Hiring the right staff is so important to the health and growth of your organization. Whether you you are a church, a small business owner or the CEO of a large company, the right people make all the difference. I have had and currently have the pleasure of hiring and working with some fabulous people (both at South Hills and in my business life). I have also had the disappointment and headaches associated with hiring people who were not a good fit for my team. Below is an article featuring an interview from Tony Morgan and William Vanderbloemen with some great tips to finding and hiring the right staff for your organization. The article is church specific, but the most of the information is great for the business world as well.
“An Interview with Tony Morgan and William Vanderbloemen”
by Dan Reiland
As an executive pastor I’ve been hiring staff for over twenty years. I’m still learning. My experience is extensive, but I still make mistakes. Let’s be candid, hiring the right people is complicated. There is no formula or textbook that can give you the seven steps to create a “happily ever after” story every time.
Since I like to learn, I asked two friends of mine, Tony Morgan and William Vanderbloemen if they would agree to an interview. They both have considerable pastoral experience and also have special expertise in hiring as part of a professional search firm. VanderbloemenSearch
Both William and Tony have come to 12Stone to teach a leadership lesson to our ministry staff, and they have become trusted advisors and good friends. Let me introduce you to each one, and then share the interview with you.
William is the president of the Vanderbloemen Search Group. He has over 15 years of ministry experience as a senior pastor of three churches ranging in size from 350 to over 5,000. He has also served as a manager of human resources at a Fortune 200 corporation, and learned executive search from a mentor with twenty-five years of top-level search experience. William, his wife Adrienne, their seven children, and two poodles (one small who thinks she’s big, and one big who thinks he is a lap dog) live in Houston, Texas. In his free time, William enjoys running, working out, and caddying for his kids, who are now better golfers than he is. As an avid social networker you can contact him at http://twitter.com/wvanderbloemen.
Tony serves on the leadership team of West Ridge Church near Atlanta. He’s also a strategist, writer and consultant who helps churches get unstuck and have a bigger impact. For more than 10 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at NewSpring Church and Granger Community Church. Tony used to be in local government for about ten years before he transitioned into ministry. In his last role, he was a city manager where he was responsible for a staff of 150 employees and a $20 million budget. Tony and his wife, Emily, reside near Atlanta, Georgia with their four children–Kayla, Jacob, Abby and Brooke. You can follow Tony’s writing on a variety of topics including his disdain for country music at tonymorganlive.com.
1. Why is hiring the right people so difficult?
Tony – As pastors, we don’t hire that often and therefore we aren’t highly practiced at it. So, for many, that means not being very good at it. Further, our wiring as pastors tends to cause us to see the best in people and the good in general. That’s good, but we also need a discerning eye in order to assess the right skills for the right job, and be able to quickly spot those who are not the right fit.
William – People are afraid to make a mistake, and fear is a bad ingredient in the hiring process. For those I’ve met who are not afraid, they often rush into it and hire someone they know and feel comfortable with rather than doing a thorough search. In contrast, when you do a comprehensive job interviewing several top candidates your chances of making a good decision increase exponentially.
2. What are the costs and impacts of hiring the wrong person?
Tony – When you choose new staff members poorly you are often choosing to cause good people to leave your team. Maybe not right away, but the good ones will not stay if you begin to hire low-performance players onto your team. Hiring the wrong person causes loss of momentum. It’s destabilizing to the team, and you can easily lose 12-18 months of what could have been a highly productive season.
William – I recently read a study from the corporate world that said you lose a minimum of ten times the salary that you pay the person when you make a bad hire and need to fire them. I think it’s more in the church. The relational, political, and vision loss is so great that the total cost is nearly incalculable, especially the higher the level of responsibility. It’s almost better not to hire than to hire wrong.
