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How to Interview for Mission and Vision Alignment

By: Sarah Newsome, Vanderbloemen Search Group

Every church wants a staff full of people who are all aligned with the church’s mission and vision and moving in unity towards the same goals. Having church staff members who don’t match with your mission and vision can be frustrating for you and them and can cause you to either miss the mark or at least be delayed in accomplish what you envision for your faith community. And eventually, you have to face the difficulties of letting people go who aren’t a match for your church, potentially causing turmoil among your staff and congregation.

So how do you avoid that kind of situation in the first place? You have to hire well, ensuring that you bring people on board who are in step with your church’s mission and vision from the beginning. Here are some tips to help you do just that, starting with preparation for interviews with candidates.

Before beginning the interviewing process: 

1. Clarify your own strategic mission and vision.

You can’t hire someone for mission alignment if you don’t know what that mission is!

Remember, mission is not the same as vision. Vision is the outcome you want, and mission is how you get there. A mission is more short-term-focused, while a vision statement looks further into the future.

2. Assess your church's progress.

Once you’ve clarified your mission and values, truthfully determine whether your team is living out that mission and those values and whether it still fits your needs and goals. What is integral to your culture and the mission? What things might you need to change or let go of?

3. Ask for help.

Invite other staff members to speak into your interviewing and hiring process. They will have insights that you may not, questions to ask that you may not have thought of, and specific skills to look for in the next addition to your staff.

Once you begin the process of interviewing, keep these considerations in mind: 

1. Ask candidates specific questions of how and where they have pursued pieces of your own strategic mission. You’re looking for proven experience working towards a mission and vision that aligns with yours.

2. Ask candidates what excites them about your mission and vision and look for genuine passion in their answers, as well as an understanding of that mission and vision.

3. Also ask about candidates’ personal mission and vision to see if they align with yours. What do they prioritize in their own lives, both at work and at home? Do their priorities match your church’s?

4. Ask them what kind of church they’d feel at home in. Is it a church like yours? If they were to start their own church, what would their values be for that community and ministry?

5. How do they build relationships with people? Is that a good fit for what you need and envision for this role?

6. Ask candidates about people, books, and ideas that have most influenced their lives and ministry approaches. What are the tribes they follow and want to emulate? Are the more missional or fundamental? Social justice-focused or gospel-focused?

7. Present a scenario where the candidates’ answers would show you how they would respond in real life to discover whether their approach is a fit with what’s important to your church. For example, you could ask, “There’s a homeless guy who walks into the church, looking for help. What would you do?” Or you could present the following scenario: You hear rumors of a leader in your church behaving in an inappropriate way for someone of any position of authority at the church. How would you handle this situation?

These tips should help your church leadership hire the right candidates that will successfully further the Kingdom under your ministry's vision.

 

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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