I got an e-mail from Dr. Paul Boatman of Lincoln Christian Seminary last week. He was working on an article about hiring staff from within a church versus going to a seminary to find staff. Dr. Boatman wanted to get my opinion on the topic; so the following is some of the questions and answers in our cyber conversation:
1. Does Community Christian have a “policy” regarding hiring staff who lack formal theological education?
No. In fact we have very little “policy” about anything. Policies tend to be reactive and you create them because you haven’t found any other way to get people to do what you want them to do.
2. Can you describe your personal perspectives on the practice of hiring staff who lack a formal theological education?
The first qualification we look for in potential staff is “proven faithfulness”, not formal theological education. We are definitely not against a formal theological education (I have one!), but that is not what we look for first when trying to find new staff. “Proven faithfulness” tells us a lot about a person’s giftedness and passion. We think that is very important.
3. Can you briefly share how you develop potential staff members?
Most of our staff are people who have come from within Community Christian Church. Typically, these are men and women who have proven their faithfulness as an apprentice leader; then as a leader, next as a coach and often times as an elder at CCC. What I just described (apprentice leader -> leader -> coach) is our internal “leadership pipeline”.
4. Have you seen instances (in your church or elsewhere) where “hiring from within” was the preferred pattern?
Yes. At CCC it is currently the preferred pattern and practice.
5. What are some of the advantages of hiring staff from within your church?
Here are seven advantages of hiring a person from within:
A “person from within” – you can observe their character before hiring.
- A “person from within” – you can observe their proven faithfulness before hiring.
- A “person from within” – you can observe their giftedness in action before hiring.
- A “person from within” understands and buys into your philosophy of ministry!
- A “person from within” understands and buys into your vision!
- A “person from within” loves that local church!
- A “person from within” offers a lot fewer surprises!