3. What are the qualities you look for in sharp ministry leaders?
Tony – Off the top, I want to see a leadership gift, ability to build teams, and shared vision and values of the organization. Let me give you a fuller answer by directing you to a blog post that you might find helpful on this question. tonymorganlive.com
William – First, I believe this is much more art than science, so it really depends on what the church needs more than a set list of characteristics. I consider hiring as important as an organ transplant. Using this metaphor, nearly half of what I do is finding the right donor list, but more than half is making sure I find the right tissue match. If I don’t, the body will reject it. That said, in general, I like to see spiritual agility, loyalty to the mission and leadership, and their past performance really matters to me. That is the best indicator of what they will do in the future.
4. Describe a big hiring mistake you have made as a pastor in the local church.
Tony – I had a situation where I was hiring someone for a director level position in a specialized role. His resume said he was exactly what we needed. But some red flags came up during the interviews. He said he was a detailed and systems guy – which the job required. All other indicators, however, including his profile testing, said he was much more of a people person. The mistake I made was that I did not pay attention to my gut. I didn’t listen to the Holy Spirit promptings, the assessments, and what I was intuitively picking up in the interviews.
William – Well, I’ve made the classic mistakes. I’ve hired too fast and fired too slow. But one that comes to mind is that I hired three guys right out of seminary at the same time. They were my dream team, or that was my dream. They were sharp, but highly inexperienced. They were talented, but I didn’t realize how much training they would require and I didn’t have the margin to give it to them. I wasn’t able to carry out that responsibility and that was a big mistake.
5. Do you recommend talking about salary up front, or deeper into the process?
Tony – For me, the issue is about being called, and the salary factor comes in later. It’s about the right fit and whether or not God wants them on the team. If it’s a fit, I might consider adjusting the compensation, if we can, in order to get the right person. But it raises a red flag if the person is too interested in the financial package too soon.
William – It depends on the situation, but in general, I agree with Tony. I want to know if they are called, rather than in it for the money. On occasion, however, there are circumstances that call for discussing salary up front. For example, if a large gap is anticipated between what we offer and what they expect – we might at least address that in general up front, but then do real details later.
6. You both are pastors, but also serve as part of a search firm. In what ways does your company help us hire the right people?
William and Tony – The first one is time. Most pastors we talk to just don’t have the time to do what it takes to hire well. The second is that we are in touch with a broader base of people to choose from. One more benefit is that we’re good at it. We have much more time at bat. We are practiced, so we have developed some skills that most church leaders haven’t had time to cultivate. We help you avoid costly mistakes.
Thanks to both Tony and William. This is such an important topic! Hiring smart is the first step toward building great church staff teams!!
As a side note; we have used VanderbloemenSearch here at South Hills and have love the results. I highly recommend them!
Until next time,
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.” – Larry Bossidy
Recently our Executive Pastor, Jared Dunn, sent this great email out to the entire staff. Jared has been with us just seven months and we are already seeing great things happen. His insights below on the importance of a healthy church are fantastic and oh so true.
Becoming a HEALTHY Church
Pursuing church health allows us to focus on the legitimate desire to see our church flourish without some of the impure motivations that might trip us up. As we pursue church health, we’ll most likely experience church growth as a by product. This paradigm shift places the priority on keeping our church healthy and trusting God to do the rest. Church health falls easily within our stewardship roles as church leaders. Church growth is God’s department and the attendance of the church will ultimately grow or decline in accordance with His will. Most would agree this makes intuitive sense and yet how many of us live each day as if both health and growth were up to us?
It can be very freeing to focus on what God has called us to do and let Him bring the people.
Keys to Lasting Health and Vitality:
If you’re looking for church growth principles, here’s one: church growth begins with church health, not the other way around. We see in nature that healthy things grow. It’s that simple! This is by no means a new concept, but it’s still true.
But how do you know if you’re a healthy church? What can you use as a measuring stick? Based on extensive field testing and research with thousands of churches and individuals, we’ve compiled these church health categories and use them regularly in helping churches measure and monitor their own church health:
› God’s Empowering Presence
› God-Exalting Worship
› Spiritual Disciplines
› Learning and Growing in Community
› A Commitment to Loving and Caring Relationships › Servant-Leadership Development › An Outward Focus › Wise Administration and Accountability › Networking with the Body of Christ › Stewardship and Generosity
I encourage you to lean toward the following attributes in pursuit of lasting health and vitality:
› Stay Humble.
