Theology of Hiring

My gut is that the church should be hiring a ton more people.

I know, I know we are poor, yada, yada, yada….

We can give all the same reasons as everyone else NOT to hire people (we are poor, we have less people in demand of our product, we are in decline, our finances are not robust, our market is smaller)

But I think its exactly when we are failing we should be hiring, I think that when no one else is hiring its up to us to come up with creative ways to employ people.

Ok, not everyone can hold down a job and not everyone can be the strange combo of structured yet flexible that church work requires…

But I am less worried about the “reasons we can’t” hire people and more interested in the Theology of why we should be hiring people

This month I have had the privelage (and headache) of hiring about 5 people….

Yay!!! Ok the hrs aren’t a lot (ranging from a few hrs a week to 30hrs a week)

but here are the good parts

I think that in order to work with and from an abundance economy we need to look at growing our church support and skill set–if volunteers aren’t available, maybe we should consider hiring (many choirs already hire choir members).

I think that when you have people on staff, then the church serves as an employer challenging their theology of justice, causing them to look at policies and the reality of people who need jobs and how to cultivate and support good workers

I know a lot of churches can take advantage of their workers, but the good news is WE DON”T HAVE TO. We are not in the business of business, it IS personal (not business) and our GOAL IS NOT THE BOTTOM LINE! We can create a work environment that create better workers, more stable environment and a way for the congregation to invest in people in a quantitative and qualitative way.

Also, I feel like (As Alice Mann discusses in her books Raising the Roof, etc.) you can’t grow if you don’t have the staff you need to support growth

Here’s Some of what my church is doing…We are expanding our staff, every single year. (yes we are working with a trust)….but I think even if we didn’t have a trust I would be pushing to hire (oh and when you do have a trust you should ESPECIALLY be looking to hire)

We are not limited by volunteers, as much, my congregation is not equipped to do media, we should hire a media person…no financial mind, hire a financial consultant. Neither of these are a lot of hrs…but they are of TREMENDOUS help for us, and is hopefully helping out the employee

we offer vacation and sick time-2 weeks worth of each, paid. If you only work 10hrs a week you only get 10hrs a week, but we are aware that 4 days off is not a lot for a quarter time person, and that you might need that time to be a better worker

Your hrs are guaranteed…I work hard to make sure the hrs we promised you are actually the hrs you can work so you have a dependable pay check….

You have clear hours! If you have other obligations in your life–such as family or a second job we try hard not fuss around with your schedule, it is not shift work

Your time includes flexible hrs…most of our employs have some salaried time that I assume they are working, the secretary gets 5 hrs….the head teacher gets 5hrs…the assumption is, you are working those hrs at home for all those last min, things you can’t really do at the office (or maybe don’t want to do at the office). If you can be more time efficient, great! As long as your getting your work done, we are not going to be chintzy about it.

The handbook spells out things: Like dress code, sex abuse code, retirement and family leave…all of which is to help you feel secure.

We do Cost of Living Increases, seriously consider raises for continuing staff and if you are working more than your stated hrs we try to increase your paid time!

So yeah, every single person at the church is part time but me…but my church now has 8 people (besides myself) who we are teaming up with, providing references, and are employing….

Here’s a challenge, can your church hire more staff? Can they build a staff that is more open and hire lots of people part time for specialized skills instead of depending on the Office (i.e the Pastor or the pastor + secretary) to do it alone?


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Shannon A Thompson

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