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How To Hire The Right People For Your Church Building Project

by Nathan Artt, on January 2020

Seminary is a valuable time of ministry preparation. You learn Ancient Greek, public speaking and the nuances of hamartiology. Somehow, though, pastors feel they missed the course on real estate acquisitions or multi-million dollar operating budgets. That’s because these topics aren’t an inherent part of pastoral training.

As a leader in a growing church, you may feel inadequate to the task of these business or finance related tasks. There are several areas you will encounter as you oversee your church operations. These include: 

  • Banking
  • Fundraising
  • Architecture
  • Property negotiation
  • Civil engineering
  • Code ordinance
  • Construction

Realizing you are responsible for some of these may feel completely foreign, even frustrating. Because this isn’t the heart of what pastors are trained to do, it is vital that you develop a clear system for hiring the right people. Hear this: you don’t have to master all of these things. You do, however, have to master how to hire people to do these things. This requires some discernment. The steps detailed below will empower you to get better at finding professionals in all of these fields who help your church into new seasons of success.

Who Not to Hire 

At Ministry Solutions, we come into the picture to clean up tough situations that are the result of hiring the wrong people. We function in a church advisory role, helping churches grow, assisting them through financial transactions, giving real estate advice, overseeing projects, and many other things. As such, we see the damage it can do to a project and a church itself to hire the “guy who does banking” or the “architect from the mission board.” 

The challenge is not that these people are likely to be unqualified. They may be supremely qualified… in the corporate world. Issues arise because banking, architecture and construction for churches is not the same as the same services done for businesses. There are inherent—and very important—differences that drastically affect the decisions that need to be made.

Church construction is not about the owner’s use and budget, like it would be in any other context. Church architecture relies almost completely on church programming. The average contractor enters the job after it’s been designed, which dictates their function in their entire project. Most churches don’t struggle with getting through construction, they struggle with getting to construction. Assembling a team who are legitimately equipped to tackle a church project is the most vital qualification. As a church leader, hiring these people is your job.

Industry Experts in Your Church

It is absolutely valuable to have industry experts in your church. It is tempting to hire them, because there is a level of trust already established. They are qualified, because of course they know more than you do about loans or load-bearing walls. You have a relationship. However, there are many reasons not to just go with who you know:

  • While your relationship could give these people the opportunity to get your business, their qualifications and competency should ultimately determine whether or not they are hired.
  • A relationship can be compromised, even harmed, by unmet expectations on either side.

Remember: you don’t want to hire people you can’t fire.

How to Hire for a Church Building Project

The best way to hire people is to create a set of standards you require to fill their seat, such as:

  • Recent and relevant work experience
  • References
  • Understanding of the specific needs of your project
  • Knowledge of the local area
  • Ability to work through pre-construction and the design phases of the project

Having objective, defined criteria distance you from the personal nature of church members who apply for the work. If they are not hired, the unmet criteria are to blame, not you. This is an easier conversation to have.

With the help of a trusted third party, churches will be able to better mitigate unpleasant hiring decisions associated with their building projects. At Ministry Solutions, we support churches so that ministers can do the work that they are trained to do. 

What have you learned in hiring for a church building project? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Topics:Church GrowthHiringLeadership

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