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How do you go about finding the PERFECT assistant for your ministry? Maybe you are a pastor that just got the green light to hire someone part-time or you’re replacing an admin you’ve had for years. Either way, I believe these seven principles will help you find the right person for your ministry.
1. Hire a woman
I know that this is controversial, but I’m a firm believer that a ministry assistant should be a woman. I guess if you have enough finances to hire multiple people, guys would be ok, but most ministries can only afford one. That being said, consider these things: A woman can balance your ministry, a woman can “speak” woman, and a woman can put a feminine touch on your student ministry. Even if you’re married, a female assistant will help you reach the girls in your ministry.
I would even suggest hiring a woman in her 40’s-50’s. Hiring someone who is not your equal in age protects you and the ministry from the temptation of an affair. Our ministry assistant has often spoken into situations in a way that a guy cannot.
Hiring a woman also keeps you productive. If you hire a guy, chances are you’ll become bros. If you’re bros, then I imagine a lot of wasted time having fun…err working.
2. She must be teachable
This should go without saying, but I’m surprised at the guys who hire someone who thinks they know it all. Of course, you’ll want her to innovate in her area, but being teachable is something that is required in our ministry! All of us need to be in a constant state of learning. No one has “arrived.”
3. She works for you not against you
You want to avoid someone who is prone to gossip. Chances are, the person you hire, will hear and see information that is confidential. They need to be able to keep confidence. They also need to work for you not against you. What I mean by that is that if you make a decision (you will) that they don’t agree with, they will refrain from going around and telling everyone that they don’t agree. This destroys trust and communicates that you are a house divided. Look for someone that will support your leadership regardless of their personal feelings.
Our ministry assistant told me when I was hired, “My job is to make you and this ministry look good. If you forget something, I’ll help you remember. I’ll support you and this ministry.” PERFECT!
4. She communicates
You need to hire someone that will tell you when something is not right—when something is going wrong, when her feelings are hurt, and when people are upset. Never hire someone who is afraid to talk to you. People will tell her things they will never tell you. She must able to pass that information along. She will also need to be able to communicate to others the vision, purpose, and direction of your ministry. She’ll handle questions and complaints too. She must be a good communicator.
5. You can trust her to make decisions
There will be times when you are not around and she’ll need to make a decision. If you don’t trust her to weigh all the pros/cons then you shouldn’t hire her. Don’t hire someone just to do your dirty work. Hire someone who can make sound decisions. I tell our team that we need to consider how our “snap” decisions affect the ministry, is it consistent, and are we making exceptions?
6. Let her do the job!
Don’t hire someone only to micromanage them. Train her well and then allow her to make mistakes. Show grace, patience, and be willing to help her. She will not do everything the exact way you would do it. That’s ok…get over it. Give her some space to grow into her new position. Micromanaging kills the spirit and communicates that you don’t trust them.
7. Invite her to your team meetings.
She needs to be apart of your team. If you only view her as a secretary, then you’ve failed. She needs to sit in during appropriate meetings. Give her a voice to share her perspective. I promise, you’ll thank me later! Our ministry team meets every Monday to recap the previous Sunday, talk about issues, and preview the upcoming week. Our admin is always invited to those meetings and is expected to join the discussion. I meet with our associate student ministry separately to discuss anything that should only be talked about between us. Aside from that, our admin attends all of our meetings.
When we needed to hire someone new, we looked for someone who met all of these criteria. She’s proved to be a huge blessing to our ministry. Follow these seven suggestions and you’ll find the perfect person for your ministry!