is different, so are the needs and culture of every church, thus, so every worship pastor is different.
Many churches, from church plants that don’t have a full-time staff position, to multi-site churches who prefer this model, choose to bring in people on a Sunday morning.
A worship leader contractor may be perfect for churches who:
Can’t afford a part-time or full-time employee
Want a professional fill-in for their worship pastor
Are just starting out
The independent contractor may fill in for the regular worship leader from time to time or they may play regularly and receive a weekly stipend.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A CONTRACTOR:
* They are paid a fixed fee per service rendered, for example, for leading worship in one church service.
They have flexibility as to when and where they can work.
They have the flexibility to decline an engagement and/or has the freedom to find a substitute.
They have the freedom to seek out opportunities to do similar work for other churches.
* They manage their own training and development.
* They usually operate with a written service agreement or simple contract.
A contractor is not technically an employee, so they determine their own practice schedules and have the ability to decline work opportunities. In the truest sense, they are self-employed and agree to perform a task for your church.
When it comes to hiring a contractor to lead worship, you have a lot of freedom. If your church would like to, you’re free to dictate what music will be played, practice and service times, or supply the music and instruments. You don’t need a formal employment agreement, though it’s probably smart to have a simple contractor agreement.
Independent contractors are not considered employees of the church so you don’t issue a W2 like you do other full-time employees. You issue them a 1099 instead.
#2. PART TIME STAFF MEMBER
Many churches may hire a part time worship leader or worship pastor. Here’s what that might look like:
They are paid an hourly or salary fee.
They work less than 30 hours a week.
They are more involved in the culture and community of the church.
They have more of a set work and practice schedule.
They work solely for one church.
They report to someone else on the staff, usually the Pastor.
The part-time worship pastor is much more permanent than the contractor. They’re an integral member of a church team. They should know and be invested in the lives of people there and come up with new ideas to help your church grow and improve.
A part-time worship pastor may be great for churches that:
Can’t afford a full-time employee.
Have someone in mind they’d like to become a full-time employee.
The part time position is often the most confusing It’s not as simple and structured as the contractor but it’s not a full-time position either. It’s easy for people to feel caught in the middle.
In many cases, there are unrealistic job descriptions and an overall lack of clarity.
Clarity is important for every person and position, but if you opt for a part-time worship leader, make sure you put even more emphasis on getting on the same page by being clear with what is expected of your worship leader or pastor, answering any questions they may have, and giving them the freedom to take ownership of their role (without micro-managing).
A FULL-TIME WORSHIP LEADER.
The full-time worship leader works at least 40 hours a week at your church. They live, eat, and breathe all things that have to do with worship, production, and everything in between. They disciple others, are usually versed in how to deal with technical issues and/or setup, are constantly on the go, and attend weekly meetings with the rest of your staff.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A FULL-TIME EMPLOYEE:
They are paid an hourly or salary fee.
They work 40+ hours a week.
They are heavily involved in the culture and community of the church.
They have a set work/practice schedule (whether through a superior or making their own).
They work solely for one church.
* They report to someone, usually the Senior Pastor.
A full-time worship pastor is a great option for:
Churches that can afford it and are ready to improve that area of ministry.
Churches that have multiple services or worship environments.
Churches looking to build a culture of worship.
The full-time worship leader may have some responsibilities related to the worship service but not necessarily music. For example, they may oversee technology or facilities of the Sunday morning environment.
The full-time worship leader often ends up pastoring both those on and off the worship “team!’ They may plan services, but they are typically responsible for more.
Some churches separate the job of leading worship and the job of planning the services by hiring a full-time creative arts pastor.
A creative arts pastor might oversee production, worship, and other creative elements of a Sunday morning service, without having to be the one that weekly leads people to worship every Sunday.
The creative arts pastor oversees, delegates, plans, and get things done.They may manage a worship leader or a team of musicians, but they are first and foremost a leader.
