Archive for the ‘Staff’ Category

Job Descriptions

Here’s our job descriptions.  If you want ’em.  A few of them are being revised and tweaked, but you’ll get the idea.




We’ve recently taken most of our staff through the Clifton Strengthsfinders assessment, and I highly recommend the process. You can buy the book for about $12, and it comes with a code to take the test online.

You’ll learn a lot about yourself, and about your team. You’ll learn what challenges a certain kind of person and how to communicate with that person.  The short little book does a great job describing each strength.

Here’s a breakdown of the strengths for the people who are on our Lead Team. It’s cool how my assistant compliments my strengths. And there are quite a few strategic thinkers on this team, which is great.

Student Ministry Leadership Philosophy

Traditional thinking tells me that we should have hired a full time student pastor about a year ago.  But every Wednesday night, we gather about 130 students together for a student ministry service, and we still don’t have a youth pastor on our staff.  I’m not saying we never will…but what we’re doing now works, so why change it.

I was a student pastor for 12 years, so I know the mind of a youth pastor.  I think most up and coming student pastors have in their minds that the most important thing they will do is teach students.  And it’s still true that most youth pastors want to be “real” pastors one day.

But the #1 job of a youth pastor, especially for us, is not teaching.  I have 5 or 6 people on our staff, plus several people in our church that are more than capable of teaching students.  So why hire a youth pastor, 90% of whom want to just teach, to do that?

Instead of a traditional youth pastor, we have a student ministry team.  I call them the super team.

  • There’s a worship leader, who leads worship at the student ministry service.
  • There’s a very organized person who administrates, communicates and makes sure details are handled.
  • There’s a student ministry intern college student who does the hosting and relationships and hangs out with students.
  • And there’s a young married guy who leads a group of student leaders…discipleship kind of stuff.
  • I take care of the teaching…either teaching myself (60%) or arranging for other speakers (40%)

Instead of getting a youth pastor, who may be good at one or two of these things, we have four people who are in their sweet spot.  Organizationally, they all report to our Family Pastor.

I’m not saying you should organize your student ministry this way, but it works well for us.  I’m not saying we’ll leave it this way, but it works great now.  The key is to create a system that works for you, not just hire someone because you ought to.

Staff Structure Chances

We’ve gone through a process of realigning our staff, creating a new org chart and tweaking our structure. I believe this strategic move will allow our church to double in size. I’ve got a series of post in the queue on my blog set for next week.

Hiring Process

Getting a job at Oak Leaf Church is a big deal.  We all work hard, and our mission is very important.  Honestly, it’s tough to get a job here and I’d say that 90% of people that work at other churches wouldn’t make the cut.  Most of our staff is hired from within, meaning that they are already volunteering, serving and giving before joining the staff team.  Here’s a run down of our hiring process.

1. Create job profile (not job description, but a write up of the kind of person we are looking for)
2. Receive resume and supporting materials
3. Answer preliminary questions via email
4. “Get to know you” chat with someone on staff.
5. Review Job Description and salary range.
6. Ask them to fill out an Oak Leaf Church Application.
7. Interview with supervisor, in person or via phone.
8. Spiritual Gifts Inventory at and Ministry Insights Assessment.
9. In person interview or conference call with Lead Team (or some other team if it’s more appropriate)
10. Executive Pastor checks references.
11. Strengthfinders test
12. Talk to advisory team if it’s a pastor position.
13. In-person visit (includes Sunday morning) and meeting with Lead Team
14. Spouse/Family get together.
15. Tweak job description based on person’s strengths.
16. Counselor evaluation.
17. Background and credit check
18. Review salary package.
19.  You’re hired.

Tell me how I am doing!!

I don’t know if there is a more effective tool in all of leadership then feedback.  You can give all of the directives, make them read all of the books, listen to a great sermon, but your staff will never know if it really paid off until you tell them how they are doing.  If you have kids you do it naturally, because you are desperately trying to build their confidence and feed their self-worth.  I would ask, why do we stop with the people that we lead?  They can’t lead a ministry for years on the accolades of their high school baseball coach or their Mom’s gleeful smiles when they got the main role in the high school play.

