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About Us

The Story of The Shepherd's Staff

The Shepherd’s Staff was formed in 2006 when Greg Allen (President) joined Jim Nutt (Founder) to rebrand Jim’s staffing company. Greg and Jim had worked together previously in church staffing, and they wanted to create a staffing firm that was truly client-focused.

Since the firm’s earliest days, a number of other key staff have been added to the team. Our staff is committed, both as individuals and as a team to being as useful and unique as a staff is in the Shepherd’s hand so that He is able to empower you and your church through our services.

In addition to the individuals listed here, our team consists of a wide network of associates and affiliates that partner with our lead consultants on every search. This allows us to reach deeply into every denominational and ministerial niche in order to connect with as many potential candidates as possible.

Our consultants, associates, and affiliates have significant church ministry experience and are able to leverage that expertise to help you discover a greater quantity and quality of candidates than what is normally possible.

We would be honored to speak with you about what how our highly skilled team consistently provides exceptional results for our client churches.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let us answer some of your questions for you. We are confident we can give you the information that you will need or want to know when choosing us. These questions and answers might help you decide.

What is your Process?

Every search utilizes the same basic process. However, the timing and order of steps vary based on the needs of the church. Each search has its peculiarities and we don’t believe that there is a one-size-fits-all solution. We want to work with you in the way that works for you. Click here to visit our Search Process page for more information.

Why should my church consider using a search firm to help us fill a position?

A search firm can be a great asset to you in a search for the right fit for your team. They will spend a great deal of time getting to know you in an effort to thoroughly understand the opportunity. Since they fill the role of the objective, interested outsider, they will be able to position your opportunity appropriately to possible candidates, setting your church apart from those who do not utilize such a resource. A search firm has the ability to reach way beyond your network to make your opportunity known to a larger pool of prospects than you will be able to access. This is done through advertising, leveraging an extensive database and continuing research to identify candidates from all over who may be a good fit for your team.

In addition to that, a search firm specializes in thoroughly vetting candidates while at the same time helping you walk through your search process effectively. They should formally interview each candidate as a part of the search process (and provide interview documentation), check references thoroughly and personally and also administer any assessments that you would like to use. A comprehensive background check should be a part of the service they offer as well. The search firm’s job here is to provide you with the information you need to thoroughly evaluate a candidate’s possible fit with your church. Your role is to use that information, along with the information and impressions you gather to make an informed decision about hiring a staff member.

Getting outside help on something as crucial as a new staff member for your church is a wise move. We’ve heard it said “We can’t afford not to hire a search firm.” In most cases, there are services that search firms offer that will vastly improve your ability to select the right fit for your team. We can promise it is a great decision and investment.

Would you like to talk through this in more detail? Contact us.

What does your service cost?

Search firms typically base their service charge on a percentage of the first year’s salary of the hired candidate. That percentage is usually in the range of 25% to 33%. However, you have to be careful here. Some firms base their fee on a “salary package” number, greatly increasing the overall search fee. In addition to that, some firms do not cap their fee. They may also include certain hourly or monthly expenses. Get all of this in writing before you commit, or you may be surprised when it comes time to settle up!

At The Shepherd’s Staff, we will commit with you to an exact fee for the search. We will work with you to estimate the one time investment for travel expenses for us to complete our discovery work with you.

When considering a search, you should also keep in mind that you will have interviewing costs for the candidates you bring on site or choose to travel to interview. You will determine the number of candidates you engage at that level, but it is a very real cost you should consider when budgeting. Since you will in all likelihood be relocating a candidate, remember to include relocation costs when considering the overall cost of the hire.

Would you like to talk through this in more detail? Contact us.

How long does a search take from start to finish?

An average is four to six months from our Discovery session to hire. This can vary, of course, and most of the search time is comprised of the interview time. If your church makes decisions fairly quickly with a limited number of people, then you will see that reflected in the amount of time required. If your process uses committees, that will have an impact on the amount of time required.

We have the most control over the first part of the process – the time between discovery and first round interviews. In almost every case, you will be interviewing qualified candidates between weeks four and six after Discovery.

We will urge you during the process to make decisions in a timely manner. We do not want to rush you, as we understand that discernment takes time. We also don’t want to waste time unnecessarily. All of this is discussed thoroughly early on so that expectations can be reasonably set. You will be updated regularly on the search. You will always know exactly what is going on.
Would you like to talk through this in more detail? Contact us.

What if we have a search committee?