Like a full-time worship leader, here are the characteristics of a full-time Creative Arts pastor:
CHARACTERISTICS OF A FULL-TIME CREATIVE ARTS PASTOR:
They are paid an hourly or salary fee.
They work 40+ hours a week.
They are heavily involved in the culture and community of the church.
They have a set work/practice schedule (whether through a superior or making their own).
They work solely for one church.
* They usually have people who report to them.
A full-time creative arts pastor is a great option for:
Large churches who want to separate the task of leading worship and leading people.
Churches with more than 1,000 regular attenders.
Churches where it’s too much for one person to lead worship and lead the ministry.
When deciding which hire is right for you, note that these are all great options.There is no one “right” option. Another important thing to note when deciding which hire is right for you is the difference between a worship leader and a worship pastor.
In his article, David Santistevan discusses the difference between a worship leader and a worship pastor.
A worship leader leads a service. A worship pastor leads people.
We’re not saying you can’t use the title ‘worship leader’. But when you are searching for a candidate, look for someone with a pastor’s heart. Someone who isn’t a diva. Someone who cares and prays for the people in your church, and who truly lives worship past Sunday services.
A WORSHIP LEADER LEADS A SERVICE. A WORSHIP PASTOR LEADS PEOPLE
If you’re a pastor and you’re still not sure what sort of worship pastor you’re looking for, or should hire, right now . . . that’s okay. Assess the needs of your church and figure out when and who you should hire.
Job descriptions can be helpful. They’re a list of all the tasks this person will do.
And the final bullet point on the list usually says “other duties” which is a comical way to say, “We’re not really sure about what you’re going to end up doing so we want to cover our bases!’
But when you set out to find the right worship pastor, you need something a little different. You need a job profile.
A job description describes the role and tasks associated with it. It’s usually a list of tasks that need to be done.
Here are some worship leader specific descriptions from the Effective Church Group, Cedar Creek Church, and Next Level Church.
A job profile describes the kind of person that will be successful in a position. It certainly describes the role and tasks associated with it, but it also includes necessary skills, desired outcomes, and measurable results.
A job profile is more about who than what. It describes the kind of person that will be successful. It gets at the values of the church and talks about the outcome of the role.
You can use a template, but we recommend you wrestle through these questions. Failure to get a good profile means too many people look right for the job, rather than actually being the right fit for the job.
When you’re creating a job profile, there are some key things you’ll want to include in there, as follows:
ABOUT US Describe who your church is and what you’re about. Lots of people will agree with your mission, but not everyone may agree with your vision (or how to get there).
SUMMARY OF THE POSITION Give a summary about the position itself.
GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS. Communicate your expectations for this position in advance, before you start talking to anyone. Are there broader expectations here? Should all staff be tithing? Create clarity here and leave as little room as possible for there to be any confusion.
This tends to be more common in secular jobs. The bottom line is that there are performance expectations for this role. Do you want your worship leader to increase band or production members by 20% in their first 12 months? Make sure you clarify what those indicators are.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES This is the job description part. A list of what your worship pastor will be doing throughout the week.
SKILL AND REQUIREMENTS. Does your worship leader need to play with a click track? What kind of experience should they have? Do they need to know how to manage teams/use planning center? Or is there a learning curve and room for them to learn on the go?
SALARY RANGE It is crucial to be clear about the salary range, especially in the beginning stages. You don’t want to waste you and your candidate’s time. This can be an uncomfortable conversation for both parties, but it’s helpful for the church to remember that a candidate’s family is their first ministry and responsibility. The last thing you want to do is go through a dozen steps with a candidate only to find out that your salary offering does not meet their needs or expectations. This also leads to a setback in your progress of finding someone who can fill that need.
These goals, expectations, and indicators are what set aside a job profile from a job description. This way, you’re creating clarity for what you expect of your worship pastor, who you are as a church, and you leave little room for confusion.
Including this information can help you improve and expedite your candidate selection process. This way, you can worry more about if your church and your candidate are a good fit, rather than information being lost in miscommunication.