At Oak Leaf, we don’t necessarily do anything so much better then any other church, but I do use two tools to make sure that I am properly investing in our staff.

One is the 6-Month Staff Evaluation and the other is a Health Report (you will have to e-mail me for that) that tells me if I am regularly investing in them as a person and a Pastor.  The Health Report gives me a couple categories of investment and feedback and let’s me put in dates to track my deposits into their well-being.

Use these tools and I’m sure your staff will appreciate it!

Anthony Gratto

Executive Pastor

Job Descriptions

Here’s a zip file with some of our updated job descriptions. You’ll find mine, our Executive Pastor’s, our family pastor (soon to be hired), creative arts guy, and several others.

Staff Evaluation

In two years, we’ve gone from a staff of one (that would be me) to 10 (five full time and five part time). Once a month, we get everyone together for an all staff meeting. Every week, the Lead Team meets and discusses big picture items.

We do a formal staff evaluation every year (in January), but each month, we ask every staff member to do a personal evaluation. We want to hear from people on what they are doing, how they are doing and what their big opportunities are. Here’s the simple form we use. Staff Evaluation.pdf

Expert Training is Overrated

Let’s talk about staff for a minute.

When we’re looking for staff (and we are about to hire a few positions), we always look within our church.  We look around to see what volunteer is going above and beyond.  We see who is already doing a great job.  We check to see if they tithe (yes…we know who gives).  We watch them lead.

We don’t automatically look for experience and education.  Our executive pastor was a school teacher last year.  Our director of volunteers worked at a doctors office.  Neither of these people had expert training or tons of experience in their field.  This isn’t a big deal to us because expert training can be overrated.

If employee A is an expert at Rock of Ages Baptist Church and tries to do ministry at Oak Leaf Church based on his experience, that’s not going to work.  We’ll have to spend a couple years and a bunch of money on conferences to educate it out of him!  A seminary degree doesn’t automatically make you a good leader.  It may make you smarter (sometimes), but it doesn’t automatically qualify a person for ministry.  I’m using little of my seminary experience as a church planting lead-pastor of a fast-growing church.

All this to say, if you’re looking for someone to head up volunteers, children’s ministry, pastoral care, administration, or a hundred other jobs, don’t just look at the church job websites.  Look inside your church.  You may find a committed volunteer working a “regular” job who would take a pay cut to do something he or she  loves.

Church Staff: What We Look For

In one year, we’ve gone from one person on staff (me), to 10 people (a combination of full time and part time). Every single one of the people on our team right now have been hired from within. In other words, they were committed to the church before they came for a job. I tell people that if they want to one day work for Oak Leaf Church, start volunteering in that area and do a great job.

We do not hire based on education. In my experience, a seminary degree does not mean you will be better at what you do. Some churches pay more for higher degrees…I joke around that we should reverse that. I’m all for education, but I don’t think it makes a person an expert in a ministry field.

We also don’t hire solely on experience. Just because you’ve done ministry 10 years doesn’t mean it’s a fit here. We may have to beat bad experiences out of you, or you might be stuck in your ways.

When we look to hire someone, I look for three things:

1. Leadership ability. I don’t want people to do ministry; I want people to lead ministry. If you’re a leader, I could put you in children’s ministry or service programming and you’ll be okay. Ministry is leadership. You’ve got to be able to take people from where they are to where God wants them to be.

2. The desire to work hard. I want to tell people “go home…you’ve been here all day” NOT ask them why they were an hour late. We hire hard workers who will get things done no matter what. I don’t have time for excuses. Being lazy is not going to get you anywhere. Our setup volunteers get to the place at 6 AM on their only day off – and you’re leading those hard working people.

3.  The ability to learn and grow.  We hire for potential.  I want people who are going to go out of their way to get with other people doing their jobs at churches that are getting things done.  Part of everybody’s job description is to seek out these relationships.  I watch other teachers.  I want our band watching other worship bands.  I want our kids people communicating with other dynamic children’s ministries and soaking up everything they can.

We’ve decided to hire for potential and character, not for education and experience.