More and more churches are deciding to raise up staff from within their congregation. While I wondered about that direction when it first began to gain steam, I have come to see the value of it. Here are 10 reasons I encourage you to consider this option:
- You likely know them better than outside hires. They’re already one of your church family, so you know them. It’s possible that you’ve seen both their strengths and weaknesses—and you’re not likely to be surprised by either.
- They already know your church better than outside hires will. They won’t need to spend nearly as much time learning your congregation. They can hit the ground running because they know how your church operates.
- They probably already buy into your church’s vision. It’s likely they’ve continued to be a part of your church because they believe in the vision. They’re committed because they know what your church wants to accomplish.
- Their learning curve won’t be as steep as outsiders. That includes learning simple things like members’ names, the church’s history, and the church structure. Outside staff members usually have to spend much time on these tasks at first.
- Moving expenses are usually less for inside hires. Needless to say, that’s because they already live in the area. Expenses for helping a new staff member move to your area can be exorbitant.
- They must have already shown faithfulness and fruitfulness as they’ve served through your church. I assume you would not have hired them had you not already seen something in them. Their past track record is generally a good indicator of their future work.
- They likely know the community and have networks of friends in the area. They might not know the specific demographics of a community (many church leaders don’t), but they at least understand some of the community’s culture. By the way, if you don’t know your community’s demographics, I encourage you to get a “Know Your Community” report from Church Answers. It’s a great tool.
- Staff members can now get theological training via online degrees. My seminary (Southeastern Seminary), for example, offers multiple masters degrees that are fully online. Staff members who get further training this way can do so without leaving your ministry context.
- You may have members who can join your staff bi-vocationally. I’m convinced that God calls some church leaders to be bi-vocational. That approach helps the church by lessening the cost of a full-time staff member, and that new leader often stays more connected to non-believers out in the world.
- Because they already know the church family, they can quickly recruit members to walk beside them as prayer warriors. Church leaders are on the front lines of the spiritual battle, and they need prayer support from brothers and sisters. The longer it takes to secure these partners in ministry, the more we open ourselves to the enemy’s attacks.
I realize there are reasons to caution against this approach (e.g., it’s sometimes more difficult to confront a staff member who has a long history—and often extended family—in the church), but the positives outweigh the negatives, in my judgment. What are your thoughts?
Posted on September 27, 2022
Dr. Chuck Lawless is a leading expert in spiritual consultation, discipleship and mentoring. As a former pastor, he understands the challenges ministry presents and works with Church Answers to provide advice and counsel for church leaders.
More from Chuck
For whatever my opinion is worth, here it is:
I think you have some wonderful ideas, but there are some cautions
Your church members may not always have the full set of qualifications you need for every church staffer.
Your church could benefit from fresh ideas from carefully selected outside church staffers.
You may not want to have exclusive inbred thinking.
You may not want to set an expectation that all staffers will come from the church so that you will have flexibility in making other choices when necessary.
I am not saying that your ideas would not work unchanged. They may well do that more often than not. I am just saying look at the cautions, Including the one you raised about the problems of having to confront insiders.
I think a combination of approaches may make it more workable— by not totally ruling out all outsiders.
But I also see that you are doing some good thinking and I, for one, will be praying that your church will prosper in all ways and that God will bless you no matter what you decide to do.
Keep up the creative thinking and do everything you do through serious prayer
Thanks, Robert. I appreciate your thoughts. In fact, I would not totally rule out the possibility of hiring outsiders.