Interview Re:church plant staffing...

Building a staff team is easy in a church plant, Building the RIGHT team, putting them in the right seats, in the right seasons of the plant, is the hardest thing I have ever done. They don't teach a class on "Hiring Effectively" in seminary. I have found that most pastors are ill equipped for making wise hiring decisions in their churches, and the process is often not effective, or even healthy! I recently had the opportunity to interview two guys who help churches make better hires: Justin Lathrop and William Vanderbloemen. Shawn: In regards to staffing a church plant what should future planters be thinking about now?

Justin: It seems to me that the launch team is about as important as anything in regards to planting. For instance, Andy Stanley started North Point with six full time staff people. He told his initial donors that he couldn’t start the church without having all of those key posts.  I love how author Keith Ferrazzi says, "Build it before you need it." If you are thinking about planting a church anytime in your life you should already be thinking about building your launch team.

William: You guys at Mountain Lake have done a great job of pouring more dollars into fewer people. I think church plants could learn a lot from that model. My advice would be to go ahead and spend the money on a few key players who can reproduce leaders, rather than skimp out on folks and have more people on staff.  One key question I would ask when hiring your initial team would be, “can this person build teams and reproduce leaders?” Chances are, a lot of your first hires will have completely different jobs within a couple of years as the organization changes. But no matter what their job title, those two qualities will be a common need.

Shawn: For the new church plant with very limited resources, what can they do to start attracting staff?

Justin: Sure it is easier for the "big" church to attract staff with their salary packages and benefits but the fact is that there are many people out there that are dreaming of being part of a team that is starting something. They are just looking for the right vision to give their life to.

William:  In our executive searches, I often ask candidates, “What would you spend the rest of your life doing….for free?” That seems to press people into thinking about what really motivates them. If a church planter can have a vision that brings out that type of “fire in the belly vision,” talent will come.

Shawn: If you can only afford one staff person (other than the Pastor) right now, what position would you recommend?

William: Professional Plate Spinner.  Seriously, while there are the key posts of preaching, music, and children that have to be filled, in a plant I would say it isn't as much about the position you are going to hire as it is about the kind of person. I would be looking for someone that has a strong gift set in multi-tasking, delegating and training. They also need to be incredibly optimistic. And above all, they have to be totally sold on the vision.