8 Core Competencies for Church Staffing

I have adapted three criteria – character, competence and chemistry – from Bill Hybels to determine who the “right” person is when looking to hire a new staff member at the church. While character and chemistry are relatively simple concepts, competence is much more challenging to put into practice. What competencies (skills, abilities and gifts) are the right ones?

Using The Talent Management Handbook by Berger and Berger as a reference, I developed a competency-based model of employee evaluations for Covenant Life Church, the church where I serve as Executive Pastor. We identified 8 competencies that we thought were absolutely crucial to us as a church. Let me step through those briefly, along with the definition we articulated for each…

  • Action Orientation: Targets and achieves results, overcomes obstacles, accepts responsibility, establishes standards and responsibilities, creates a results-oriented environment, and follows through on actions. Marked by a “do what it takes” attitude.
  • Communication: Communicates well both verbally and in writing. Effectively conveys and shares information and ideas with others. Listens carefully and understands various viewpoints. Presents ideas clearly and concisely and understands relevant detail in presented information.
  • Creativity/Innovation: Generates novel ideas and develops or improves existing and new systems that challenge the status quo, takes risks, and encourages innovation.
  • Mission/Goal Orientation: Possesses the ability to define issues and focus on achieving workable solutions consistent with fulfillment of church mission and consistent with the church’s ministry process.
  • Interpersonal Skill: Effectively and productively engages with others and establishes trust, credibility, and confidence with others.
  • Leadership: Motivates, empowers, inspires, collaborates with, and encourages others. Develops a culture of cultivating people (both staff and volunteers). Builds consensus when appropriate. Focuses team members on common goals.
  • Teambuilder: Knows when and how to attract, develop, reward, and utilize teams to optimize results. Acts to build trust, inspire enthusiasm, encourage others, resolve conflicts and develop consensus in creating high-performance teams.
  • Technical/Functional Expertise: Demonstrates strong technical/functional proficiencies and knowledge in areas of expertise, as defined by the employee’s job description. Consistently does the right thing by performing with reliability.

Now, not every organization, or even every church, would identify the same competencies as important. While this may be our list, yours may be a little different. In fact, I’m almost sure your list would be different from ours. The crucial issue, as it pertains to staffing, is to clearly articulate those competencies and let them guide you in the hiring process.

Covenant Life Staff Evaluation System: To see how the above competencies are evaluated, read through our entire evaluation system.


Interact: What competencies are most important in your organization?


2 thoughts on “8 Core Competencies for Church Staffing

  1. Thanks for sharing your work. It is a challenge to identify core competencies for church staff when working from a blank piece of paper.

    1. My pleasure. While some may be applicable in other settings, it is important to customize. What competencies have you discovered as particularly important in your context?

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