Humble people listen, humble churches listen. They are open to what God has to say to them and what other people have to say to them. The day we stop listening is the day pride begins to eat away at the framework of our ministry. The key to lasting health and vitality is to stay humble and grounded.
› Be Teachable.
A life-long learner who is submitted to the will of God has nearly limitless potential. Are you open to learning new things? Do you acknowledge your mistakes or cast blame on others? Are you willing to defer to others who have specialized expertise?
› Exude Gratitude.
Stop regularly to count your blessings. Express gratitude to God for all He has done and continues to do in the life of your church. Regularly show appreciation to those around you who are faithfully serving. People rarely complain of being excessively appreciated.
› Remain Open.
Open hands. Open hearts. Open minds. Open people are pliable in God’s hands. Are you open to feedback and change? Do you let people see your humanity and imperfections or do you lead from behind a rigid, got-it-all-together exterior? Are you open to other people’s ideas or do all the good ideas have to originate with you?
In closing, I am absolutely committed to partnering with you to make South Hills a place that is absolutely healthy, a place where we all can flourish in our gifts and calling, and grow into all that God has for us. I believe in you and thank God for the privilege to serve you!
Much love, respect, and blessings,
Until next Time,
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“A healthy church is a congregation that increasingly reflects God’s character as his character has been revealed in his Word.” – Mark Denver
There are many great reasons for using a multi-site approach when it comes to church growth. Satellite campuses can be a great way to plant a church in a new community without starting completely from scratch. Satellite campus are also a great way to expand when you have outgrown your main church campus. For example, at South Hills we were maxed out in our Sunday services, so we launched a satellite campus at a local high school.
There are also many ways to conduct a satellite campus. Currently, the high school is close enough that we staggered our service times, and I speak at both locations. When our satellite location was further away, we recorded the message given at our Saturday evening service, and that was shown at the satellite on Sunday morning. Mark Batterson has been a forerunner in the multi-site church approach, and I have included some incites from his blog regarding the why and how his church approaches the multi-site model.
We continue the Gospel series this weekend. All of our campus pastors are teaching live! Two of them are teaching for the first time at NCC!
In our multi-site model, we have have one teacher each weekend. We have 3-4 live messages and 6-7 video messages. I preach about 36 times per year. Joel Schmidgall and Heather Zempel, our Executive Pastor and Discipleship Pastor, form our teaching team and they teach about 10-12 times times collectively. And our Campus Pastors teach live once a quarter. We honestly don’t have many guests speakers, though we do try to get my friend and mentor, Dick Foth, in the pulpit whenever he is in town. In fact, he is an ad hoc member of our teaching team.
For what it’s worth, I used to teach 48-50 times per year in the early days, but I didn’t feel like it was a sustainable pace for me because of my various callings and commitments. I also think it’s valuable for our congregation to hear different voices. A teaching team is more stereophonic.
Your Responsiblity = Their Opportunity
I think one role of leadership is creating opportunities for others. If you do everything yourself, your potential is limited to your abilities. I know that sounds obvious, but the obvious eludes us! If you’re doing things that others can do 80% as well as you can, then you are not just wasting your time. You are wasting other’s gifts! Think of it this way: your responsibility = someone else’s opportunity!
If you learn to unleash others and create opportunities for them to step into their gifts, then your potential for impact multiplies exponentially. That’s one reason I love multi-site. It forces us to raise us six times as many people to use their gifts.
I think today was such a great example of that principle. Mike Whitford, our new campus pastor at Ebenezers, preached for the first time. Kurtis Parks, our new campus pastor at our Potomac Yard location, preached for the first time. And Travis Mason, a new NCC protege, led worship for the first time. So proud of them. Few things are as emotionally rewarding to me as seeing people step into their gifts with holy confidence and letting God use them!