Where do they fit on the team?
Never hire someone without an organizational, or org, chart. You need it, but they do too.
An org chart can help you decide what kind of role you need filled and can give you and your hire a better consider who your church is, what you do, who does what, and what exactly their expectations are (alongside your job profile).
A new employee needs to understand how they fit into the leadership structure of the church. A lack of clarity will create muddy waters and a lack of effectiveness. Remember, every time you bring a new person on to your team, you create confusion. Your org chart changes with each new person.
Before you ask around or post on websites, finalize your org chart. It could look something like the chart on the next page.
The worship pastor often falls somewhere under the accountability of the senior or associate pastor, but the beauty of creating your own org chart is that you get to organize it however you’d like.
How much .should we pay our worship pastor?
Let’s talk about money.
How much should you pay your new worship pastor?
When you set out to look for someone, it’s important to be as clear as you can be about the salary.
Of course, it varies depending on what you are looking for and what kind of hire you decide to make. Your budget, your community, and so much more go into this.
Let’s look at the different hires again and some things to consider with each one.
This is often a 1099 employee. This is the most flexible salary range, typically being paid a stipend. They could be putting in anywhere from 3-12 hours of planning, rehearsal, and leading your congregation to worship on a Sunday morning.
Depending on how many hours this person is putting in, you’re looking at somewhere from $100 -$300 per week. Mike Kim suggests $300 per week for a worship leader that is putting in about 10-12 hours a week.
THE PART-TIME WORSHIP DIRECTOR. Depending on the laws of your state, this could be either a 1099 employee or an hourly, or salaried, position. Again, really the hours put in are key here. The part-time worship leader could be working anywhere from 10-30 hours a week. This means you could be looking at paying them anywhere from $300 – $600 per week. Mike Kim suggests $500 per week for a worship director that is putting in 20+ hours a week.
THE FULL-TIME WORSHIP PASTOR. This is a salaried, W-2 position, with benefits comparable to other full time staff roles in your church. These people often end up working more than 40 hours a week. Experience and church size are two large factors that influence the full time worship pastor’s salary. A full time worship pastor’s salary can range anywhere from $23,236 to $67,318 (with the average being $41,759).
Here are some examples of real church’s worship pastor salaries. Again, we see the range from $34,000 to $56,000 annually. Less experienced, or newer, worship leaders tend to make around $30k to $40k annually, while salary increases with experience.
THE CREATIVE ARTS PASTOR This is a salaried, W-2 position, with benefits comparable to other full time staff roles in your church. Salary is similar, if not higher to a full time worship pastor because of the nature of the position. A typical creative arts pastor usually has a salary of $55,000+ annually.
This article from ChurchLeaders.com is a great way to figure out what a good annual salary for your worship pastor could be.
Consider the average income of your area. Look at factors like age, marital status, experience, and education. Look at monthly expenses and figure out, realistically, what it costs to live comfortably in your city.
The salary you set is individualized to your city and your church, and your worship pastor will appreciate the intentionality and clarity.
WHO IS THE RIGHTPERSON AND WHERE DO WE FIND THEM?
Now that you’ve created a job profile, org chart, and figured out which type of hire will be the best fit for your church, it’s time to think about the person.
There are about three ways you can usually find a good fit for your worship leader:
Your network (i.e. LinkedIn)
Your connections have connections. The best candidates probably already have a job.They aren’t looking so you have to recruit them.
THE INTERVIEW PROCESS
Most churches figure this out every time with every new candidate, but that’s a bad idea. The best time to create your interview process is before you’re talking to any specific candidate.
We think candidates for every position in your church should go through the same process, complete each interview, and answer the same questions. You don’t, and shouldn’t, need to come up with new questions or a new process for each new candidate or job. This way, the process itself and your decision-making will get better each time you go through it.
We suggest five specific interviews. That seems like a lot, but most people hire too fast and fire too slow.
