Originally posted July 31 2012
For your church’s next lead-team hire, should you recruit from the marketplace or from a bible school?
Changes in our culture, and in our churches, make this a question you need to wrestle with.
An exciting trend appeared in the local church about 20 years ago. It was the trend to increasingly hire senior staff not from bible schools, seminaries and even other churches, but instead from right within a church’s own congregation.
“These people,” the reasoning went, “get our culture. They have affinity with our people. And they bring marketplace savvy to our team.” And besides, it was often felt that seminary graduates didn’t have enough real-world experience.
The results have been impressive. As churches have grown, their marketplace-dominated leadership teams have led with a level of sophistication normally reserved for enterprises like Coca-Cola and WalMart.
Today, however, there is growing evidence that it might be time for the pendulum to swing back.
Tim Schroeder, National Pastor for The Leadership Centre Willow Creek Canada, has observed that in some cases it could be time for the pendulum to swing back toward a more theologically-grounded leadership team.
Does this apply to your church? Here are 3 signs your next hire should come from a deeper theological background:
1. The biblical illiteracy of our culture is not being corrected in your church
Our world is increasingly biblically illiterate, and more than ever churches must guide their own congregations toward a grounding in scripture. Is your church doing this?
2. Doctrinal spats are erupting in your church
In the absence of theological strength in church leadership, there can be a tendency for bickering to emerge in the church over minor doctrinal issues.
3. Your church is struggling to see evidence of growing discipleship in your congregation
The common wins associated with a marketplace-dominated church leadership team are a strong sense of purpose, a strong strategic plan, and a bias toward execution of the plan. But in some cases, actual spiritual development can sputter.
If these indicators are creeping into your church, it may be time for the pendulum to swing back in your church.
Don’t necessarily abandon hiring from within your congregation. But you may want to also bookmark the website of your local bible school.
What direction is your hiring taking these days?