Six Details to Include in Your Church Staff Bios

May 25, 2017

By Jonathan Howe

When we talk with first-time guests about church websites, many of them share their surprise that the website fails to include bios or any information other than a name for the church staff.

I have to admit, I’m surprised when I see this happen as well.

Staff bios help guests—and church members—relate better to those who are charged with the spiritual care of a congregation. While they don’t have to be exhaustive, there are a few items to consider including in each church staff member’s bio.

  1. A current, professional photo of the staff member. The number of church staff pages that just list names and nothing else puzzles me. Photos help people identify with the church. Having a professional photo that is current for each staff member communicates that a church cares about details and doing things well.
  2. Information about what their job entails. With the growing number of unorthodox job titles in churches, there is often confusion over what area of ministry a staff member relates to. For example, a “creative arts director” could work with the worship ministry, the media ministry, the communications team, or all three. Provide clarity for each staff member so that someone can easily identify to whom they can direct questions or ideas.
  3. How long they’ve been at the church. It’s not an essential item, but it is helpful. Knowing how long a staff person has been at a church provides context to visitors and members. There is a catch with this approach though. If you say “Joe has been on staff for 12 years,” then you have to update it every year. Try a format like “Joe joined the staff as student minister in 2005” instead.
  4. Social media profiles. I understand that many people still do not have social media profiles or want them shared. But consider providing at least some social media connection if at all possible. Each staff member could pick the one social media platform they prefer and use it. Or you could list all available platforms. The specifics don’t matter as long as there’s at least some way to connect with the staff other than email.
  5. An email address. Other than a picture, this might be the most important part of a staff bio. Contacting a church staff member should be as easy as possible. And email is the best way to allow for that contact to take place without providing too much personal information.
  6. Personal information. If any of these could be considered optional, it would be this one. However, like a picture, personal information (likes, dislikes, alma maters, spouse and kids’ names) helps people better relate to the staff. So if it’s possible, then include it.

What else does your church include in its staff bios? What would you add to this list?


Jonathan Howe serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources as well as the host and producer of Rainer on Leadership and SBC This Week. Jonathan writes weekly at ThomRainer.com on topics ranging from social media to websites and church communications. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.

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27 Comments

  • Personally, I like to include a brief statement about the person’s heart for the community they are serving. What they feel God wants to do in your town or city. How they feel their ministry will serve that town or community.

    Secondly I like them to share their heart towards the church and how they want to serve the particular local church.

    Not only is this good for those wanting to know more about the staff of the church, but it is also good for the church’s search engine rankings because it builds relevant content that reinforces where the church is located and the type of ministries the church has.

  • We are just updating our website as we update other details so I like this simple straight forward list. For us, key sporting teams finds some traction in conversation in regard to leadership

  • Okay…..I’ll be the dissenter again to make everyone *THINK*

    *A professional write up in a staff-bios section of the church of about “who does what” should include their own picture. Not their kids. Not their dog. Not their spouse.

    *Summary of education, or skills, or what they do.

    That’s it. The pastor, nor the staff don’t need to post their resumes, all their training, all the buzzwords and “amazing” work they have done over the years.
    I want to know what are you doing NOW. Is this church a church, or a ‘business’? Is it idoltorizing marriage? Does it hate and belittle men?

    The Word of God says “I have ordained you” and by the quality of pastors I have seen and dealt with over the years, and the crisis of dying churches, the total improper exegesis taught everywhere makes me as a Believer “question” a seminary education now. A seminary degree at one time had value, and at least got some respect. Today? When a pastor has to tell me “he went to such and such seminary and he was taught such n such” all I do is glaze over. It’s a conversation ender in my book.

    Where did all the early Disciples get their “writs” of authority to preach? Did they go to the temple school for years and years study Hebrew? Greek? Did they study the Torah? No, they were fishermen. They dropped their nets and followed Him. Not one Disciple spent “years and years” in the Temple studying with the ‘chief priests’ and ‘scribes’. They Believed. They saw. They learned. They trusted, and they turned the world upside down with no ‘formal’ education

    I am not devaluing a proper education of the pastor / minister….but let’s not make it into something it isn’t. Not anymore.

  • Spouse and children did not sign up to be identified on the web, are likely not employed by the church- saying “married with 6 kids ” is one thing- their names are another, especially in the case of kids. The

    • Another Anonymous Mark says on

      I agree about the spouse and kids. Many churches place photos of kids all the time on facebook. Is that a good idea?

  • Gail Geisel says on

    Having just retired and looking for a church, I was surprised by a church which had a very impressive website, but failed to include times of service. Please check and double check to make sure everything you want included in the website is there. Some people do not decide to visit until Sat. evening or Sun. morning when it may be too late to call.

