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5 Things to Include in Your Church Staff Onboarding Process

By: Kendal Drinkwine, Vanderbloemen Search Group

The best way to have your new hire love their environment and their job quickly is make them feel welcome on your church staff. If your new hire walks into their first day on the job and they don’t feel like you are prepared for them, there will be a lot of confusion and uncertainty.

If you do not have an onboarding process for your incoming employees or you are looking for ways to improve your current process, check out the following ideas to help your church staff be ready and excited to welcome new staff members.

1. Introduce them to the culture of the church & staff.

A phrase we believe whole-heartedly at Vanderbloemen Search Group is that "culture trumps competency every time." What are you doing to ensure your new team member successfully onboards into the church staff culture? 

Here are a couple of ideas: 

  • Team Page - Make sure that you have some form of team page on your website. Whether it’s an internal or external page, have every person’s picture, their role, their job description, and fun facts about them like how many kids they have, where they are from, their hobbies, or what they do day-to-day at the church. The sooner your new hire can get to know the team, the sooner they will feel comfortable.
  • Mission & Vision – If your church does not have a clear mission and vision, stop reading this blog post and get started on it now. At our office, each of our team members has a wooden block of our staff's core values on their desk, so we are reminded daily of what we are striving for. We also integrate our values into every staff meeting so that a team member gets to express how he or she saw our values lived out each week. As part of your onboarding, sit down with your new team member and walk through the purpose of each of your values and give them a deadline for memorizing the values. When every member of your team knows and lives out your values, your church will be steered in the right direction toward your vision. 

2. Schedule regular check-ins with leadership.

In the first ninety days of the new team member’s arrival, set up consistent meetings with his or her leader. One of the worst feelings for a new employee is not knowing if they are meeting expectations. Insecurity can lead to greater mistakes, so make it a priority to provide constructive and consistent feedback for your new team member.

3. Review detailed systems & processes.

Expense reports, submitting paid time off, and setting up computer programs can all be daunting if an employee is left to figure it out on their own. While these steps should all be included in some sort of Employee Handbook, some church staffs do not even have these systems or processes documented. Provide your new team member with step-by-step instructions of how they can set up the operational processes your church requires. I also suggest you set them up with a peer coach who the new employee can shadow and ask questions regarding the details of operational systems.

4. Plan team bonding. 

Plan special team events so the person can get to know the staff. On the person’s first day, consider taking their team out to lunch so they can get to know each other outside of the office.

Is there a fun family event coming up at your church? If so, make sure the new team member knows about it and knows they are welcome.

5. Familiarize them with the community. 

As a church staff member, it’s important to know the demographics and makeup of the community the church is reaching. Provide information about the community to the new staff member to help inform their ministry.

Here are a few ideas:

  • What is the average income in the area?
  • What is the average family size?
  • What are the local schools like?
  • What are the cultural demographics in the area?

Another practical way to onboard your new team member into the community is providing:

  • A list of favorite restaurants in the area
  • A list of shopping centers including grocery stores and supermarkets
  • A list of entertainment options in the area including movie theaters, museums, and parks

What are some steps your church staff can take to better onboard your new team members?


This article was provided by our church executive search partner, Vanderbloemen Search Group. To learn more about Vanderbloemen Search Group's recruiting services and how they can help you fill your open position, click here.

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