Not only do you want to avoid hiring someone too quickly, but a five-step interview process gives you the opportunity to have different people from different areas of the church evaluate and assess your new candidate.
WE SUGGEST FIVE SPECIFIC INTERVIEWS … MOST PEOPLE HIRE TOO FAST AND FIRE TOO SLOW
Before you spend time talking to candidates, we recommend you first use a form to get basic information from them and see if you’d like to continue. You don’t want to talk to everyone interested in the job, so use some questions to pre-screen candidates. Here are a few questions we recommend:
What compelled you to apply for the position?
What sticks out to you about our church and this opportunity?
What are you currently learning?
What are you good at?
Where do you currently work and what do you do?
What do you love about your job? What do you not love about it?
What are you looking for in your next job?
The pre-screening questions are intentionally simple, but you can certainly ask deeper questions as well. You could ask questions like:
Tell me about the last conflict you had. What was the outcome and where does that relationship stand today?
Has there ever been a time where you had a really difficult volunteer or someone under you that wasn’t submitting to your leadership? How did you handle that situation?
Do you have a volunteer or team member that you’re really proud of when it comes to their growth? What happened and how did you disciple them?
Have you ever had to let a team member go? What did that process look like?
These questions will provide you the opportunity to get to know more than just professional information about your potential hire, but to see what kind of person they are, what their personality is like, and you’ll get to know them on a deeper level. You’ll find that people’s answers can be revealing into both what type of person they are and what they would be like in their role.
Once you find someone you want to move forward with, continue to the first interview.
The purpose of this interview is to determine if you want to seriously consider the person for this role.
Your main goal during this interview: ELIMINATE PEOPLE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE
Ask the same questions to each candidate. Stay on track and push for specific examples. It’s okay to do this over a call, but aim to do this interview in person. Here are some questions you’ll want to ask during this interview:
What are your ministry goals?
What are you really good at professionally? (Look for 8-12 positive traits at a time where they were decisive.)
What are you not good at or not interested in doing professionally?
Who were your last five bosses and how would they each rate your performance on a 1-10 scale?
Really delve into these questions. If someone says, “I just want to help people:’ to answer the career goals question, continue to push. That’s not a good enough answer. If they give shallow or expected answers, keep digging. You’re looking for specifics.
Once you feel that you are seriously considering your candidate as a future hire, you’re ready to move on to the second interview.
INTERVIEW #2: PATTERNS
People are not their past, but past behavior is most often the best predictor of future performance. If you want to know how someone may perform in a role (i.e. as a worship pastor), look at how they’ve performed in their last role.
Your main goal during this interview:
TO MAKE PREDICTIONS ABOUT HOW YOUR CANDIDATE IS LIKELY TO PERFORM IN THE FUTURE
For each of your candidate’s prior jobs, ask these questions:
What were you hired to do?
What accomplishments are you most proud of? Exceptional people tend to talk about outcomes connected to expectations. Mediocre people talk about events, people, or job aspects not related to results.
What were some low points during that job?
Who were the people you worked with? Further questions here may be: What was it like to work with your boss? What will they say is your biggest strength or weakness? How would you rate the team you inherited? What changes did you make? Did you hire or fire anyone? How would you rate the team when you left?
Why did you leave that job?
Make sure to go through this series of questions for every chapter or story of their life. Walk through career history chronologically. This could take up to 2 to 3 hours.
INTERVIEW #3: RESULTS
This interview is focused on the desired outcome of the position.
Your main goal during this interview:
TALK ABOUT EXPECTATIONS OF THE JOB AND DRILL DOWN ON HOW THE CANDIDATE HAS PERFORMED IN RELATED AREAS IN THE PAST
You’re not just trying to determine what you think your potential hire will do, but what they have done in similar environments with similar objectives. Here’s a short guide of how you’ll want this interview to go.
Let your candidate know “the purpose of this interview is to talk about” (a specific outcome or competency). For your worship pastor position, it might be “building a team of volunteer musicians:’
What are your biggest accomplishments in this area during your career?