No problem. We work beautifully with search committees. Over the years, we have had some churches tell us that their search committee is not in favor of working with a search firm because they feel they are being replaced. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, our work enables the committee to focus more clearly on interviewing, discernment and recommendation. Since we will be filtering resumes and only passing on those that meet or exceed the qualifications for the position, they will feel their workload is reduced on the front end of the process. As soon as qualified candidates are identified, however, the search committee will have plenty to focus on and pray over in every meeting. During the early weeks of the search, as we are filtering resumes, the search committee can continue to prepare spiritually and practically for the interview and selection process.

What’s the difference in working with a search firm and posting our ads on the internet?

Posting your ad on your website or on a job search site is a good thing to do. That may be effective attracting the candidate who is pouring over church websites and job search sites looking for a job. And that is one kind of candidate for you to consider. Frankly, you probably don’t need our help to find people who are aggressively looking for you.

However, the reality is that most candidates do not have the time to conduct a full scale job search. And if they did, why would they necessarily seek your church out over the hundreds of similar opportunities? Would they find you?

That doesn’t even begin to address the candidate who (probably like you) isn’t actively looking but who might be responsive to opening the door of conversation if approached. Perhaps he or she is sensing that it is time to move on, but at this point it is only a thought. We actually spend most of our time identifying and engaging this type of candidate through disciplined, diligent effort. We work in confidence, allowing candidates to be very open with us without ramifications – either those from you (the hiring church) or from their current church. This allows us to reach candidates for your opportunity who simply are not going to look for you.

Would you like to talk through this in more detail? Contact us.

What kinds of assessments do you do?

Most often, the churches we work with are used to using certain well-known personality assessments. We will be glad to facilitate those assessments for you. Often, candidates we identify have been assessed many times, and they have kept their result reports. We will make those available to you.

After we understand your needs, we will be in a better position to recommend specific assessment tools for you to consider based on your church history, culture and management.

Would you like to talk through this in more detail? Contact us.

How long have you guys been around?

The Shepherd’s Staff has been in operation officially since 2007. However, our President, Greg Allen has been helping churches hire since 2002. Our founder, Jim Nutt and one of our consultants, Darrell Whipple, began staffing for churches in 2003. Greg and Jim worked for several years in corporate staffing prior to that.

Our team comes from a variety of backgrounds including full-time and part-time church ministry, church leadership and strong business experience. All of us are committed to leveraging our gifts to serve you as you make the best staffing decisions for your church.

What if we hire you and then we find the candidate?

You will be approached by candidates during the life of the search. Some will come to you directly. Some will be relatives or acquaintances of folks in your church. Some will be connected to your current staff.

In order to ensure a level playing field, all candidates, regardless of source will go through the same process. However, if the candidate you ultimately hire was identified by you instead of us, you will be relieved of a portion of the search fee. We want to be sure you have incentive to stay on the case too!

Would you like to talk through this in more detail? Contact us.

Our Team

Learn About Greg

Greg Allen is the President of The Shepherd’s Staff, a retained executive search firm based in Texas that helps churches attract, engage and select key staff members and while helping pastors across the country more successfully connect with churches as they navigate their ministry careers.

He and his team have facilitated hundreds of staff searches while interacting with thousands of pastors in the process over the last seventeen years. Greg has particular expertise in coaching for more effective interviews, and he has a heart to help leaders as they explore possibilities for ministry employment.

Greg’s search background includes training and success with the largest executive search firm in Dallas. His church background includes several years as a part-time worship pastor and an elder in a local church. He and his wife Marla love spending time with their large family of seven kids and four grandkids. 

Brian Coday
Sr. Vice President

Learn About Brian

Brian is a 30 year ministry veteran that has served churches in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Delaware. While most of his ministry involvement has been as an active Student Ministry Pastor, he has also had the title/responsibilities of Associate Pastor, Pastor of Assimilation, Executive Pastor, and Intentional Interim Pastor. Many of these situations were dual roles while he was a Student Ministry Pastor – Brian has always enjoyed staying very busy and wearing many ‘hats’!

Brian served as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator for the National Network of Youth Ministries for 6 years and coordinated nearly 250 youth ministry network gatherings in a densely populated 8-state region. He was also a mentor/coach with LEAD222.

Brian’s wide range of experience has allowed him to help many churches discover exceptional candidates for their staff team. He is able to quickly determine the unique ‘DNA’ of both client churches and potential candidates.

Brian and his wife, Jill, are now empty-nesting in their new location in Houston, TX after spending many years on the east coast. They are members of Houston Northwest Church.

