In most churches, the ministry year begins September 1. Kids get promoted to new classrooms, youth programs have new plans and preachers begin a new series. Many people decide to find a church in September. The time to take a breath for most XPs is in the fall. Either the programs began or they didn’t. People visited your church and decided to return … or not. If you have the wrong people on your staff, then the fall season won’t get off to a good start.
One “wrong fit” on your staff can cost a bundle. My estimate is that a hiring mistake will cost between $288,000 and $455,000. Let’s add it up:
The search will cost at least $3,000 if you do it yourself. If you use a search firm, it will cost at least $15,000.
There will be moving expenses and start-up expenses. Plan on $5,000 to $10,000.
It takes about a year for a pastor to “fit into” a congregation. Let’s assume that you are going to pay the pastor $50,000 and let’s throw in another $15,000 for health insurance and other benefits.
It will take another 6-12 months to determine that the pastor is a good fit; add in another $30,000 to $65,000.
Finally you realize your error in hiring him and decide to let the pastor go, upsetting some people in your church. They leave and their offerings go with them—let’s be conservative and say that “costs” $100,000 to $200,000.
You have an interim worker and another search, add in $15,000 to $30,000. There are the moving expenses for the new pastor, start-up expenses and the first year “fit.” This is another $70,000.
The low side comes to $288,000 and the high side is $455,000. Wow!
Looking at these numbers underlines the importance of hiring well. Don’t skip important hiring steps or settle for a candidate that’s “convenient.” It just costs too much money … AND time.