Adding Staff to Your Ministry
Every pastor needs help in the ministry. Whether it is a teacher for the Christian school, a music director, a bus mechanic, or an assistant pastor, every pastor is in need of someone to help him reach more people and be more effective in the ministry. Moses needed a Joshua to serve him. Elijah needed an Elisha that would assist him in his ministry. Here a few questions that you may want to consider before adding staff.
Do I need a staff member?
As the pastor of a church, you will have to seek God’s will for your ministry. It is better to want something you don’t have than to have something you don’t want.
Do I need to hire a staff member?
At some point, you will need someone to help you take your ministry to the next level. It is possible that the person you are looking for is already in your church. Every church member ought to be involved in some area of ministry. If you need a bus mechanic, a choir director, or a maintenance man, he may already be right under your nose. With a little bit of training, he could be the right person for the job. If you need a secretary, perhaps a godly lady within your church could help in that area. Perhaps you have a man who is a good soul winner who could become your bus director as a layman. Many times the Lord has already supplied the person we need for the job, but we have to be able to see the potential in our members, and then prepare them for getting involved in the work of the ministry in some way.
Where should I look for a staff member?
You will want to look for a staff member in a place that is the closest to what you are. You don’t want to hire a staff member who does not hold your position in the areas of preaching, soul winning, separation, music, etc. If you hire someone that is not on the same page, you will have problems down the road.
When should I begin looking for a staff member?
If you are interested in hiring a full-time staff member, the sooner you start looking, the better. Many of our Golden State students begin talking to pastors at the beginning of their senior year (and sometimes even sooner). You may want to consider having a young man intern at your church for a summer. This gives you and the young man an opportunity to get to know each other. After working together for a summer, you should be able to determine whether or not he will be a good fit for your ministry.
What should I look for in a staff member?
Look for someone with a heart for God. You can teach a staff member a lot of things, but without godliness and a good attitude, that staff member will not be what you need. Keep in mind that a Bible college graduate has received training and tools for the ministry, but he will need you to continue to work with him. Do you remember what you were like on your first day of full-time ministry? Although you had some kind of training, you probably still felt like you were unworthy and unprepared.
Is it fair to ask a staff member to come to my church if I cannot pay him?
Again, you will have to determine God’s will for your ministry, and the staff member will have to find God’s will for his life. This may be the way that you choose to operate your ministry. For some people this has worked well.
Some pastors have moved to an area and started a church without any promise of a salary. The difference between a pastor and an assistant pastor is that the pastor sets the direction for the church and takes ultimate responsibility for the ministry. The assistant pastor is not the leader but the follower. While the pastor is preaching four times a week, praying, studying, soul winning, visiting hospitals, or meeting with people, the assistant pastor may be pushing a vacuum cleaner, turning a wrench, or cleaning the restrooms. While no one is above these tasks, you will have to determine whether or not it is fair to ask someone to move to an area and work a full-time secular job in order to perform tasks that could be done by volunteers within your church.
You may also want to consider that a Bible college graduate who believes God is leading him to be an assistant pastor has invested four years of his life and nearly $30,000 to receive his training. Whether a staff member graduated from Bible college or not, a pastor should be willing and able to provide for that man and his family.
“The labourer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7).
“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, the labourer is worthy of his reward” (I Timothy 5:17-18).
Some would argue that the Christian life is lived by faith not by sight, and that is true. I think we would all agree that when a missionary goes to the foreign field, he goes to the field by faith. However, the missionary still must raise the support before he goes. If he did not raise any support, most would wonder why he did not first make the necessary preparations. The same is true for an assistant pastor. He should live by faith, but he should not be foolish in the process.
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:28-30).
As a pastor, you will set the direction for your church and ministry. As you seek God’s will concerning adding staff to your ministry, I trust that these thoughts will benefit you as you look for the right staff member for your ministry.