When You Have to Let a Staff Member Go

Episode #175
November 17, 2015
Rainer on Leadership Podcast Logo

Podcast Episode #175

In a recent post, I discussed one of the more difficult aspects of church leadership—having to fire a staff member. Some readers took issue with the post, especially point #2. So today we discuss that post and further explain the why and the how of having to let a staff member go.

Some highlights from today’s episode include:

  • If there is a staff member out of alignment with the rest of the leadership, it can hurt the ministry of the church.
  • When hiring and firing, you need to consider competency, culture, character, and chemistry.
  • Some of the dumbest mistakes made when firing someone are made when you don;t get enough input.
  • When discussing performance issues with staff, always document insufficiencies.
  • No staff member should ever be surprised if they are let go. You should make multiple documented efforts to correct issues before reaching that point.
  • It’s always easier to get a job if you have a job.
  • It’s always better to encourage someone to find another position while they are still employed than to just cut them loose.

The six principles to remember when you have to let a staff member go are:

  1. Pray about it fervently.
  2. Make certain the “bad fit” was real.
  3. Seek input from others.
  4. Go through due process.
  5. Show compassion.
  6. Try to anticipate unintended consequences.

Episode Sponsors

TEDS-Logo_Vert_1-ColorTrinity Evangelical Divinity School is a dynamic community of learners who are serious about ministry preparation biblical studies theological reflection and cultural engagement. Their faculty are gifted men and women who minister as much through research and writing as through local church involvement but their primary ministry is teaching and caring for students. Find out more about TEDS at Divinity.TIU.edu.

Vanderbloemen Search GroupVanderbloemen Search Group is the premier pastor search firm dedicated to helping churches and ministries build great teams. They’ve helped hundreds of churches just like yours find their church staff and are uniquely geared to help you discern who God is calling to lead your church. Find out more about Vanderbloemen Search Group by visiting WeStaffTheChurch.com.


If you have a question you would like answered on the show, fill out the form on the podcast page here at ThomRainer.com.