“If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously …” Rom. 12:8 (NLT)
“If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good!” 1 Tim. 3:1 (Msg)
“Don’t appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily. If a person is involved in some serious sins, you don’t want to become an unwitting accomplice. In any event, keep a close check on yourself.” 1 Tim. 5:22 (Msg)
What are the clear criteria you should use to select your “dream team”? What kind of person is needed to fill each particular position on the team? We need to look for certain characteristics and qualities in order of their importance.
You need to have confidence in a person’s walk with Jesus Christ. You need to know that they are committed to spiritual disciplines. You need to see evidence of honesty, teachability, humility, reliability and a healthy work ethic. You have got to do your due diligence to be sure the person you’re about to invite onto the team has a proven track record of being a truth-teller, a covenant-keeper, a person who seeks to be conformed to the image of Christ, someone who manages relationships well, and one who credits the efforts of others when a victory is won.
In spiritual leadership an occasional lapse in competence can be accepted. But lapses in character create problems with far-reaching implications. A breakdown in character tends to breed distrust and alienate team members. It also de-motivates us when it comes to investing time and emotional energy into that particular team member. If we don’t deal with the wayward team member wisely, we may lose the respect of other team members.
Character – people who have a track record of good strong moral & ethical behavior and people who value serving others with a bias toward growing themselves and others.
“The gift that is on you will destroy you if what is in you can’t sustain you.” (Christine Caine)
Let’s just not develop the gift on our life but let’s make sure that we’re paying a lot of attention to the character that is going to sustain us over the long haul because ultimately that is going to take us much further than our anointing or talent. We need to build our inner world, not just our gifts and talents on the outside.
Character protects us. Those who lack strong character rarely stay in the limelight for long. They are tempted to take shortcuts, and their character faults topple them. But with good character, we can protect ourselves by avoiding common weaknesses.
The Components of Character
1. Self-Discipline: The ability to do what is right, even when you don’t feel like it. Without it, your undeveloped gifts will languish as you pursue fleeting pleasures.
2. Core Values: Our core values are the principles we live by every day. They define what we believe and how we live.
3. A Sense of Identity: Everyone must answer the question, “Who am I?” The answer often provides the motivation for self-discipline.
4. Integrity: An alignment of your values, thoughts, feelings and actions. This kind of consistency will make your leadership, and your vision, more compelling.
Character Communicates …
Consistency – We can say anything we like, but our actions determine the message others receive.
Choices – Character is the sum total of all our everyday choices.
Influence – Today many people try to demand respect, but respect (and influence) must be earned over time, and they are developed by character.
Longevity – If you want to know how long it takes to get to the top, consult a calendar. If you want to know how long it takes to fall to the bottom, consult a stopwatch. Character determines whether you rise or fall, and provides the opportunity for longevity.
“Talent is a gift, but character is a choice.” (John Maxwell)
To Develop Character …
Don’t give up or give in to adversity. It takes character to weather life’s storms; at the same time, adversity develops character.
Do the right thing. It’s not easy to do the right thing when doing the wrong thing is convenient.
Take control of your life. People with weak character blame their circumstances. Circumstances are beyond your control, but your character is not. Your character is always your choice.
Commitments of a Christ-Centered Leader …
I will live what I teach.
I will do what I say.
I will be honest with others.
I will put what is best for others ahead of what is best for me.
I will be transparent and vulnerable.
Lapses in character create problems with far-reaching implications. A break down in character tends to breed distrust and alienate team members. Look for character that has already been positively formed. Check references. Speak at length with people who know the person well.
Look for any red flags of character. If an existing team member begins to display lapses in character, act as soon as you become aware of the problem. Ask the person to face it, confess it, repent, and make changes with God’s help. If their patterns and choices continue, ask the person to leave the team.
Ask God to help you find someone whose spiritual gifts have been developed and refined over many years (teaching, administration, mercy, leadership, etc.). Don’t apologize for shooting high. Choose the best qualified person for the position (assuming all spiritual, character, and chemistry issues are in line).
Competency – technical and experiential competence in what you need them to do (outgrow role)
Persistence is often the key here. If someone tells you no, don’t let it deter you. Keep the conversation alive by seeking to truly understand the other person’s perceived obstacles and then, depending on how badly you need them on board, do everything in your power to help overcome them. Unless God gives you a clear signal to stop, keep extending the invitation.