What are your insights into your biggest mistakes and lessons learned in this area?
You’ll really want to reiterate those expectations here of what you expect from your worship pastor and gauge the strengths and weaknesses of your potential hire.
INTERVIEW #4: REFERENCES
Once you have a strong candidate in mind, it’s time to talk to their previous boss and/or co-workers.
Your main goal during this interview: INTERVIEW YOUR CANDIDATE’S REFERENCES
Do not skip this step.
You’re not looking for references to give generic feedback or have someone simply check a box. We include this as one of the interviews, because we think you should actually interview the person giving the reference.
Here are specific questions you may want to ask during this interview:
In what context did you work with this person?
What were the candidate’s biggest strengths?
What were the candidate’s biggest areas for improvement back then?
How would you rate his or her overall performance in that job on a 1-10 scale? What about his/her performance causes you to give them that rating?
The candidate mentioned that he/she struggled with . Can you tell me more about that?
This interview is important because anyone can talk themselves up. You want an un-biased outlook on how your potential hire has done in former roles. You don’t have to imagine what they would be like — you can talk to people who actually worked with them. This is another great opportunity to gauge exactly what your potential worship pastor is like and how they would perform.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO IMAGINE WHAT THEY WOULD BE LIKE-YOU CAN TALK TO PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY WORKED WITH THEM HIRE THE RIGHT WORSHIP PASTOR
INTERVIEW #5: RELATIONSHIPS
This will be your most relaxed “interview’!
Other team members and spouses should be involved in this step and it should happen in a casual setting.
Remember that every person you hire adds to your team culture. Your culture will heavily influence them, but this certainly goes both ways. There are few ways that will disrupt a healthy leadership culture like having the wrong person at the table.
You don’t have to be best friends with everyone that works at your church, but it shouldn’t be awkward to hang out with them. Take them to dinner, or dessert. Go to a baseball game. Hang out at a cookout. Find something you have in common and do it outside of the office together and/or get other people involved.
Another great tool you can use here is the “spouse test.”
This is a great way to go about really getting to know your candidate. To go through with this, you’ll want to request the presence of your potential hire’s spouse during an interview. This could be in person or via video chat. Do this in the early stages of the interview process and pay attention to how the candidate’s spouse is reacting to your candidate’s answers.
His/her body language will clue you in to the candidate’s response. Is she smiling and nodding her head as she listens to her husband speak? Or does he have a blank stare on his face like the candidate is giving you an answer they think you want to hear? This test can go a long way.
While these interviews and questions should stay the same every time you go through this process, you can involve different people in different phases. If you’re bringing a candidate in from out of town, you should feel free to do interview 2 and 3 on the same day. Just try to involve people and change up the environment.
HOW DO WE INTEGRATE THIS NEW PERSON INTO OUR TEAM?
This is the fun part.
You’ve done all the hard work of creating a job profile, clarifying the roles and responsibilities and making sure your new worship pastor is a great fit for the team.
Now it’s time to make the official offer, get them set up for success, and truly integrate your new leader into the culture of your church.
JOB OFFER LETTER
A job offer letter is a great way to clarify everything that’s been discussed up to this point. It’s not an employment contract like the NFL (and there probably aren’t million dollar signing bonuses), but this one-page letter is a simple way to get things started.
A simple letter will do the trick. We’ve provided one example above.You’ll find more examples from workable and the balance.
One thing to do here is to reach out to any other people you’ve talked to and let them know that you’ve made a decision. Don’t send a generic form letter; reach out to anyone who didn’t get the job in person.
G.I. Joe used to say that knowing is half the battle.
When it comes to bringing on a new employee, hiring is just half the battle. Their first 90 days on the job are critical to everyone’s success and happiness. That’s why having an onboarding process is so important.
You might have guessed by now that you want to create an onboarding process to use every time you bring someone on to the team.
