Pros and cons of hiring a parishioner

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Photo by Mike Connors

By Lisa A Covington

When needing to fill a position in the parish, the question often comes to mind whether or not it is a good idea to hire a parishioner. Below is a list of pros and cons of hiring a parishioner, along with ideas of why it is good to hire someone from outside the parish. This chart should assist you in your decision.

Pros of hiring a parisioner

  • The person knows people in the parish and their gifts, skills, abilities, etc. which would be helpful if you are a new pastor or plc needing to fill a position.
  • You know the person loves the parish because of their dedication and involvement.
  • Because the person is emotionally tied to the parish, he or she could be more conscientious of their work.
  • The job will be viewed as a ministry to those people this person has had a relationship with for many years.

Cons of hiring a parishioner

  • Dual relationships: the person already knows you as the pastor, and comes to you with his or her spiritual dilemmas. This person may then come to you with questions & want to seek advice during work time.
  • If the person is a parishioner, it’s more difficult to fire them. You won’t just be losing one member, but his or her family and possibly other parishioners. Division among the parish could potentially happen.
  • Gossip: the parishioner may be used to talking with other parishioners about EVERYTHING going on in the parish (parking lot meetings). It could become very difficult for you to know whether or not the person could keep confidentiality in regards to the rectory office.
  • If two parishioners apply for the position and you hire one of them, what do you say to the other person who didn’t get the job?

Hiring from outside the parish

  • All parishioners are seen as equal to the new employee.
  • The person will view the parish with fresh eyes. If you want to make changes in the parish, it will be easier for this person to help you implement these changes. There is no emotional connection to the parish.
  • The person can bring ideas with them from previous parish employment.
  • It is easier to fire someone who isn’t already connected to the parish.

Lisa A Covington