SIDEBAR: Hiring Family

by Harvey Mitchell Jr.

After the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the pastor is the primary authority figure in most churches. As such, he or she usually does the hiring and firing, with little input from the board. But is this the best way?

Outside of churches, nonprofits seldom hire family members without intense scrutiny. Most nonprofit organizations require an open listing of employment opportunities. They establish a period of time to advertise publicly all job openings and receive applications and résumés. A selected panel (usually consisting of key staff members, board members, and possibly members of the organization who are involved in reviewing applications and résumés) weeds out candidates. After narrowing the candidate pool, the panel interviews remaining candidates and selects a final few for follow-up interviews and a meet and greet. At the end of this rigorous process, the panel makes a recommendation to the director or directors, who have a final say in the hiring decision.

To avoid any appearance of nepotism, we need to develop a visible process to show that the church followed similar policies and procedures with every hiring decision, including staff members who are related.

Bringing more voices into the hiring process on all levels allows the congregation and community to see that the leadership is accountable and genuinely interested in seeking God’s will and making ethical decisions.

Harvey Mitchell Jr., Orland, California