Church Recruiting Best Practices: Communication

There should be no other group of people on Earth who have better communication than the Church. Yet, the local church is failing to properly communicate with candidates who are applying to their open positions. Sometimes, churches are not even responding to their applicants.  The purpose of this article is to encourage the Church to develop a sincere value of communication. To embrace it, uphold it, and fervently execute on it.

Why should I?

1. The candidate is an image bearer and brother in Christ.

Renewing your mind each day to remember that an applicant is a brother in Christ will completely change your attitude and approach to candidate relations. This mindset will help you to put on the lens of Christ and see the true value of all your applicants. How would your spouse, brother, son or daughter feel if they had spent hours creating something exclusively for you… only to be ignored. When a candidate does not get a response it truly communicates that they are not valued by you as an organization. Remember who they are and you will make responding to your applicants a priority.

2. A lack of communication deteriorates your brand.

Hurt applicants hurt your brand. You are not only an ambassador of Christ, you are a brand ambassador as well. Every local church should strive to develop a reputation that accurately reflects the character of Christ. It’s imperative to remember that it’s a small world. Candidates talk to other candidates about their experiences. One ill word about your local church from a hurt applicant can lead to hundreds of other potential candidates refraining from applying to your open positions. The opposite holds true as well. If you create an amazing recruiting process, candidates are going to take notice and tell their seminary buddies about their experience.

3. You have an opportunity to be different

There is a strong reason behind the development of this article. We have spoken with hundreds of pastoral candidates and a lack of communication from the local church is a common frustration. Trust that when an applicant receives pristine communication from a church they are going to take notice. Great communication will set you apart from other churches. You will be more attractive as a potential employer.


Okay, but how?

1. Say Something

This really cannot be repeated enough. Just hearing a response from the employer goes a long way for the candidate. You must remember that they are constantly wondering what the status is of their application. Many times, candidates are left feeling as if they just submitted their resume to a black hole. Always respond to a candidate as soon as possible no matter what stage they are in.

2. Give transparent Answers

The classic “God is leading us in another direction” response isn't a good answer to turn down a candidate. The local church must value the leading and sovereignty of God, but the reality is that you must know some details about the direction that He’s leading you in. The word direction itself implies that you have received some sort of instruction on who you're looking for. The reality is that we fear hurting a candidate’s feelings so we use the above quote to avoid the truth. Tim Keller offers wisdom on this when he said, “Truth without love is harshness; it may be right but you ignore it because of its bite. Truth and love together transforms.” Candidates long for genuine communication so that they can transform into Christ-likeness.

3. Practice Empathy

Practice empathy with your candidates. Try as hard as you can to remember what it’s like to be in the position of your applicant. Remember that they are probably in a painful season and use that as an opportunity to minister to them.

Valuing communication produces invaluable results when it comes to your pastoral staffing needs. It will create amazing candidate pools, set you apart from other organizations and create a reputation as a great place to work in the Church. Remember, please say something. Ironically enough, this allows your brand to speak for itself. 

Cameron Gibbons