Over the last few weeks I have mentioned several lessons I learned about the Church and it’s people while applying for new ministry positions. Today’s lesson comes from a very practical standpoint and here it is:
“Most Churches have no idea how to handle Human Resources.”
I have found this to be completely true in congregations under 250 people in average attendance. Numerous Churches have no plan for regular evaluation of their preacher. Only a limited number have plans for how to remove a preacher that is not working out. Many have no idea how to hire a new preacher other than gut feelings. This is especially true the longer the former minister has been in the pulpit.
I say this for several reasons. One, I have had several Churches contact me in the last two weeks that I sent a resume to back in January. My personal experience has underlines this truth over and over. Two, most Church leaders are good Christians but not great business men in smaller congregations. They simply have not been trained how to do these needed tasks. Three, because of the nature of a “divine call” in ministry we hesitate to handle hiring and firing with any business sense. We walk a fine line of Christian faith and good human resource practices. Fourth, most Churches have no idea what they need to look for in a preacher. Usually they are trying to get a guy just like the last preacher or they are looking for the exact opposite. I am sure there are other reasons, but most Churches really struggle in the area of human resources.
So – here are my suggestions for Churches. First, have your leaders attend a human resource class if they can find one. (Bible Colleges should offer these at leadership conferences.) Two, read a book or two on human resources as a group. Do this when you have a minister so you are prepared for anything. Finally, ask around. See what other Churches are doing or what they have done. See what they learned. Go to a larger Church and ask them their practices.
When you have done all of your learning about hiring, evaluating and firing then take and type everything up. Edit it and refine it as you learn and grow. Have your plan in print and when that day comes that your preachers decides to move on or he goes home to the Lord, your Church will be ready.