Staffing a Church and the NFL Draft

April 28, 2009 2 Comments

What do staffing a church and the NFL draft have in common? If you are a football fan you know that one of the big debates every year concerning the draft is do you draft for need or do you draft the best player available? It is a philosophical issue and you can hear people argue for and against both sides.

There is a similar debate concerning staffing. Do you hire a role based on a need, or do you find the right person get them on the team and then figure out what they do for your church or orginization?

Jim Collins in the book Good to Great talks about getting the right people on the bus then finding out what seat they fit in. That sounds great in an ideal world when resources are unlimited. When I sit in my dreaming stage imagining all of the perfect people doing awesome stuff for God at our church that is great BUT if we really need a ______ (fill in the blank Worship, Youth, Executive) Pastor and we can only hire one guy and there is this awesome guy but he is not a ______ Pastor then what should we do?

Do we hire the guy who is awesome? Do we go look for a guy to fill a role? Do we take the awesome guy and make him fit the role?

Some thoughts I am having as I wrestle with this for our church right now while we currently (according to church consultant types and personally feeling overwhelmed with all that needs to be done at our church), are understaffed.

1. The right people have a whatever it takes attitude. The right kind of people are not the superstars who are looking for the tailor made job. The right kind of people are excited about the vision and being a part of something awesome that God is doing and when they on board they are willing to do whatever it takes regardless of role, title etc.

2. God created us all with gifts. Some people as willing as they may be simply might not be able to do the job you need to be done. So there has to be an alignment of need and gifting.

3. At certain stages of development we hire certain types of people. We are probably at a stage right now where we do not need overly specialized people. We need some of our team to be able to do more than one thing (i.e. the Executive Pastor is probably an Executive/Outreach Pastor who implements vision, oversees daily operations, and moves our body into our Community to connect them to Jesus for life change). In reality he probably also oversees all of our communication.

There is a place where ideology and reality intersect. The single most important thing to look for in staff in my opinion is that God’s hand is on their life. They must have an anointing from God to do what it is that God has called them to do. The second thing we look at is that they already have our DNA of being an outwardly focused follower of Jesus Christ who are themselves growing in their faith and are connecting other people to Jesus in the process. The third thing is that there is a place for them. When they become a part of the staff team they need to dosomething productive for the Kingdom. So what do they do? Is that strategically helping us most effectively connect the most people possible to Jesus?

So do you draft for need or do you draft the best player available? I don’t know I am Lions fan I am glad we did not draft a reciever this year. Here is what I know. I know God has His hand on our next staff member, I believe God is working in their hearts right now developing our DNA in them and when they join our team we will know if they are the right person at the right time.

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Katie May 4, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Cool football analogy! I believe that certain teams are scouting out new rookie players because they have a “feeling” that they are right for the team. Most of the time the team is prepared ahead of time (before the draft) that they would be willing to sacrifice X or trade X, in the hopes that this person is all they thought they would be. I’m thinking that after the person is signed, they become part of the team. The new player may be not be as awesome as they thought, or may not fill the EXACT role they thought he would, but he should be given a chance. Tarvaris Jackson did not do well his first few games, so they replaced him as starter, but after Gus Frerotte injury, he was back on the top, taking the Vikings to the play-offs. (albeit, they didn’t go far 🙁 Funny that we’re talking football drafts and church jobs. It’s awesome that you are searching for the perfect person, and letting God lead you there. The best news, though, is that God can help mold the person you pick in your church, and help your church to bring out his best ministry qualities.

slehr May 11, 2009 at 8:31 pm


Thanks for the email. We actually have Vikings fans in North Carolina. I know one. Lord willing God will raise up some of our future staff people from within our church.


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