Jump directly to the Content

Are You Prepared to Dismiss Someone?

A checklist to use before you let someone go.

A church rarely expects it will have to let an employee go, but the need may arise, either because of poor performance or because of economic pressures. Below is a general checklist to review before starting the process of ending someone's employment with your church.


Do we make it a policy to document all issues concerning personnel? Yes ___ No ___

Do we have a personnel manual that all employees must read and sign? Yes ___ No ___

Are we aware there are differences as to how we can and should dismiss clergy versus non-clergy employees? Yes ___ No ___

Do we have a system that documents performance and warnings in writing as part of the employee's records? Yes ___ No ___

Do we, as a church, have an attorney that we can seek advice from regarding employment, dismissal, and other legal matters? Yes ___ No ___

Do we always have a clear plan that we will
execute regarding the dismissal
of an employee? Yes ___ No ___

Do we assess the potential for physical harm, and have we taken steps to protect church leaders and other staff? Yes ___ No ___

Do we utilize a second person present anytime we must fire an employee? Yes ___ No ___

Do we utilize a signed severance letter stating the actions necessary on the part of the dismissed employee? Yes ___ No ___

Do we always escort the dismissed employee as they collect their belongings and walk out of the building? Yes ___ No ___

Do we make it a point to immediately collect the employee's keys and any other church-owned property they have in their
possession? Yes ___ No ___

Do we consider the best approach to notify other staff and the congregation as to details surrounding the dismissal, and have those details been reviewed by the church attorney? Yes ___ No ___

Are we consistent across the board in our written warning and dismissal
policies? Yes ___ No ___

Do we make sure we incorporate prayer into the entire process? Yes ___ No ___

From "Dismissing Employees and Volunteers," a downloadable training resource available on ChurchSafety.com.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Yes, Jesus Loves Me!
Yes, Jesus Loves Me!
What are we doing? That's the question we challenged ourselves to answer.
From the Magazine
An Alternative to the Bonhoeffer Option
An Alternative to the Bonhoeffer Option
Christians today can learn from WWII-era theologian K.H. Miskotte about resisting without resorting to political violence.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.