Hiring A New Youth Or Children’s Minister

Hiring a new youth or children's minister blog post

What if you are hiring the wrong person? Where do we find quality candidates that will fit our church’s culture and context? How can we hire someone who will last? How long will it take you to find your next Children’s or Youth Minister?

These are a few questions that come flooding in as you begin searching to hire a new staff person. If you have experienced this as a supervisor before, you probably recall the emotions of that moment. Depending on the fallout that came after the transition, it may be one of those situations etched in your memory.

Give yourself a moment to be still, to be aware of your anxieties, and to prepare yourself for the journey of searching for your next Children’s or Youth Minister.  

As you lead your team and church through this process, it is helpful to remember you are not the only one asking these questions and feeling the weight of the uncertainty that change brings. Likely, you are also navigating the fears and anxieties of the children or youth, families, and staff members regarding who will be the next Children’s or Youth Minister and what will happen in the meantime.

Leading through the uncertainty of what’s next and others’ emotions takes significant time and energy, especially since you also juggle all your other essential responsibilities.

Here are 4 tips on leading through the transition and hiring.

4 Tips on Leading Through Transition And Hiring

Be aware

This is a personal and emotional time for those involved and affected by the ministry. Expect a lot of emotions. First, be aware that you are not responsible for “rescuing” them from the sadness or anger they are feeling. Second, be mindful of the pressure you feel that could cause you to rush through the hiring process.

Give your church and families permission to grieve 

Ministry is highly relational, making it so impactful and painful when transitions in leadership happen. Phrases like “this is hard” will give those struggling with the change the space to feel and process their emotions. Sitting with them in their fears and even sharing some of your own can be helpful. This transition season will also allow you to teach them how to navigate change in healthy ways, which is much needed and valuable skill in our world today.  

Give them a reasonable hiring timeline

The timeline is a critical step in setting this transition up for success. And often, this step is overlooked. The average time it takes to hire a new Children’s or Youth Minister is 3 to 4 months.

Be prepared that people may push back on this timeframe because of their desire to move from the unknown to the known quickly. Therefore, setting this expectation from the beginning of the process will help others manage their expectations and give the process the attention it needs for you to hire well.

To help you explain why the process usually takes 3 – 4 months, here is a resource for you that outlines the steps involved in hiring and the average time each step takes. Sharing all the steps and timeline involved in hiring will increase their confidence in the process and the outcome, plus help everyone exercise patience. 

Create a plan for the hiring transition

Create a team with those involved in the ministry to develop a plan for the next 3 – 4 months. This team will help you on multiple levels. Not only will it help you create a plan moving forward, but it will also give those affected by the transition a voice in the process, a clear pathway on how they can help fill the gaps, and a sense of control. 

We are most vulnerable in seasons of change. Since feeling vulnerable isn’t a comfortable feeling, it is tempting to rush through the process and settle for less than the right person for your church. Resist rushing. Give each step in the hiring timeline the attention and time needed to put your church in a position of strength moving forward.


Kirsten Knox, Senior Director of Ministry Partnerships

Kirsten Knox, Senior Director of Ministry Partnerships at YMI. Kirsten was part of the second class to complete the YMI two-year coaching and training class in 2009. She has since been a coach on multiple occasions. Kirsten Knox is married and a graduate of Asbury University with a degree in youth ministry.  She began working in youth ministry in 2000, serving Pasadena Community United Methodist Church for a decade. Click the social links below to engage with Kirsten.


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