Greg Bowlus
Sr. Search Consultant

Learn About Greg

Greg grew up in Tampa, Florida in a Christian home where his dad was a Minister of Music and professional gospel musician. He has served in full time worship and music ministry in the local church for over 30 years. Over that time he has served in congregations of 50 to several thousand and of varying denominations and nondenominational churches as well.
Greg had his first introduction to a church staffing firm and the process in 2003 when contacted about a position that they were recruiting for. Not long after this, he met Greg Allen, President of our firm, when he called him about a different opportunity. Over the course of the next decade, he and Greg Allen continued to stay in touch and eventually they began a conversation about him joining The Shepherd’s Staff team. In the fall of 2011, Greg found himself at a crossroad and reached out to Greg Allen in the hopes that he would find clarity in his decision to continue serving the local church, and if so, in what capacity he might do so. By the Fall of 2013, he began working as a Search Consultant with our firm and married his wife Shelly.
Greg and Shelly reside in Florence, SC where they are largely empty nesting. He serves as the Director of Families and Programs at Highland Park United Methodist Church. They love to travel and spend time with family. They enjoy doing anything and everything together.
Greg is grateful to be serving in his sweet spot, and he looks forward to assisting churches and staff discover and thrive in theirs as well.
Darrell Whipple
Sr. Search Consultant

Learn About Darrell

Darrell started in Executive Recruiting 17 years ago.  In 2006, when The Shepherd’s Staff was started, he was the first person that was recruited to be part of the team with the two company founders.   

 

Darrell has worked with churches coast to coast in finding the right staff that “fit” their team.   He has been part of searches for churches as diverse as Lakewood Church in Houston, TX to First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX.  Darrell is exceptional at making new relationships with candidates and coaching them through the process of “finding God’s will”.  Because Darrell has been an ordained pastor for over 30 years, he is passionate about working with client churches.  

 

Darrell is currently the Executive Pastor at a large multi-site church in Atlanta, GA.  He oversees 2 large campuses and 110 employees.   He is still on staff with The Shepherd’s Staff doing consulting.  

 

Darrell has been married to Dr. Shelly Whipple for 30 years.  They have 6 kids.  The oldest are their birth kids: Mikhalya (25) and McKenna (23).  They also have 4 foster kids they hope to adopt, a boy and girl set of twins that are 3 years old and their two brothers that are twins that are 20 months old.

Byron Burns
Search Consultant

Learn About Byron

Byron has been in church ministry for over 20 years and brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience to our team. He received his B.A. in Music and Worship Arts from Hope University in Fullerton, CA. Byron then spent some time traveling as a Christian artist and performed with numerous musicians, worship leaders, and groups, such as Paul Baloche, Tommy Walker, Larnelle Harris, Maranatha Music, Promise Keepers, and Gospel Music workshops.

In time, Byron’s love for worship leading and church ministry drew him into full-time pastoral leadership. He has served in numerous churches of differing denominations, sizes, and cultures and has been instrumental in helping churches across the county grow and expand their ministries. He has also coached and mentored many leaders within the sphere of worship, tech and creative arts. This experience has uniquely positioned him with the ability to understand the needs of the local church as well as assist candidates in finding an exceptional ministry fit.

Byron has been married to his beautiful wife Brenda for 21 wonderful years and has two beautifully talented daughters, Anya and Alexis. They currently attend and serve their local church in Akron, Oh.

Ryan Cook
Search Consultant

Learn About Ryan

Ryan has been a part of church life for over 30 years. Whether it was attending as a child with his family, serving and participating as a teenager, volunteering as a student and young adult, or serving full-time on a church staff for 16 years. He brings a wealth and variety of experience to the Shepherd’s Staff team. Growing up in Houston, TX, Ryan also spent time in Oklahoma and Colorado, being a part of a wide range of churches.

 

In Texas, Ryan has spent the last 13 years serving on 2 large church staffs as a Student Pastor. Most recently, he has invested 3 years as a Campus Pastor launching a multi-site location. As a youth pastor, his experience includes multiple churches with extremely large student ministries.

 

Ryan’s experience in hiring and leading teams, as well as his passion for the local church, add significant value to his role with Shepherd’s Staff. His heart is to partner with churches across the country to discover the best possible candidates for their teams and communities.

