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Hiring Volunteers Successfully

13 Dec Leadership, Student Ministry | Comments Off on Hiring Volunteers Successfully
Hiring Volunteers Successfully

Don’t hire a ministry.

Within weeks of being hired at my first full-time ministry I realized I had a problem. It was a problem volunteer. He ran the sound and lighting for all our events. He was good at his job and half of the equipment was his, but he had to go. It’s hard to fire a volunteer, especially one who is competent but has a bad attitude. And, of course, he didn’t go quietly.

 Firing him was the right decision but it was an extremely painful process. I vowed then and there that I would use a better process for hiring staff- whether they were paid or volunteers.

 Someone once said, “You already have a ministry (to your students) so don’t hire a ministry.” Ministry can be challenging enough on its own. Having to constantly minister to an unhealthy team member on top of everything else can become overwhelming.

 Here are steps you can use to hire successfully.

  1. Remember, it’s a process.
    Rushing the process usually leads to bad hires.
  2. Ask God to be involved in the process.
    The person you select must be God’s choice not yours. So, pray, pray, pray. Read I Samuel 16:1-13.
  3. Character trumps competency.
    You can teach skills but you can’t teach character. If you hire the most competent person over the person with the best character, it will come back to bite you- always. Sooner or later poor character issues will surface- always. Individuals with poor character will, at the least, cause you headaches and at the most will cause great damage to your ministry and the Kingdom of God. Only hire people with high character.
  4. …but competency still matters.
    Out of the group of candidates who have high character look for those who are the most competent for the position. Skilled people with high character will elevate your ministry.
  5. Don’t forget chemistry. You’re ultimately building a team that must function well together, so hire individuals who will enhance the team chemistry. Will they fit in with the rest of the team?
  6. Always have applicants complete an application and keep it on file.
  7. Get input from others.
    If you conduct the initial interview have other team members involved during the second interview. Their insights will be valuable as you make your decision. The counsel of others is always helpful.
  8. Ask meaningful questions during the interview and expect meaningful answers.
  9. Do your homework.
    Even if you really like the candidate, take the time to check their references. It’s often been said, “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”
  10. Look for zeal and honesty.
    Do they freely talk about God and how he’s been involved in their journey? You’re asking this person to join you in a spiritual battle, so they need to be spiritually mature.

Since those first few rocky weeks, I’ve done my best to follow these steps. Committing to find quality people and not just fill spots has allowed me to form an amazing ministry team. Following these steps will help you hire successfully and avoid the pain of having to fire a team member.

Jerry Higley
Executive Director at Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ
Jerry Higley is the Executive Director of Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ and an adjunct faculty member at LBC teaching Student Ministry courses at both the undergrad and graduate level. When he's not at work, he loves spending time outdoors hunting and fishing with his grandkids.