Here’s a simple checklist that you can use:
Review and sign employee handbook (here is one of the best employee handbooks we’ve ever seen).
Review and sign confidentiality agreement.
Complete financial paperwork (including direct deposit, benefits, and pastoral housing allowance form).
Attend the new member’s class.
* Fill out 30 and 90 day feedback forms.
Create email address
Create Fellowship One login
Set up voicemail extension
Provide access to Dropbox and Google Docs
Set up direct deposit
W4 and 19
Set 90 day review meeting
Update the website with picture, bio, and contact information
* Email introductions to key community leaders
This is also the time to reiterate expectations to your new hire, not to micro-manage your new worship pastor, but so they are not thrown into the deep end. Make sure to create clarity so your worship pastor knows what they’re supposed to be doing.
Pastors are busy.
One minute you’re writing a sermon, the next minute you’re meeting with someone in need, and the next you’re leading a meeting.
With all the urgent things on your plate, it’s no wonder there’s a struggle to find the time to do some of the important things.
Like developing your staff.
Most pastors know leadership development is important, but few of us actually find the time to actually do it.
Most pastors realize more leaders need to step up and lead at a higher level.
Once you’ve hired and integrated your new worship pastor, the job continues. In a way, this part of the process is never complete and it applies to everyone on your team, not just your newest staff member.
The healthiest church cultures value continued growth and training. Since people drift to complexity, it’s up to the leader to continually cast clarity. Since all of us fall back into comfortable patterns, we need opportunities to grow and be challenged in our thinking.
What can training look like in your church?
If you have regularly scheduled meetings in your church, perhaps a weekly or monthly staff meeting, you already have built in time for training.
You don’t have to devote your entire staff meeting to leadership development, but a wise pastor gives at least some time to this effort. Before you begin discussing the details of ministry, take some time to get better as pastors and leaders. The more time you find to do this, the more you’ll equip people to solve problems outside of meetings.
Team Training videos are one of the benefits of Church Fuel. Twice a month, we send a resources you can watch at the beginning of your regularly scheduled team meetings.
It’s a series of 10-12 minute videos from our world-class coaches featuring some of the best skill-based leadership coaching. Every session comes with a one-page summary of the video as well as thoughtful discussion questions and points to help you and your staff become better leaders.
We did the prep work, all you need to do is gather your team and press play. Watch the video, use the discussion guide and then dive into the regular details of your meeting. You can do this once or twice a month during your meetings.
“You cannot develop staff from behind a closed office door,” writes Paul Chappel. The best leadership development happens one-on-one, through real life situations or intentional conversations.
Think about all the things you do as a pastor or leader. Many of those tasks can become leadership development opportunities if you simply bring someone with you.
Michael Bungay Stanier says coaching should be a daily, informal act, not an occasional event. That’s why ordinary conversations are one of the best places to do coaching and development.
In The Coaching Habit, Stanier suggests seven questions: ORDINARY CONVERSATIONS
ARE ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO DO COACHING AND DEVELOPMENT
- The Kickstart Question: What’s on your mind?
- The AWE Question: And what else?
- The Focus Question: What’s the real problem here for you?
- The Foundation Question: What do you want?
- The Lazy Question: How can I help?
- The Strategic Question: If you’re saying “yes” to this, what are you saying “no” to?
- The Learning Question: What was most useful for you?
These questions aren’t meant for a leadership retreat or a formal training environment, they are quick, casual conversations that can happen anytime.
- Learning Opportunities
There are no shortages of leadership opportunities available to you. In fact, the sheer number of opportunities might be one of the very reasons you don’t make time for this important area.
But let me highlight three of my favorite opportunities for you to help your worship leader learn.
Think about this for a moment. For about $15, which includes priority shipping, you can buy someone’s life work. They take years of experiences, organize, write, edit, re-write, typeset and brand everything into a small volume you can get at any bookstore. When you think about all that goes into creating a great book, the value is incredible.
