categories:, hiring, relationships, staff
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July 30th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

8 comments (+ Add)

Disadvantages of Hiring From Outside

Some of this is repetitive from earlier posts this week. In many ways, I’m saying the same thing from a different perspective. Even though these thoughts are similar, I think they are worth addressing again.

The disadvantages of hiring from outside your ministry include:

  1. Cultural risks. Just because someone is successful ministering at one place, does not guarantee they will be successful at another. The cultural and value differences are often difficult to discern in an interview.
  2. Hurt Relationships. If you hire from other ministries, you can put a strain on ministry friendships. We must be careful to hire with integrity.
  3. Family risks. When someone uproots their family and moves to another city, state, or country, there are many factors involved besides the giftedness of the pastor. We’ve hired effective staff from other churches, but the spouses and children never settled in and kept their ministry relationship from working long-term.

Please share from your experience.

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  1. 1Ginger B
    Jul 30, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Love these four posts, Craig!
    Although I see the cultural risks as being the #1 risk in this situation, the Family Risks are the ones that my empathy notices when we hire from the outside. Often times, the spouse and family were required to take on a significant role at their last church, and feel left out when they come to our church. Some spouses do successfuly take on significant servant roles, but they have to go out and make it happen on their own, versus walking into a situation where they’re expected to do it. (I personally think it’s more fruitful for them because it wasn’t handed to them, when they actually initiate their calling and passions in that way.)
    So I often ask newer staff members “Is your spouse making new friends? Are you encouraging him or her to do that, and finding places where that can occur? Are you encouraging him/her to prayerfully find a servant role at the campus they attend or in your local community?” … because I believe that intentionality is very important for their “family risks” to be lessened.

  2. Jul 30, 2009 at 8:33 am

    I remember during a series…Craig, you had said (along these lines) that if Jesus were alive today, he most likely couldn’t work at the modern church because he did not have the “right” credentials…That has stuck with me. I think personally that the heart of the person and praying for God to bring the RIGHT person is the key. (This can be said for all situations, friends in our lives, job…anything) Great post.

  3. Jul 30, 2009 at 8:37 am

    I think the key to successful outside hires is relationship. We hired a worship pastor from outside 2 times. One was a hire based on a referral from a friend and it was a nightmare. The other was a hire based on a relationship that I had over a 10 year period. He is still with us and a perfect fit.

    Other than our worship guy, every other hire we have made from the outside was very difficult and ended up in heartache and problems.

    Gelling Relationally with current leadership is so important. Good Stuff Craig. You’re my hero.

  4. Jul 30, 2009 at 9:30 am

    We have had an interesting experience that reinforces your first point, but from the opposite direction. What I mean is that we recently had tremendous success hiring from outside as a result of the cultural differences. We were looking at a guy as a campus pastor and he was in a church that certainly had a different culture than ours. However, we knew that his current position was stifling his potential and in our environment he would be unleashed. So we gave him a shot because we believe that he was “our kind of guy”. Sure enough, he has taken off and become a powerful tool that God is using. The sky is the limit.

  5. Jul 30, 2009 at 9:45 am

    You make 3 very valid points. IMO, the first is most relevant. When you bring someone in from the outside… unless you a hugely successful place like Lifechurch… the hired person from outside brings with them the implied thoughts that, “Hey, they need me to come teach them from my previous successes at my last ministry. I am going there to help lead a change process.”

    And in some cases that’s EXACTLY why they were hired. (The hiring group wants to see change, whereas the rest of the church doesn’t) But in many cases I’ve seen that’s just their own assumption and it leads to mountains of frustration.

    I think the best thing leadership can do when hiring staff from the outside is to lay out as many expectations as possible. And learning the church culture before you recommend changes is super important.

  6. 6jimmy k
    Jul 30, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Being one who has experienced being hired from the inside and the outside I can tell you that coming from the outside is one of the greatest challenges I have ever experienced. The most vital element of being successful in this outside entry role is total assurance that it was a calling from God that brought me here. If you can’t be sure of that you should probably stay home.

  7. Jul 31, 2009 at 5:39 am

    We have hired several positions as short term internships ( summer or year long) and then kept the interns on in a permament position. If the internship did not work out well, then we moved on. But if it did, we look for a place to keep those people engaged. It has worked well for us. Inside or Outside? Inside is “safer” in many ways, but we benefit from a different set of eyes from “outsiders.” The best hires for us have been the ones that were God-led, leader supported, and vision based.

  8. 8James
    Nov 14, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    all these comments assumes that the church hiring in - or the senior pastor doin the headhunting - has been absolutely honest about where the church is at and not selling something on because they are desperate to hire you…….