Hiring Involves Strategic Planning and Careful Budgeting
Don't hire before you ask a few key questions.
Hiring Involves Strategic Planning and Careful Budgeting

As a partner with the CPA firm CapinCrouse, Stan Reiff guides churches and other nonprofits through various parts of ministry, including strategic planning and ministry operations. Reiff recently talked to ManagingYourChurch.com about key issues related to hiring practices.

Where do churches go wrong when hiring staff and dealing with staff costs?

The biggest mistake people make in the church world is that they hire for spirituality and not for competence. Or they fail to attribute enough importance or strategic value to support staff. So they hire someone because they like the person or because the person has a business background rather than because the person has the specific skills needed.

If you need a business administrator, then hire a business administrator. If you need an accountant, then hire an accountant. Those positions require specific skill sets.

What questions should church financial managers and other leaders ask when hiring staff and evaluating staff costs?

The first is: What are the salary requirements to find a competent leader in that role? And then: What can we afford?

If we need to hire a full-time youth pastor and one costs, say, $50,000 and we only have $25,000, what do we do? Do we want to hire someone who is less competent for $25,000? Or do we want to have someone who is competent but only have them for half the time.

The other major question is: How are we going to cover this expense through cash flow? Normally what happens is that the church says, “We will go ahead and hire a staff person and figure out how to pay for it later.”

For example, church leaders hire a new children’s minister, figuring that if the church has a great children’s program then more families will come. They think that will increase giving—and that is how the church will pay for it.

I always tell churches, “That sounds like a great plan. But are there enough funds in place to fund this until giving grows to cover the new cost? What happens if the plan doesn’t work?”

For more insights from Reiff and other financial experts, see “Balancing Personnel Costs.” For help determining fair salaries and compensation packages for 15 different church positions, visit ChurchSalary.

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

Like This Article?

If you enjoyed reading this article, get more like it. Become a Church Law & Tax member today.

Learn more

Already a member? .

Recent Posts
Become a Church Law & Tax Member

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Experience a whole new way to set compensation. Eliminate the guesswork – get access to detailed compensation reports in just minutes.

Safe Hiring Practices for Ministries

Safe Hiring Practices for Ministries  Member access only

Essential items to consider before you bring new clergy or staff on board.
The 2019 State of Church Compensation Report

The 2019 State of Church Compensation Report Member access only

Data and statistics about the state of church compensation in the U.S. for 2019.