Not every leader on your team will enjoy reading, so consider summaries, videos, and audiobooks. There’s no good reason NOT to do this.
There are several incredible leadership conferences available to you. They are more expensive, and you’ll have to schedule and travel, but with some planning, they can be a big opportunity for you and your team.
My suggestion is to pick one event, make the commitment, put it on the calendar, and participate whole-heartedly. It will never be convenient for so many people to be gone. It will never be inexpensive. But it’s almost always worth it.
I know a church where a business owner in the church personally pays for the staff to attend a leadership conference together. This leader knows the value and wants the staff of his church to experience the benefit.
There are many online or digital courses you can go through as a team.
The Systems Course will help you and your team create healthy systems across all ministries in your church. There are videos you can watch together and worksheets and exercises to create great conversations.
Breaking 200 is a 7-module online course designed to help you break the 200 attendance barrier. You don’t need a big team to go through this course, but we’ve seen churches that involve a few people in the learning opportunities see better results.
There are courses on theology, marketing, communication, stewardship and dozens of other topics. If there’s a topic that needs attention, I bet you could find a quality online course to help you.
- Theological Training
Being on staff at a church should actually deepen your understanding of the Bible and increase your love of the Lord. But this is one of the most often overlooked opportunities. The pastor and staff are busy teaching others how to follow Jesus, but who is helping the helpers?
That’s why spiritual development has to be a part of leadership development.
Glen Kreun, one of the pastors at Saddleback Church, writes:
“The church is a theological institution, so I believe that staff development includes an understanding of biblical theology. Most churches probably wouldn’t hire a pastor who does not have seminary or Bible school training, but what about other staff? Every staff member is part of your ministry leadership team. Yes, that means custodial staff, receptionists, administrative support, as well as your licensed and ordained pastors. The more theology your staff understands, the better equipped they are to represent Christ and your church in the community!”
As you develop a training system, don’t forget that the church is first and foremost a spiritual endeavor. Make time for prayer, fellowship, and Bible study.
PUT I. TOGETHER FOR ALA YOUR PEOPLE
One of the best practices of leadership development is helping everyone create their own personal leadership development plan.
Because there are so many things to work on and opportunities to learn, a one-page plan provides the much-needed clarity. This is a tangible way you move from the desire to get better as leader to a plan to get better as a leader.
This isn’t complicated, and we provide a template and a coaching video for Church Fuel members.
Start by writing down your leadership development goal. This is the area of leadership you want to improve in the next season. Then write down what you’re going to actually do to accomplish your goal.
What specific books are you going to read? Choose books that will help you accomplish your goal, not books that are on someone else’s recommended reading list. Go ahead and order them and sit them on your desk.
What conference are you going to attend? The most popular one may be a good choice, but maybe there’s something more specific that will help you in your area of need. Research options, make a choice, and then book your ticket.
What coaching group can you join or what informal group can you put together? The key is being intentional and putting yourself in the right learning environment.
Your one page leadership development plan might include podcasts, conference calls, relationships, mentors, mastermind groups or even solitary thinking time. It’s personalized for each person.
Move through all your options and get things off the list, leaving behind real and tangible things that will make you better as a leader. You’re left with one page of helpful action steps, not a long list of random opportunities.
Imagine if each person, including your new worship pastor, had a one page plan like this. Imagine the chemistry that would develop if you each pulled out your plan and discussed it openly and honestly.
Everyone on staff at a church should have a one-page plan like this.
Remember, decide if you need to hire someone (or if you could develop your volunteer leaders), decide which hire you need, and start forming a plan and process to hire staff. We’re always here at Church Fuel to help you with any of this training and onboarding steps. You can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and if we can’t serve you, we will connect you with someone who can.
We hope you found this hiring resource to be helpful and that you begin to make excellent hires that are a great fit for your team.
The above article, “Hire the Right Worship Pastor” was written by Church Fuel. The article was excerpted from a book called, Hire the Right Worship Pastor.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”