5 Reasons to Raise Up Staff Members from within Your Church . . . and 5 Cautions against That Approach

I’ve mentioned in previous posts the growing trend to hire church staff members from within the church. Here are some reasons to get on board with this trend . . . and a few cautions against it.

Why you should hire staff from within:

  1. You likely know them better than outside hires. They’re already one of your church family.
  2. They already know your church better than outside hires will. They won’t need to spend nearly as much time learning your congregation.
  3. They probably already buy into your church’s vision. They’ve continued to be a part of your church because they believe in the vision.
  4. Their learning curve won’t be as steep as outsiders. That includes learning simple things like members’ names, the church’s history, and the church structure.
  5. Moving expenses are usually less for inside hires. Needless to say, that’s because they already live in the area.

Why you should be cautious about hiring from within:

  1. Some churches are less diligent about vetting people they hire from within. Too often, that decision leads to unexpected trouble down the road. 
  2. You may discover you don’t really know them at all. The true colors of a church member might become apparent when he or she becomes a staff member. The best volunteers don’t always make the best staff members.
  3. Inside hires are often less open to getting additional training if needed. Why should they sacrifice to get more training if they’re already accepted and hired? 
  4. They often bring their own baggage in current church relationships. That is, they bring to the table their own history with current church members. When that’s already negative, it’s hard to overcome.
  5. They’re sometimes so connected to church members that any necessary reprimands or removals are more difficult to do. That’s especially the case when extended family members are part of the church.

What would you add to these lists? 


  • Christopher G. Poirier says:


    6.) Typically does not have other and/or external experiences in which to draw from,
    7.) Runs a high risk of being a “yes man,”
    8.) Runs high risk of reinforcing the status quo even when change may be needed (“this is how we’ve always done things”),
    9.) When and if they push back on ideas, the individual runs risk of having their loyalty challenged versus hearing out the push (“You are one of us, why would you turn against us?”)
    10.) Can create atmosphere that is unattractive to external candidates and develop negative public image, (“Why would I apply there, they never hire externally?”)

    All of that to say, create an unbiased system of balances and actually candidate potential hires (internal AND external) so to obtain the best fit for your church/organization. We are in the business of Kingdom building, not kingdom building (catch that?) and that takes prayer, time, effort, and willingness to do things that may not seem “easy,” but the “reward” is more than worth it.


  • Jeff Blanton says:

    Caution: theologically and pragmatically, it may turn into an echo chamber. This will probably make it difficult for new ideas to grow.

  • Tom Peers says:

    The insider may not possess the experience, knowledge & skill set needed for the position. This is “bounded rationality,” which is when a person is limited (bounded) by their own history, experience and knowledge.

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