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About Us

The Story of The Shepherd's Staff

The Shepherd’s Staff was formed in 2007 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. Soon after the firm was launched, Darrell Whipple agreed to join the team, and The Shepherd’s Staff was off and running. Each team member had been in corporate work, staffing and in church leadership in some capacity, bringing over 15 years experience to helping churches hire.

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 2014, The Shepherd’s Staff formed a strategic alliance with Succession Framework, led by Will Heath, a leading expert in succession planning. This enables The Shepherd’s Staff to ask much larger questions that typically concern a search firm, and it allows Succession Framework to utilize Executive Search to help its clients to complete the process.

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. Greg and Marla are members of The Village Church in Flower Mound, TX.

Brian Coday
Sr. Search Consultant

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 currently is a mentor/coach with LEAD222 and is the coordinator for the Houston Area Gatherings for this group.

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

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Darrell Whipple

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Glynn Tafuro

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Crystal Tafuro
Project Manager

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Shelly Whipple
Research Manager

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Jill Coday
Marketing Director

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