Until next time,
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.
This past Saturday we hosted our second annual food drive/day of outreach. Don’t let the name fool you. Community outreach is something we feel very passionately about here at South Hills. This is just one special day where we stretch ourselves to further reach out to our community.
On that one day the South Hills family fed 409 families that represented 2,300 people. On that day we also provided clothing, haircuts and connected people to free job skills classes from Smooth Transition. Many families said “thank you so much, we have no food in our home.” And “Thank you so much, this is a months’ worth of food for our family.”
Also the staff and volunteers had blast! Here is what one volunteer said:
“My time spent serving the community was one of the most fulfilling experiences in my life. Several times throughout the day I felt the Lords presence and Him overwhelming me with total joy. I caught myself having to stop several times so that I could gather my emotions. God is awesome!”
It was a fantastic day!
So why did we do this? Because we have made a commitment to “Raise Your Risk for the Disadvantaged” We want to be the flesh of Christ to literally touch people with His love.
Why am I telling you this? To toot our own horn? Well maybe a little. I am very proud of all of our staff, volunteers, and contributors who made this day happen. They worked well and gave big. But equal to that, I want to encourage you to reach out to those in your community who need a loving hand up.
I want to encourage you to be a church that demonstrates a gigantic, God-sized faith. Jesus said, if you love me, you’ll do what I ask. So what did he ask us to do? Seek & save the lost. Serve “the least of these.” Go and make disciples, baptize them. Go farther than your church, farther than your own town, help the church in the next county or another state or even on the other side of the world. These are the radical ideas of our RISK Project.
We raise our risk level when we’re willing to get our hands dirty to meet the needs of the needy. We raise our risk level when we decide to cross the line to have a conversation with a friend to bring them to Christ. We raise our risk level when we say I’ll sacrifice to give more dollars to help other churches grow, to leverage our resources for maximum impact. When you demonstrate a radical risk of faith, incredible things will happen.
Until next time,
QUOTES OF THE DAY
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Wiling is not enough, we must do.”
– TJohann Wolfgang Von Goethe
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If you speak, you should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If you serve, you should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 4: 10-11
Exert from In Search of Higher Ground
Whatever your Higher Ground may be, starting a business, advancing a career, financial freedom or whatever your dream is, your greatest asset and richest experience will always be people. Never underestimate the need of people in your life. I have a friend who runs a very large organization and has multiple people under his supervision. Recently while talking with him, he told me that he has made a habit of investing in people’s lives. Over the past 25 years he has written on the average of 40 handwritten letters per day. Letters to friends, colleagues, employees, executives, customers, family, and anyone else who came to his mind. I began to think about all of the people he has invested in. People that he has encouraged when they were down, said thank you for a job well done, and said congratulations when they had accomplished a task. He has undoubtedly built a large network of people that believe in him, because he first believed in them.
With all of the investing he has done in people’s lives, I wonder if when a need arises in his life, how long it will take for people to rally to his side? If he needed financial assistance, wanted to build a team, needed advice, wanted to open a door that seemed to be shut, or was in need of a favor, he could very easily have hundreds of people by his side ready to help when he called out. Why is this possible? Because he has invested in people’s lives…
My friend has not made the tragic mistake that many make. First, he has not burned any bridges. In other words, his life has been spent living with integrity and investing in people’s lives. People often burn bridges with others and soon they find themselves without a bridge to cross. (We will talk more about how to build bridges a little later in this chapter.) Second, he has not looked at one person and said, “I don’t need you, or you don’t matter.” He has realized that every person is loaded with potential. When you negatively or positively affect people, you not only are affecting them, you will ultimately affect who they influence…
Everyone has potential to do great and wonderful things. They are unique creatures of God that are made to do wonderful works. The job of someone who “connects” with others is to help them understand and believe in their abilities. To help them realize they are a well of fresh water that is waiting to be tapped.