 

Ryan and his wife, Ashlie, have 3 amazing children all under the age of 10. Life is busy, but this new season of ministry has been great!
Sarah Hermanson
Search Consultant

Learn About Sarah

Sarah has 24 years of experience as an executive recruiter and The Shepherd’s Staff is excited to add her expertise to the team.  Sarah has worked with many industries to help them find individuals whom are not just qualified but mostly importantly individuals who will culturally thrive.  She has a strong faith foundation and seeks to build genuine relationships, provide insight and coaching to help churches and individuals follow the Lord’s leading.

 

Sarah and The Shepherd’s Staff met in 2018 when she was an integral part of the search committee for a Lead Pastor search at her home church. Sarah’s recruiting experience and her commitment to the integrity of the search enabled her to fill an important liaison role between The Shepherd’s Staff and her church. As this search successfully came to a close, The Shepherd’s Staff began to consider the idea of Sarah joining the team at some point in the future. Through prayer, discernment, and conversation, the timing became clear in June of 2020.

 

Sarah is active in her church participating in prayer groups, women’s ministry, worship team and community outreach initiatives.  Sarah is married to Scott and they have 5 kids – Riley (24), Reese (18), Max (18), Zach (16) and Makala (15). They are active in their family’s pumpkin farm, enjoy fishing and being outdoors and traveling to new destinations.

Jeffrey Jensen
Search Consultant

Learn about Jeffrey

Jeffrey joins The Shepherd’s Staff with over 16 years of church ministry experience. While attaining his undergraduate degree, Jeffrey attended a different church every weekend, ministering to their congregants and staff and communing with them on a personal level. Jeffrey has held the role of “Director of Music and Worship” at numerous churches and various denominations. He understands the differing theology and doctrine pertaining to each individual denomination, but also speaks “church” as a whole and clearly understands the idiosyncrasies each church can bring to the table.
Jeffrey is currently the Director of Music and Worship at Alleluia Lutheran Church in Naperville, Illinois. He also holds the role of the Assistant Conductor for the Elgin Master Chorale. Jeffrey is working towards his Doctorate in Worship Studies from the Robert E. Webber Institute. He is a diehard Alabama Crimson Tide football fan, his favorite food is hotdogs, and his current playlist consists of Johnnyswim, Matt Boswell, The Brilliance, and Jacob Collier.
Buck Webb
Search Consultant

Learn About Buck

Buck has more than 25 years of hands-on ministry experience serving churches in Washington, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, West Virginia, Texas, and Iowa. They have ranged in size from fifty to several thousand. His primary responsibilities and roles have been in Next Gen Ministry serving students, children, and parents but has been a part of multiple executive teams. He has a passion for small groups and helping churches determine and develop systems and structures.
Buck’s broad experiences allow him to understand a variety of contexts and settings that are unique to each church. Having lead and hired staffed in growing churches, he brings years of expertise in helping churches and candidates find the right fit.
Buck and his wife Beth have four amazing kids and are in the process of adopting two more. They currently reside in the Des Monies area and love to watch college football (Go Hogs!).
Derek Alonzi
Search Associate

Learn About Derek

Derek has been in ministry for nearly 11 years serving in the realm of Student ministry, small groups, guest services and multi-site campus leadership at one of the largest and fastest growing churches in America. He has a BBA in finance to accompany a Bible degree and has worked in both the corporate and church world.

Derek is passionate about building strong and healthy teams through discovering great candidates and working to assimilate and bring out the best in each team member. Healthy church teams go further, faster, together and more people come to know Jesus and follow God.

Derek, his wife and kids are rooted in Michigan though travel often throughout the country visiting National Parks.

Joe Camp
Search Associate

Learn About Joe

Joe has more than 10 years of hands-on ministry experience serving churches in Ohio and Iowa. They have ranged in size from one hundred to a couple thousand. His primary responsibilities and roles have been in Student Ministry serving students, Campus Pastor, and currently Teaching Pastor at theStone Church in Manchester, Iowa. He has a passion to see everyone empowered and equipped for the work of the Gospel.
Joe’s leadership experiences and education allow him to understand a variety of contexts that are unique to the organizational needs of the church. Having lead and hired staffing in growing churches, he brings years of experience in helping churches and candidates understand the importance of healthy church culture.
Joe and his wife Michelle have two amazing kids. They currently reside in the Manchester area and love to watch college football, especially THE Ohio State University.
Mike Davis
Search Associate

Learn About Mike

Mike has over 30 years of ministry experience and loves seeing the Lord use people in special ways. Twenty plus years of his experience was in student ministry in Texas and Alabama. He also pastored a church for ten years in the Houston area.

