Two days ago, we began our marathon sprint to finish the hiring of 1,200 staff to work with Pine Cove this next summer.  The overall concept of what we do is the same for any of you hiring 1, 2, 12, or 120.  The key is the process.

I’ve written before on the topic of hiring.  I’ve talked about the four areas we consider when hiring a full-time staff person.  But this is different.  The staff I’m talking about more resemble volunteers at churches or other ministries.

The small army of 1,200 staff really make up the soul of our organization.  In this post, I laid out the three components that makes us who we are as a ministry.  The first part, “Who we hire,” is beginning now.  And we better get it right.

Recruiting volunteers is almost an identical process.  You stand up in front of people, casting vision of what you are trying to accomplish, sharing the story of what the mission looks like, and eventually explaining what that means for each person.

If you are one that hires staff or recruits volunteers, let me share with you the 3 components I share with our staff each year around this time.

When we have such a monumental task in front of us, we are committing to be:


Our recruiting began a few months ago.  In that time, we have interviewed somewhere around 2,500 college students from all across the country.  This means that one of 50 full-time staff have sat down individually with each of these students for about an hour in an effort to get to know them.

We check references.  We examine spiritual autobiographies.  We consider their spiritual health.  We consider what acquired skills each person has.  We think about their personality, and if they have the ability to lead people of a certain age group.

Getting to know each applicant for who they are is exhausting.  But it is worth it.  We owe it to them since they took the time to apply.

During the process we have to keep our minds right.  What exactly are we looking for?

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him.  For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”    I SAMUEL 16:7


It’s easy to hire quickly.  Anyone can do that.  But to get great staff or to get volunteers who truly want to make a difference, you have to go further.

I remember 10 years ago we put in place a new practice in our process.  We began calling a random sampling of the references that were submitted.  These people had already filled out a reference for an applicant.  We were just calling a select group of people to make sure they were the ones that actually filled it out.

The first call I made of hundreds of these references ended up begin bogus.  The very first call.  The guy knew of the applicant, but hadn’t actually filled out the reference.

To hire great staff, you have to have thorough processes in place to make sure the great people you are hiring are as great as you think they are.


There is a lot at stake with who we are hiring.  We want college students that want to be used by God to transform the lives of people.  Although we can pick the staff that look the best to us, there is always more to the story.

Instead of us trying to figure it all out, our process is saturated in prayer.  We know this:

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

Psalm 127: 1

We pray God would watch over this “city.”  We pray for his protection.  Our prayer is that he would give us the wisdom needed to make such critical decisions.

Do you have any guiding principles when hiring?


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