  • Hobbies, secular employment or a fun fact about them.

  • Another Anonymous Mark says on

    Education- If a person has a degree I want to know from where and in what.

    Social Media- I thought this was universally announced on here as a fool’s folly. If a pastoral candidate liked the wrong youtube video… then, well, I guess he’ll never be a pastor. How much more for the regular people in the pews or on staff? No? What you judge with will be used against you to judge you, right?

    • Agree with Mark here. I once had someone (who I did not know) lodge false complaints against me because of one person who was in my followers on Facebook. (That person was too “liberal” for the accuser, so it was guilt by association.) I went through lots of hoops to restore my reputation because of this person. I intentionally keep my on-line profiles private now. There are way too many self-proclaimed defenders of the truth out there ready to run roughshod over anyone in their misguided crusades.

      • Another Anonymous Mark says on

        Jon, sorry to hear that. Social Media is certainly a “sticky wicket.” Guilt by association for someone following you… sad. Jesus himself was a friend of sinners. Might a “inappropriate” person have friended his facebook page?

        Seems to me we should either drop social media altogether (not likely or practical), or use some rational discernment. Unless a person regularly “likes” Nazi/Communist propaganda, or porn sites, then let a person be on the internet.

      • Robbie Norman says on

        I use social media as a ministry outlet for sharing the gospel and a method of online disciple making. I have a personal policy of posting only things related to God/ministry/church/following Christ/my family and the occasional comment about things like the weather, community events, things that are helpful, etc. I do not vent about things nor do I “bleed” all over Facebook when something bad happens in my life. I desire to be encouraging. We must use wisdom in what we post and who we follow on social media.

        I have friends from days gone by, former neighbors who we used to live next to, people we’ve met over the years, etc. who are not Christians and at times post things on their page that are not glorifying to God (to say the least). They don’t put inappropriate content on my page. I don’t remove them from my friends list because I pray that God would use the social media outlet to reach them with the gospel. Jesus was visible and social with sinners. He was in front of them. We need to be doing the same. I’ve explained this to our church and everyone understands.

        As for the staff page on the church website, I think it’s good to include social media links for staff. It can help potential newcomers get somewhat of an idea of what the staff is like before actually meeting them. However, nothing comes close to meeting someone in person.

  • I completely agree with this list, it’s a great core for what should be included on a staff page. I may also include each staff member’s education, especially the senior pastor’s, but, education in general is important to me.

  • Jonathan,
    Very helpful info here. The only area I would take issue is email addresses. I recognize the goal is to make access to pastors / leaders as easy as possible. A tension arises when we realize that there are those who utilize those individual email addresses in attempts to defraud churches. Here in Virginia we have been targeted by cyber-attacks that used my email address as Senior Pastor (available then online) to direct financial staff (email address also available then online) to wire money. In spite of our policies, they cyber-attack was very good and had fooled those who received the email. I have heard from several other pastors in VA and NC who have been targeted for cyber-attacks in the same manner.

    We have since moved to generic emails at FBC Park Street. Again, I recognize the tension here. Perhaps a contact form that goes directly to the staff member a guest in seeking to contact would allow direct access, but guard against cyber-attacks.

    Just a thought. Thanks for all you and Dr. Rainer do to help equip churches to impact their communities!

  • Jim Korth says on

    Personally, I place a high priority on the education of the staff, especially the Senior Pastor. I want to know where he went to school and what degree he has earned. This is one of the first tings I check when I look at a church and consider visiting. I know the school they attended does not guarantee their degree of orthodoxy, one way or the other, but I want to see what their education path was like.

    • Jonathan Howe says on

      I’m the same way.

      • Me, too. I want to know the pastor’s background in terms of education, theological training, etc. that’s probably more important than social media profiles because it’s fairly easy to “google” and find someone’s social media if they have any.

  • I’ve noticed on those that have pictures on their staff page, some are only the staff member (most) while others include pictures of the staff member with their family. While I like the idea of including the spouse or family in the photo, I prefer just seeing the face of the person who holds the position (with a mention of the family in the bio). What are your thoughts?

    • Jonathan Howe says on

      I could go either way on this one. Just be consistent. And if you have a lot of single folks on staff, they may feel left out with family pics.

  • Previous positions/churches.
    Where the person grew up (military brat is acceptable).
    Secular employment.

    • Jonathan Howe says on

      On previous churches, I like that idea but some church staff might not. Sometimes you go on staff at a church only then to realize how big of a mistake you made.

      • Jeremy says on

        A good go between would be the areas or towns a person has served in. Like : Bob has pastored 4 churches in Florida, Georgia and Texas. Or Bill has pastored three churches two in the Atlanta area and one in Indianapolis.

      • Jonathan Howe says on

        Yeah…I like that.

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