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Church Organization Structure-Job Descriptions

One of my recent posts on Church Organizational Structures received a lot of attention so I thought I would take the article to the next level with discussing some items surrounding the Church Enigma of Job Descriptions.

First question I normally get is, “Don’t job descriptions belong in the corporate world?” The answer is, “Not Really.” If you are employing anyone, it is wise not only from a legal standpoint, but also from a simple job satisfaction stance to have a Job Description for your church. There are some benefits deriving from the job description such as:

  • Better employee performance
  • More employee engagement
  • Stronger commitment to overall company/organizational objectives
  • Clear outline of expectations to measure results against

flyingmanWith all of these benefits, why would someone not want to take some time to craft a job description? A lot of times, I feel those in the Christian Church use the law of generics to guide them. If you are looking for a Youth Minister, then find someone who is working as a Youth Minister and so on. However, what happens when one church’s view of the responsibilities of a Youth Minister are different than yours? Generally, the result is bad for both the employee as well as the manager. It can be summed up in one word- Disconnect.

What Goes Into a Job Description?

When considering all of the items you would want a perspective employee to know about a position, one could easily get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information and need for organization. For this reason, it is always good to consider organizing your Job Description for your church including some of these headers.

  1. Marketing Statement: Sure, you might think this would only apply to companies, however, what would you want someone to know about your church? Would you want to attract a nontraditional Worship Leader to your church if it is more conservative in its worship services? (Disconnect?) It would be great to provide a bit of history about your church, some of your overall goals, outreach ministries, size, location and most of all vision.
  2. Overall Job Description: In this section, be sure to include an overall look at the day to day activities this person will be doing. One word of caution would be to be intentional with your words, however, do not make the position sound like a ball and chain. There are creative ways to spruce up the daily activities, and if you have someone on your staff who is particularly optimistic or creative, I would suggest involving them in the process. This section is usually read first by the candidate and will need to be crafted in a way to attract attention, while at the same time, outline the expectations of this role. This is a critical portion of the overall job posting.
  3. Qualifications: This is another incredibly important section to consider. You will want to accurately spell out what you are looking for… specifically. If you will not consider someone who does not possess a degree in Ministry of Theology, you will need be sure to state that a requirement will be a degree in one of those two fields. If you require someone to have a certain number of years of experience in a field, you must state that clearly in the qualifications of the job. Caution: Be sure to think carefully about your qualifications. If you are too narrow in the qualifications, your candidate pool will become just as narrow. Also, it is important to remember that if you hire someone who does not have the posted qualifications, you could be exposed to legal liability. (More coming on that in future posts)
  4. Preferred Qualifications: This is a great section to have since it will allow you to place in it some things you would like to require the candidate to have, but are afraid of narrowing your pool of candidates. For example, if you prefer someone have a degree in Ministry or Theology, however, you know the market is not prime or your salary will not meet their expectations, you would want to list this in the Preferred Qualifications section. This will enable you to attract other qualified candidates who do not possess the degree while still potentially attracting those who do.
  5. Posting Process: I always suggest to churches they provide some blurb about the posting and decision process. This is critical for those ministers looking to make a change who may be on contract with their current church. If you provide the process and timeline, it may open your potential candidate pool. Also, it is a good practice to communicate this on the front end simply to set expectations for both the candidate as well as those involved in the decision making process. If you are only going to post the position for 10 business days or a month, this is where I would suggest outlining that specification.
  6. Legal Jargon: You can go to just about any job posting to find such jargon. Although a church is a nonprofit, nonpublic business or organization, I would strongly urge you to place this information in your job postings to be on the safe side and adhere to the rules and regulations surrounding the employment process. These would include the OFCCP and EEOC.

If you are considering developing a job description to post a job and would like some help or guidance, please feel free to visit Christian Management Consulting or contact us at ChristianHRConsultingGroup@gmail.com. We will be glad to help you through the process.

One process you may be considering is to implement job descriptions in your current Church Organizational Structure. If you are considering this process, please be sure to watch for our series on the Christian job mapping process or the series on Church Organizational Structure.

If this article was of interest to you, please check some of the others in this topic by clicking on one of the titles below:

Divide or Don’t Divide?  Church Organizational Structures

Questions for Church Organizational Structures

Reorganizing your Team According to their Strengths

Building the Right Church Team

Church Organizational Structures : A Bit More

Discovering The Right Church Organizational Structure

Discovering The Right Church Organizational Structure – Part II

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About the Writer:

me21

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

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  1. November 6, 2008 at 4:43 pm | #1

    This is an impressive and insightful article! One of the great disappointments for a church as well as for it’s new staff member, is discovering too late that the philosophy of ministry is not compatible. Same is true of those who jump into church membership without understanding the churches theological and mission stance. In our church we invited our new visiting guests to pick one of our monthly “Visitor Get-Togethers” at the pastor’s home. The agenda included our philosophy of ministry, theological and biblical interpretation of the mission adventure with God our church was on, what they could expect from us and what we expected from them. This gave them an opportunity to decide whether or not our congregation was one in which they could find opportunity to use their God given potential and expertise-gifts while enjoying their worship experiences each week. Saved them – an us – from disappointment and/or controversy.
    David
    personal contact: fsdeh@embarqmail.com

  2. Aaron Jedua
    November 2, 2010 at 4:02 pm | #2

    Great Day People of God,
    I will gladly wellcome any available information about this subject and related matters. Email me: aaronjedua@yahoo.com

    Stay Blessed!!!

    Aaron

  1. March 27, 2009 at 4:23 am | #1
  2. March 27, 2009 at 2:07 pm | #2
  3. March 27, 2009 at 2:29 pm | #3

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