When you think of the familiar saying, “What goes around, comes around,” you tend to think of negative actions. If you are dishonest, lie or cheat, in the end it will come back to haunt you. But have you ever thought of using this familiar saying with a positive action? For instance, if I sow seeds of success in other people’s lives, then according to this adage I will reap success for my own. This is true! If you will help those you are connected with succeed in their lives, you will never lack success in your own.
Until Next time,
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford
Can you imagine deciding that you want to build a home on a piece of property that you have purchased? So you begin to search out a builder who you can hire to build you the dream home of your life. You find that individual and you hire him on the spot. A few days later, you are driving by your land and you see your builder beginning the process of building. He hasn’t shown you any blueprints or architectural design. You have not made any decisions on what the house will look like, how many rooms, how big the kitchen will be, what the entrance of the home will look like, not one decision has been made, he just starts building.
How crazy would that be? To start building a home without having any plans. No one in their right mind would ever do this. Why would you attempt such an important task without any direction, plan or process? We wouldn’t allow this in the building of our home, but we allow it in the building of our organization. Many leaders are guilty of leading their organizations without any true blueprint or any clear plan or process.
A while back, we discussed the two major questions every organization must ask themselves:
a) What is the purpose of this organization?
b) What is the process?
Two very simple questions, yet uniquely profound. What is the purpose of the organization you lead and what is the process. If your company is a contractor, insurance agency or something in the mortgage industry, what is the purpose and what is the process? Maybe your organization is a church, then the question is the same, what is the purpose and what is the process. Is it clear? Is it precise? Is it easily understood by those who hear it? Does your leadership know it?
I was recently consulting a church that was creating a purpose statement and they said “They existed to improve life.” They wanted the purpose of the church to be about improving. They wanted those who came to their church to experience improvement in every area of their life including: financial, spiritual, relational and emotional. It was a clear and precise purpose that could easily be shared with someone.
Then they added to that purpose by creating a process. They said we want three things to happen. For people to “Connect, Grow and Serve.” They wanted people to “Connect with God” during their worship services, to “Grow” by getting involved in what they called small groups and they wanted people to “Serve” in a volunteer role at their church. They felt that this was a simple process that would accomplish their purpose. If people would Connect, Grow and Serve then their life would improve. Simple purpose and a simple process.
Can you do that? Can you say in just a few words the purpose of your organization and the process by which you accomplish the purpose? Work on that this week with your key leaders. Discover your purpose and your process. The clarity that will come from this could potentially change your organization forever.
Until next time,
QUOTE FOR THE DAY:
“To be simple is to be great.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I want you to imagine for a moment that you have hired a consultant to work with your team. This consultant has complete access to each member and no question is off limits. The consultant comes in early one morning and begins at one office, working his way through each office, stopping to ask each member of your team some very specific questions.
What do you think is the purpose of your organization?
What is the mission?
Why do you exist?
What is the “Strategic Process” that helps you carry out your purpose?
How do you think the answers would come back? Would it be clear, precise and would there be continuity between each member’s responses? If you are like most organizations the honest answer would be no. If that is the case for you then you must ask yourself, how can I expect my organization to gain momentum, focus and clarity if the members don’t possess it themselves?
I was reading a book recently that emphasized the power of “Simple Vision.” This book talked about how organizations grow quicker with a “Simple Vision” then with an elaborate vision. The simpler it is the more powerful it is. They referenced companies like Google. They shared that Google’s home page is simple with just a few words, while other search engines such as Yahoo has hundreds of characters on its home page. Google is said to be used by the largest majority of people using a search engine. People want the simple process.
Can you imagine the power of your organization having the ability to state in just a few words the purpose and process of the company? Most of us would say we have a purpose, but it is multiple words that no one has bought into and there is no simple process that goes along with it.
Here are two questions to ask yourself and your team:
a) Why do we exist?
Do not look to other companies or organizations for a preset purpose statement. Create it from your own heart. In just a few words (possibly 10 or less) what is the purpose of your organization?
b) What is our process?
