How to Hire and Keep A Qualified Parish Employee (And Why It Matters!)

To hire and keep a qualitied parish employee is one of the largest ongoing expenses of a parish! Hiring well, and making sure parish employees thrive, is an excellent and necessary way to be a faithful steward.

How to Hire A Qualified Parish Employee

It goes without saying that if you’re trying to live the Gospel well, prayer is of the essence! Consider praying for the right candidate as a parish or even during your staff meetings. Relying on the Holy Spirit is an excellent way to begin your search for a qualitied parish employee.

Tips For Hiring a Qualified Parish Employee:

  • Use Job Boards. Avoid relying solely on personal connections to fill an open job at the parish. Casting a wider net could expose you to highly qualified candidates that you might not encounter otherwise. It also allows you to bring some objectivity into the hiring process. Using a Catholic Job Board can help broaden your search.
  • Identify Your Goals. I once interviewed for a job, and the interviewer could not explain the job description! Unfortunately, they were merely looking for a “warm body” to serve as a catch-all. There was no vision for the job that took my human potential into account. In short, creating a vision with stated goals will empower your new hire.
  • Offer a Fair Compensation. Parishes may be operating on a thin budget with many obligations. However, that doesn’t mean that you cannot find creative ways to offer a competitive salary. Research the position you are hiring for and find out what the average salary range is for similar jobs in your region. Take a closer look at areas where you might be able to re-allocate resources. If you sincerely cannot afford to pay an average salary, maybe consider other benefits. These perks could include vacation time, paid maternity leave, a complimentary pre-school slot, or even a paid retreat.
  • Be Prepared to Train. Have a training plan in place before you make your hire. Write it down and do a thorough review of the plan with the person who will be training your new-hire. If training will take three months, plan ahead for re-assigning tasks as needed.

And why it matters: Qualified Employees Pay Big Dividends

Hiring the right person for the job means you have prayerfully and diligently selected the most qualified candidate. Job experience may require a higher salary, however, you could save time and money in the long run. Qualified candidates will usually require less training and finding the right person will often allow you to consolidate tasks typically spread between employees.

How to Keep A Qualified Parish Employee

Take Care of Your Employees

  • Focus on keeping an employee’s work balanced: I recently spoke with two full-time parish youth ministers with similar-sized parishes and salaries. One was expected to work forty hours in the office and additionally to put on a host of other nightly and weekend events with no additional compensation. It was not uncommon for her to work 60-70 hours a week! The other youth minister had similar expectations, however, the parish offered “comp-time” for those moments when the regular forty-hour schedule went out the window. The latter youth minister had a much better experience and was more satisfied with her position. All it took was some creative planning on behalf of the parish administration.
  • Give them the training they need: Ideally, you will hire the right person for the job, train them well, and then see them flourish for years to come. Be prepared to invest in your people with time and resources. If you think about it, Jesus spent years training his disciples by spending quality time with them, before giving them the responsibility of taking care of his Church!

And why it matters: Turnover is Costly!

High turnover is costly, and keeping it as low as possible is one way to be a faithful steward of parish resources. This is because overall productivity may decrease for a time when training a new-hand and the effects can usually be felt across the board. Perhaps that employee must work over-time to complete essential tasks, or another employee must temporarily abandon standing projects to assist with other important work left undone.

The time and resources spent training a new employee are financial considerations beyond salary and benefits that must be considered. If you are in the cycle of constantly training a new employee for the same job every year or two, this is a financial toll on parish resources.

Let Prayer, Planning and a Person-Centered Approach Be Your Guide

Hiring and keeping a qualified parish staff comes down to three essential elements: Praying for the right candidate, planning for success from start to finish and making sure your employees are treated with the care they need to flourish. At the end of the day, people matter most.


About the Author

Charlie Johnson is a freelance Catholic writer. Charlie lives in sunny Florida with his wife of five years and their three children. He holds a B.A. in Religion and Apologetics and also serves as the Managing Editor for the Catholic Lifestyle and Spirituality site, Taming the Wilds. His writing has been featured in places like the Catholic StandSpiritualDirection.comCatholic Exchange, Catholic in Recovery and in print at Shalom Tidings. You can reach Charlie by email at: [email protected]



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