Creating A Successful Digital Ministry Onboarding Plan

leaf-covered welcome mat

Not having a plan for integrating new team members is a recipe for losing money. The longer it takes someone to start doing their job, the less impact they have. Unfortunately, many groups do not plan for this until the task is upon them. This sends a message that your people’s time and efforts do not matter. Keep reading for some common new hire pitfalls you should avoid.

First, I will keep using the term “new hire”. But this article is for both employees and volunteers. Nearly all churches rely on volunteers to help with their digital ministries. They may not need all the items I list. Yet I encourage you to prepare for future growth. Today’s volunteer might be tomorrow’s employee.

Basic HR Tasks

You need to cover the basics. The church’s human resources coordinator needs to be ready for this new member. Volunteers may need to sign non-disclosure agreements. Employees need setup for payroll and benefits. Both groups need to know your rules, regulations, ethics, and basic expectations. This may seem tedious or obvious. But it is better to avoid an awkward situation than deal with it afterward.

Digital Strategy

Right out of the gate your new hire needs to understand where they are going. I went into greater detail in my article about web strategies. This conversation must happen even if they are expected to create the digital strategy. You church’s leadership should convey the direction ministries are headed. Discuss long-term goals. Review church culture and target markets. The new person need to know how you define “winning”.

Hardware and Software

I detailed this in a previous article on essential church communications tools. Your new employee may not need everything at once. If they are a volunteer, you may give them fewer resources. The biggest thing you need to worry about is that they are set up for success. Give your new person the actual tools to succeed. You will save money by getting them producing faster. Plus you show your commitment to assisting them in their duties.

Accounts and Passwords

An offline vault of accounts and passwords is important for any digital team. But without certain access levels, a new team member can feel lost. If they are to post updates on Facebook, they need to be a page administrator. If your website is based on WordPress, set up accounts and permissions ahead of time. Check that they have the permissions needed to perform their job. Lastly, create a spreadsheet with the systems and permissions you granted them. This record is helpful for answering many questions they might ask. And, if a person leaves that position, you know what accounts to change or disable.

Platform and Project Overview

Create a presentation that outlines all ongoing projects. Preview your future projects. Inform them what platforms and tools you use. This should pair well with the access list you created in the previous step. If you are not formally tracking projects, this might be the nudge you need. Also, this list can drive your upcoming training schedule.


The concept for this is simple. Show them how you convert ideas into digital assets. When does your team meet. How do they present ideas? How do those ideas get approved? What is your review process? Who handles each step? Answer these questions with swim lane diagrams or process charts. Use any visual tool that works well for you. For an added bonus, take them around your office to see the “who” behind the “what”. That way they know where to turn when they have questions.

Action Item

My goal in writing this article is to get you thinking your onboarding process. This is a critical first impression for new team members. Show them how much you care about their success. A smooth transition will get them producing more great work faster. That means more for them and your church. So review or create your onboarding plan before the next person shows up. Your preparation will result in a greater Kingdom impact.

Note: This article was inspired by my recent journey in starting a new job. It was not a bad one, but it did get me thinking!

Photo courtesy of Kaptain Jak

Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.