This series is examining the hire/fire structure most churches use for staffing. Here’s a brief overview of how that works. First, the hiring:
- A church has a staff need to fill.
- The church advertises the need through various networks–word of mouth, Bible colleges/seminaries, publications, even classified ads in newspapers.
- Prospective candidates send in resumes and various other items, such as sermon tapes/videos.
- Prospective candidates are interviewed by a “search committee,” who’s job is to search for a suitable candidate to fill the staffing position.
- In the case of a preacher (and I’ve even heard of it in cases of youth ministers), the prospective candidates who pass inspection with the search committee will come and preach a “trial sermon”.
- The congregation then votes on whether or not the prospective candidate should be their new staff person.
- If not, the process starts again. If so, the new guy comes on board. If he’s lucky, he’ll sign a contract binding the church legally to their agreement (this doesn’t always happen).
The process varies by denomination or church, but this is basically how it goes.
Second, the firing:
- Church leadership receives complaints from members of the congregation about the staff member. Usually, the complaint is about the staff member’s ministry/speaking style, or things that the member thinks the staff person should do, but isn’t… or isn’t doing the way the member feels it should be done.
- If the staff member is lucky, he’ll get a chance to explain the situation and correct it.
- In many cases, he doesn’t get that opportunity.
- He’s fired. Immediately. Without severance pay. Chances are his salary wasn’t that much anyway, which means he and his family are up the creek financially until he can find another position.
- ALTERNATE VERSION: The staff member is immediately fired for moral indiscretion such as sexual sin or financial fraud.
Tomorrow, I’ll post about the pros and cons of this system. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on this process. Anything I missed? Another angle that needs to be mentioned? Comment to your heart’s content.