How do we establish our purpose? If you were a fast food chain, you might have a purpose that says “delivering quality food with customer care.” That is a simple purpose to why you exist. Now your process may be to “Make it fresh, make it quick and make it with a smile,” or “Buy great products, make it when it’s ordered and treat the customer well.” This is just a simple process that you do over and over to assure success.
Ask your team members these simple questions. Wrestle with them for a while and let them become a catalyst that springboards you to an organization that is clear, precise and simple.
Until next time,
QUOTE FOR THE DAY:
“Luck? I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it and I’m afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else; hard work – and realizing what is opportunity and what isn’t.”
– Lucille Ball
Every church is unique. It has its own distinct features and focus. If you want to change the vision of your church to create growth you must change the very nature of your church. When changing the vision of your church you must first get “buy in.” Getting “buy in” for the vision starts at the top…
Let your vision cascade down:
- It is important to remember that each level needs to have “buy in” before you move to the next one.
Here are some practical steps to create a sticky vision…
1) Make it part of your leadership culture.
• Learn a new vocabulary
• If it’s blurry to your leaders, it won’t be clear to anyone else
2) View things from the perspective of your vision.
• Starting of new programs
• Ending of current programs
• Asking questions like:
o “Does it fit?
o “Does it hinder or help?”
o “Is it good or is it best?”
• Vision compared to demographic
3) Weave the vision into your meetings (leadership, volunteers, staff, board).
• Talk about how it is being lived out
• Celebrate progress
• Evaluate often
4) Strategically place the vision into your weekend services.
• At least twice a month, make mention of it
• Stronger emphasis once every 6 weeks
• Showing videos, bulletin updates, life change stories, emails…anything that points to your vision working.
• Allow a variety of voices/people
5) Identify how each person fits into the vision.
• Financial support
• Serving roles
• Outreach minded
6) Use various means to constantly communicate the vision.
• Small Groups
• Membership Classes
A key to remember is…
When you are just getting tired of it…they are just getting it
Until next time,
QUOTE FOR THE DAY,
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
Perhaps one of the greatest topics love to study is the subject of Leadership. I am fascinated how the Creator has always chosen leaders to get the job done. Every great country has had, at one time or another, a great leader. Moments in history have usually been the result of some leader, somewhere, doing something. Behind every great company, organization, church or institution you will find a great leader. It has been said that “Great leaders build great things. Average leaders build average things. Poor leaders let things drift.” As straight forward as this may sound it is a fact…everything rises and falls on leadership.
I have listed below the first five laws for every leader to follow. (I will give you the remaining five next time) Place your life and leadership up against these laws and see how you do. Teach them to your staff and key leaders and challenge them to become the kind of leader who lives out the following laws.
1) The leader must have a dream larger than those they lead
2) The leader must have an attitude superior to those he or she leads
The true leader recognizes the need for a winning attitude. Remember that you are setting the temperature for your work environment. Make it positive and full of energy. A positive attitude is contagious but a negative attitude is even more contagious…so be careful.
3) The leader looks outside the window when things go right, but looks in the mirror when things go wrong
Be the first to admit if you have made a mistake. If something goes wrong, learn from it and move on. However, if something goes right, give away the credit. Add value to people and they in return will add value to you!
4) The leader is a decision maker
If the leader can’t navigate the people through rough waters, he is liable to sink the ship. The fact is the leader must be able to make the tough decision. People won’t follow a person who is too insecure to make a decision.
5) The leader puts those he or she leads first
You will never go wrong as a leader when you put the other person’s needs first. Love on the people you lead, be mindful of their needs, encourage often, be willing to put the individual before yourself. Do this and you will gain a loyalty from them, in which you have never experienced.
Well there you have it! The first five laws of great leadership. Go back and read through them one more time. Meditate on them! Think about how you can apply these laws to your life this week and watch what they will do.
Until next time,
Quote for the day
“It is the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguishes leaders from their followers…successful leaders are learners.” Warren Bennis