Nothing can either be of greater harm or of greater help than making good choices as to whom you ask to be part of what God is calling you and your team/church/organization to do.
In Acts 1:24 the first disciples were trying to decide who should take Judas’ place.
“And they prayed and said, ‘You Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen.’” (ESV)
They prayed, asking for wisdom and we need to do the same thing, because we can’t predict the future nor look into the hearts of people.
If you are in Christian leadership and it falls to your lot to make decisions to add people to your team/staff--whether they be paid staff or volunteers--here are six things to consider.
How is their relationship with Jesus Christ? Do they personally know him…been born again by the Spirit of God. Do they have their identity in Jesus or in their work? Are they growing from identity in Jesus to intimacy with Jesus? Do you see the signs of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives--born out of a serious consistent walk with the Savior?
It’s interesting to me that when I first joined The Navigators in 1968 and Mars Hill Church in 2005, the first question that was asked of me was did I have a sense of calling. I was asked to share my calling to be a part of both of these organizations. Paul alludes to his calling in two verses:
“Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power.” Ephesians 3:7 (ESV)
“Paul an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead.” Galatians 1:1 (ESV)
Paul wasn’t persuaded or arm-twisted into service by people. God clearly called him.
One of the reasons so many leave their roles and responsibilities in ministry today is because they have not responded out of a sense of calling, but out of a sense of duty, obligation, a great job opportunity, or an attempt to keep people happy. I believe there needs to be a strong sense of calling to step up and step into leadership responsibility.
Scripture is clear that all Christians are called to serve and use their gifts. Due to the extra pressure, expectations and attacks of the enemy on leaders, they especially need to believe they are called. The subject is hardly mentioned today. I believe that it is so important that I devoted an entire chapter to it in “Leaders Who Last.”
In most churches and Christian enterprises, character is under-rated and competence is over-rated. More leaders fall over the character than competence issue. In I Tim. 3, Titus 1 and I Peter 5 most of the qualifications fall in the area of character, which are lived out in the context of relationships. We are, unfortunately, prone to sacrifice character for results. He is so gifted…what about his character? She has such a great personality…what about her character? He has such a great work ethic and gets so much done…what about his character.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his outward appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance (physical appearance/gifting/charisma), but the Lord looks on the heart (inward character)’ ” I Samuel 17:6 (ESV)
The older I get (and the time and experience I have working with leaders and with numerous churches), the more I realize how important team and organization alignment is. Before you bring a person on, ask yourself if they will fit into the current DNA of the team and align with the purpose, vision and values of where you are headed. Are they team players or independent operators? Do they know how to sacrifice their personal agenda and preferences for the good of the whole, or will it be their way or the highway? Do other team members like the idea of working with them…would enjoy having them around?
It’s not that competence is unimportant, but there are others things that are equally as important--if not more important--such as Christ, Calling and Character. But we do, obviously, want people who are capable of doing what they are being asked to do, with excellence. Do they have the gifts, work ethic, experience and attitude to do good work? It says of Jesus in Mark 7:37, “And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.’” Everything that Jesus did He did it with excellence. When he turned the water into wine it was the best wine! Work for the Savior should be the best we are capable of--no room for laziness, sloppiness, or mediocrity.
When someone is added, they need to be added with the future in mind--not just the present. Do they have the capacity and learning mind-set so as to be able to keep up and continue to fit in as the church/organization grows? Are they adaptable, flexible and able to change when it is called for, or will significant growth outstrip them.
+ It’s not easy to get a handle on all six of these. That’s why we need to:
- Trust the Lord and look to him as we make selections (James 1:5)
- Ask lots of good questions
- Take our time and not be in a hurry or in crises mode when deciding
- Have multiple interviews with different team members
- Hire from within as much as possible so we know who we’re getting