For the past several years Mike and his wife Michelle have owned a business and serve in teaching and leading capacity in their local church. Through their involvement in the church’s small group ministry they became great friends with Brian and Jill Coday. Mike and Brian had many conversations about The Shepherd Staff and Brian’s role in it’s growth. Eventually, they realized it would be a great fit for Mike as well and he joined the team.

Mike loves to work with wood and ride his motorcycle. Sports are also a passion for him and since his running days have taken a toll on his knees, golf is a great fit now. He loves the outdoors and traveling with his sweetheart. Together he and Michelle have a passion to love people well through business and life.

Justin Landis
Search Associate

Learn About Justin

Justin has over 15 years experience serving on different ministry teams in various church positions. He has served in both lay and vocational leadership. Justin has experienced many different levels of ministry leadership from church maintenance, to co-leading a church as the primary teaching pastor. Over the past 10 years Justin’s focus in ministry has been Worship and Youth Ministries.

Justin is a musician, an author, and has led a group of adults and students through an 18 month film development process. This process culminated in a Dove approved, nationally distributed full length feature film titled “Two Steps from Hope.” Of which, Justin acted as the Producer, Screenplay Writer, and Editor. Currently, Justin is mentoring other pastors in the area, and assisting area churches in Worship Ministry and Pulpit fill.

Justin’s many experiences give him the ability to relate to different aspects of the ministry, as well as interpret and understand multiple viewpoints of church leadership. He uses his experiences to help create stories that encapsulate the ideas of others and communicate them to the public in creative and passionate ways. Justin enjoys the company of others, and has a heart to use his gifts to create environments where Ministry leaders can thrive.

Justin and his bride, Brittney have three children, and enjoy spending time together doing outdoor activities. Justin and his family currently live in the small town of Berne, Indiana, and enjoy the simplicity of small town living.

Charlie McDonough
Search Associate

Learn About Charlie

Charlie has served in NextGen ministry roles in churches in Louisiana, Florida, and North Carolina.  Charlie has led large student ministries for most of his ministry, hiring and managing staff teams and leading change. He has developed a passion for systems and processes that help the church get from where they are to where they need to be. Charlie has helped lead multiple churches through transitional periods in their history.

This varied experience in churches, large and small, gives Charlie a unique perspective to help place the right people in the right position to maximize their effectiveness for organizational health.

Charlie and his wife, Stacy, currently live in wake Forest, North Carolina, where they love to spend time outdoors and exploring the local parks and lakes.

Bo Patterson
Search Associate

Learn About Bo

Bo has over 15 years of church experience working at three of the largest churches in America. After graduating from Baylor University with a Bachelors in Management and Marketing, he began work at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX.

Prestonwood is Bo’s “home” church and he grew up there for 30 years. He led the Young Singles and College Ministry for 6 years before moving into other age-graded ministries. Bo also helped develop Prestonwood’s curriculum, oversaw their membership process, and helped oversee church-wide projects.

Bo continued exploring how the church could reach more people while also seeing each person deepen their love for Christ. He became the Connect Pastor at Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview, TX and oversaw children, student, and adult ministries of over 2,300 people. During this time, he saw the great need for qualified and excited staff. As he began to oversee more staff he realized how much better ministry was when the right person was in the right spot.

Bo and his family felt the desire to move back to the metroplex and recently they have become a part of the Lakepointe family in Rockwall, Texas. He is the Next Step Pastor and oversees spiritual decisions, baptisms, host teams, and the Next Step membership class. His passion to see the right people in the right spot has grown and so Bo joined the Shepherd Staff team in the Fall of 2020.

Bo and his wife, Carrie, have 2 wonderful children, Zane and Lily. As a family they love playing or watching games, enjoy trying out food all over the metroplex, and having fun to the extreme.
Josh Sims
Search Associate

Learn About Josh

Josh began serving in ministry in Fresno, CA in 2008. Since then, he’s led various ministries including worship, children’s, youth, young adults, and a small church plant in Central Pennsylvania. Currently, he serves as the Youth Pastor at Sent Church in Plano, TX.

Josh has 4 years of experience in executive search, with marketplace clients in the industrial automation and engineering space. He’s helped military veterans, college grads, and seasoned professionals continue to move forward in their careers. Josh loves partnering with leaders to provide solutions to some of their biggest talent challenges.

What motivates Josh most in life is his love for Jesus, his amazing wife Stefanie, and his 6 marvelous children. Josh believes that his kids are his greatest legacy.

Jill Coday
Marketing & Research Team Director
Glynn Tafuro
Special Projects