3 Important HR Considerations for Church Planters

If you’re thinking about planting a church or are in the beginning stages of starting one, you’re likely more excited about the mission of the church and the people you are going to reach for Jesus than you are about the operational nuts and bolts of the organization.

But having a clear vision and a strategic plan for your church’s human resources department will contribute to the longevity of your church and its influence on your community. Here are three crucial considerations to aid you in setting up a wise HR plan for your new church.

1. Develop a Strategic Hiring Plan.

What jobs do you need to plan for? What positions will you need to add to the team to launch the church? What roles will you need one year down the road? Two? Five? Ten? Which ones take hiring priority?

While you should be agile enough to pivot your plans as you grow, it’s helpful to have a plan in place for what positions you will hire for and when.

2. Research Compensation That Scales.

One of the biggest mistakes I see church leaders make in attracting and retaining staff members is poor compensation practices. Have you done your research on what to pay the roles you need to hire? Keep in mind that the salary range may shift depending on the cost of living in your area, the experience of the person you are recruiting and the current salary of the potential candidate.

A lot of unknowns exist in planning the budget for a church plant. Many people are OK with making a “missionary salary” for a while because they believe in the church’s vision and mission, but it is important to pay a fair wage so you can retain a good team in the long run.

3. Consider Offering Additional Benefits.

Even if your staff members are paid a lower salary in the beginning, you can provide other benefits, such as health insurance. Look carefully at the different plans available and what works best for your team. Consider offering a 401K or a health savings account. Can you pay for childcare or health-club memberships, which could help decrease your health insurance costs?

Think creatively about the benefits you can offer to encourage the stewardship and quality of life for your team, and remember to budget for them in your operations overhead cost.

When Jesus sent the apostles out to make disciples, he said, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16). Setting up and implementing a strategic HR plan for your new church isn’t an unspiritual aspect or an afterthought; it’s part of being wise.

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William Vanderbloemen
William Vanderbloemen

William Vanderbloemen (@WVanderbloemen) is the president and CEO of The Vanderbloemen Search Group and the co-author (with Warren Bird) of Next: Pastoral Succession That Works. He holds degrees from Wake Forest University and Princeton Theological Seminary.