For the last 22 years, I have been on the same church staff. For six years, I was an associate under Dr. Ed Nelson. After his departure, I became the senior pastor. Over these many years, I have hired numerous staff members in various capacities. Frequently, I tell people that I look for three essentials in a prospective staff member. First is character. Does this individual have the kind of Christlike character that is essential for vocational ministry? Second, is competence. Does he have the requisite skill set to do a standout job in the area he is being hired to minister in? The third essential is chemistry. Does he fit? Does this person mix well with our team? Do I like being around this person? I ask these questions because, as you know in ministry, it is always easier to hire the right person than to get rid of the wrong one.
But once I have hired the right person, I need to inform that person about our ministry: its history, its philosophy, and even its idiosyncrasies. To build a strong staff, to build a real esprit de corps, I need to train our team. So our pastoral staff reads books together. We take a planning retreat to the mountains as well as a couple of day-a-way times to strategize and to work through problem areas. We usually try to take in a seminar together, and we regularly purchase audio sessions from some of the conferences for pastors held around the country.