I believe one of the secrets to successful ministry is surrounding the Lead Pastor with an incredible staff. If there is one thing that I have done right over the past 8 years at Southern Hills is to hire the VERY BEST ministry team I have ever seen assembled in a church our size.
The Most Important Staff Member
I am speaking of the Pastor’s Wife. Though I do not believe it is necessary for every pastor to be married, I do believe it is essential that if he is married that his wife be a good pastor’s wife. She is the most important Staff Member. She is the one that visitors are most interested in seeing. She is the one who ministers to the minister and knows him like no one else can. She is the one who exemplifies the virtuous woman for all to see and follow. Many churches have been blessed by the leadership and ministry of a good pastor’s wife, likewise, many churches have seen decline due to the lack of understanding of the importance of the most important staff member. For more on this subject read: http://www.joshuateis.com/who-pastors-the-pastor-pt-2/
Worth the Expense
Depending upon the local economy, a church will be able to fully support a Lead Pastor and family when it is averaging between 80-100 people. On their own, with the support of a dedicated lay-ministry team, will likely be unable to build the church past 200 people. At this many people the pastor and his wife will be exhausted and overwrought with ministry. Though bringing in another couple will be expensive it is the right decision to make. It this point it may take up to 25% of your budget to secure a good pastoral staff member but you must understand it is worth the expense. (BTW – If you are ready to bring on a staff member… please pay them what they are worth. I Timothy 5:18)
Hire a Position, Not a Person
This is debatable among lead pastors today. Some say it is better to find the right person and then find a place in the church they will be able to serve. I feel differently. I believe in identifying a weakness in the church and then finding the best person available to improve that weakness. I believe the biggest weakness in many small churches is in the Children’s Ministry department. We were attracting many young families to Southern Hills in the early years and we needed someone who could dedicate their energies and focus on developing a thriving “Children’s Church.” Cody and Shonda Kuehl did this for us for 5 years! I then noticed a weakness in our administration of our finances, insurance and legalities.
At 225 people, I believed our church could not really grow past our ability to be financially, and legally secure so we hired Fred and Kelly Murray who are gifted and educated in these areas. They also were assigned to minister to our teenagers. As the church grew to 300 there was an obvious need for better music and worship, and along came Jason and Kimberly Coombes who are both musically trained and gifted in church programing. Our assimilation system was not keeping up with our growth and our “back door” seemed to be letting too many people leave without engaging and becoming members. I handled all of the assimilation up to this point until I realized I was doing A LOT of secretarial work that could be handed off to others. Out of the church we brought on Cindy Hammons, who became my personal assistant, and Melanie Graves who became our church receptionist.
At 440 people I saw the need to have more musical talent and specify focus on our teenagers. The Lord led us to Steven and Becky Miller who are both trained and gifted in this area of ministry. They have helped our music ministry take major steps forward and our Wednesday Night Youth Group to grow to almost 50 teenagers.
Allow the Pastor to Hire and Lead
It is essential that the Pastor takes the lead regarding church staff. He cannot lead effectively if the staff feels they answer to the deacons, church members of some denominational structure. The Deacons and Lay-Leadership of Southern Hills have allowed me the privilege of leading these incredible people without interference. Heather and I love our team and they love us! We work together extremely well and have seen great success because I am willing to take the lead and they are willing to follow.
How has a Staff Member at Southern Hills been a special blessing to you? Do you have questions regarding the hiring of staff at Southern Hills? Share your questions and comments below: