All pastors have a sense of vision. They can see things before anyone else. They can envision a future state that is better and more God-honoring than the current state. This is normally a huge asset but when hiring new staff members this is actually a hindrance.
The problem is that pastors have a hard time looking realistically at potential hires. Pastors tend to think that they can fix certain candidates or train them up in some bold new way that’s going to overcome serious problems.
If you’ve been in the ministry long enough I’m sure that you’ve done this more than once. You see a candidate and your pastor’s heart and pastor’s vision kicks in. You start looking past obvious red flags and even get adamant when others bring potential issues to your attention. You’re sure that the others just don’t get it. You can see such a bright future and you want this person and you need to fill this position ASAP so you move forward…and later regret it.
Am I saying that you should only hire perfect candidates? Should we refuse to give people a chance or a big break? No, but we should be looking for people that have proven themselves in some capacity along the way.
It’s like a young woman looking for a mate. There are no perfect spouses in the world so she needs to be aware of that and be gracious. At the same time, she would be wise to avoid thinking that she can fix men with obvious issues that come into her life.
Two Quick Keys…
1. Refuse to Hire Projects
As you look at a potential hire, try to determine if you’re spending a lot of energy thinking about how you’ll fix this person. If so, warning lights should be going off in your head. Also try to determine if you’re looking at the candidate with pastor’s heart or a leader’s measure.
2. Hire Proven Producers
You don’t have to hire someone with mountains of experience doing the job you’re looking to fill. That is often impossible or impractical given church budgets and resources. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that you have to take a complete leap of faith. Instead, look for someone that has a track record of seriously producing whatever areas they’ve served before.
The bottom line is that you’re basically looking for a young David that has slayed a few lions and bears. He may never have slayed a giant but he’s a slayer and he’s proven that.
Remember, hire proven producers not pastoral projects.