Ask Alban: Is it Wise to Hire Members?

Q: I am on the personnel committee of my church.We expect to fill two staff positions soon, and wonder what our policy should be about accepting applications from members of the congregation.

A: When hiring staff, congregation leaders often ask this question. Hiring members has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that members are apt to be familiar with the congregation, committed to its mission, and used to working hard without pay. The drawbacks are that a former lay leader may have difficulty accepting supervision, and a minister or board that tries to fire a member may wind up in hot soup with the member’s friends and family.

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