“It is priceless to find a person who will take responsibility, who will finish and follow through to the final detail – to know when someone has accepted an assignment that it will be effectively, conscientiously completed.” (Richard Evans)
“If you find someone whose qualifications look good, but he or she is unhappy or unemployed, be very cautious. The kind of people you are looking for are probably making huge contributions and setting records somewhere. They are probably deliriously happy and much loved by the people they work with. Go after that type. Go after proven competence.” (Peter Drucker)
The Intangibles of Competency …
Positiveness: the ability to work with and see people and situations in a positive way.
Servanthood: the willingness to submit, play team ball, and follow the leader.
Growth potential: a hunger for personal growth and development; the ability to keep growing as the job expands.
Follow-through: the determination to get the job done completely and with consistency.
Loyalty: the willingness to always put the leader and the organization above personal desires.
Resiliency: the ability to bounce back when problems arise.
Integrity: trustworthiness and solid character; consistent words and walk.
Big picture mind-set: the ability to see the whole organization and all of its needs.
Discipline: the willingness to do what is required regardless of personal mood.
Gratitude: an attitude of thankfulness that becomes a way of life.
COMMITMENT TO PERSONAL GROWTH
1.Do I have a game plan for personal growth? 2.Am I the leader of that plan? 3.Am I willing to change to keep growing, even if it means giving up my current position if I am not experiencing growth? 4.Is my life an example for others to follow? 5.Am I willing to pay the price to become a great leader?
You’re looking for someone who has a relational fit with you as well as with other team members. So if two job candidates have equal character and competence, give the nod to the person whose personality and temperament blends with the other team members and with you.
Chemistry – the chemistry to work well and fit in with the rest of the team
“Never invite a person onto the team who does not have an immediate positive emotional effect on you.” (Ken Blanchard)
Don’t ever overlook your own people when building a team. Hire from within whenever possible. You’re looking for people who share your vision and values.
Ask yourself, What kind of person flourishes on our unique team? What kind of person feels at home on our team, and what kind of person is never going to catch stride?
Culture – the ability to fit well within the organization; an understanding of the mission and core values and an embracing of those things to the point of living them out in all environments
To define your culture, slow down and ask yourself some questions:
a.What do we value here on our staff team? b.How do we work? c.What’s our style? d.What matters to us and what doesn’t in the work environment?
Put those things in writing so you’re clear about your culture and so when you’re thinking of hiring someone you can consider if the person will fit in your unique culture, or if the person might be better off in another environment. A fundamental of leadership is to attract, develop and retain fantastic people who will flourish in your unique culture.
A challenging exercise for you as a leader would be to ask yourself how you would react if each person on your team resigned … a blessing, groan or vomit? If you find that you’ve got some “irreplaceable” people, sit down and have this conversation …
“You’re such a fantastic person. You have great character, wonderful competence, good relationships with the team, and you fit our culture, and I’m hoping and praying that you’ll never leave. If God calls you elsewhere, I’ll throw you a party and cheer you on, but I’m hoping you’re going to be part of the core of what God’s going to do around RCC for a long time. I want to make a disproportionate investment in your talents. I want to develop you to your fullest potential. Tell me if there’s ever anything that frustrates or demotivates you, because I’d like to fix it.”
Illustration: Moving from MO to PA
What about letting the Lord lead in these matters? What if the Lord wants to build His team with under-qualified, unlikely, servants – with the divine plan to “qualify the called” who have responded with faithful obedience to God’s call on their lives.
What about Jesus? Is this what He did? He took the dropouts and rejects and made them the first generation of an organization that would shape the remainder of history, His Church. What do you think?
Am I the kind of leader who has character, competency, chemistry and culture? What would those who serve alongside me say?
Two additional criteria that are helpful for selecting those to be on your leadership team (s) are as follows ... CALLING
Calling – what they do isn't just a job, it's a lifestyle.
They're "all-in." They embrace an "owner" mentality rather than a "manager" mindset. When God calls us we live with the reality that "This is something I can’t not do, for reasons I am unable to explain to anyone else and don’t fully understand myself but that are nonetheless compelling."
Capacity – the ability to grow, adapt, develop and improve.
They are teachable, curious and have committed themselves to being life-long learners.