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7 Ways Your Church HR Misses the Mark

Church HR requires a specific balance between compliance and culture and having gaps could cost you money and time, not to mention staff morale and relational capital with your congregation. If you’re juggling 17 different hats (including “HR” anything) but don’t have the time or experience to figure out what church HR actually looks like, we’ve got you!

HR Ministry Solutions makes church HR simple and we want to share the 7 most common HR misses we see in churches today:


1) Assuming the Rules Don’t Apply to Churches
Churches often shy away from anything that feels too corporate, but HR is one of those areas that MUST be buttoned up–even for churches. Having both compliance and culture ducks in a row safeguards your staff and organization against the aforementioned fines, fees and penalties.

2) Mishandling I-9s
Errors on your I-9’s could cost you over $2000 PER I-9 and the government does not allow “do-overs”. The most common issues include viewing the ID’s in person, completing within 3 days of hire, and keeping all I-9’s files separate from employee files.

3) Underpaying Staff
Make sure your staff members are properly categorized as exempt or non-exempt. Know and meet hourly and salary minimum wages and be familiar with when you’re required to pay overtime. Yes, there is a ministerial exception but if you are not sure about the rules and how they apply, this could cost you back pay, taxes, and fines.


4) Hiring Too Quickly
Hiring well leads to healthy and successful ministry, but often churches rush the process. Make sure to cast a wide net for candidates by having them complete skills tests and personality assessments to find out if they’re a good fit. Don’t skip checking references or background checks. If you are hesitant about a hire, trust that instinct! Poor hiring practices can lead to inevitable challenges and even firings which may disrupt or even derail your team.

5) Skipping Sexual Harassment Training
Sexual Harassment is one of the top topics we get questions about. Training against it is legally required in many states, but we think ALL organizations–especially churches–should train their staff regularly. Providing training to your staff and managers prevents and protects your staff from harassment by helping them recognize it early. In the event an incident does occur, it could even protect your church from liability.

6) Not Investing In Your Staff
Investing in and developing your staff should be a top priority for all church leadership. The health and wellness of your staff trickles down to the congregation. Jesus spoke to the masses, but personally invested in his twelve which helped drive and spread farther and wider then he could alone. Have a formal training/development plan, communicate it regularly, and review and revise it as needed. Document both accolades and coaching moments and, most importantly, make sure your staff knows you care about their growth and well being.


7) Non-Compliant or Outdated Staff Handbook
We come across many churches that don’t have one, have one that hasn’t been updated in years, or simply don’t know where to start. A compliant staff handbook should include all policies, benefits and legally required statements (both federal and state-specific). Make sure to include your statement of faith, core values, and lifestyle expectations complete with Biblical references. This process may seem daunting, but once you have a complete and compliant staff handbook, it’s relatively easy to maintain.

Now that we’ve made your head spin and doubled your to-do list, take a deep breath. We can also help! Whether you need an HR Audit to determine how healthy your church HR actually is, a custom Staff Handbook to keep you compliant, or free resources like webinars or blog articles to get you started, HR Ministry Solutions makes your church HR simple. Set up a free consultation call today at