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Hiring Quality #1 // Love Your Spouse

Yesterday I introduced the topic of choosing a quality ministry staff team. Interviewing, reading resumes, checking references, and discussing a candidates strengths and weaknesses are all a part of the process.  However, there are three things that I’m looking for in every person that has the potential to join my ministry team!

First, I’m looking for somebody involved in a healthy married relationship. (Of course if they are not married, they are exempt.) I’m not going to hire somebody that can’t say something nice about their husband (or wife.)  I want somebody that is secure in their relationship, and won’t be coming to work everyday looking for my approval for them as an individual.  It’s a dangerous game for me as a man to surround myself with needy women that don’t get enough attention at home.  That sounds harsh, doesn’t it?

Now, how do I find this out?  Legally, I can’t ask questions about their spouse; but I can listen for little things.  For instance, do they mention their spouse when I ask about their purpose?  Do they mention their spouse when I ask them to describe how they make decisions that affect their families?  I’m always looking and listening for the little things people say about the person they’re married to.  It always makes me feel more comfortable with a person that speaks well of their spouse.

You will disqualify yourself almost  immediately  if you disparage your husband, belittle his past ideas, or tell me that he doesn’t want you to work for the church.  By the way, I’ve heard all these things in interviews over the years.  This filter helps me to determine how committed a person will be to their purpose and passion serving our church in a ministry staff position.  If they’re committed to their spouse, and consider themselves blessed to share life with them, then I know that they will feel the same way about many other committments they make.

I have a team of all women, besides myself of course, yet the same applies when the day comes for me to hire a male counterpart.

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Anthony Prince · June 8, 2010

    Nodding my head and taking notes through the whole series.

    Thanks for your thoughts, friend!

  2. Joe McGinnis · June 8, 2010

    Great stuff! As a pastor who’s hired several staff over the years, I couldn’t agree more! If they’re going to be a great team member on my staff – they need to be a great team player at home as well.