“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?
Three 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.
The idea of calling can be difficult to fully grasp. I believe that every follower of Jesus has a calling on their lives from God to fulfill their unique purpose. There are universal "calls" (for instance, to be holy or to share with the world the Good News of Christ) and there are specific callings that some leaders have to focused roles in furthering the movement of Jesus in His church. I have found the content below, written by Ruth Haley Barton in her book, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry to be insightful when considering the Spirituality of Calling ...
Our calling is inextricably interwoven with our human situation and our personal history. When God calls, it is a very big deal. It is holy ground. It produces within us such reverence and awe that it is hard to know what to do with ourselves. Finally the whole of our life begins to make sense, and new awareness of the divine orchestration that has brought us to this moment makes us want to "take off our shoes" or fall on our face or maybe even argue with God about the improbability of it all (see Exodus 3 for the story of Moses' calling). But no matter how much we may want to resist, the landscape of our life has opened up. Every single thing that didn’t make sense when it happened, that seemed too harsh or too random or too shameful, now finds its place in the storyline that brought us here. We “see” with new eyes that God’s call on our life is so tightly woven into the fabric of our being, so core to who we are, that to ignore it or to refuse it would be to jeopardize our well-being. If we were to try to compromise or to live it only halfway, we’d run the risk of plunging into emptiness and meaninglessness.
Our calling begins with who we are--really. Not who we think we are, not who we would like to be, not who others believe us to be. God’s call includes (yet is not limited to) the particularities of our life, our heritage, our personality, our foibles, our passions and even our currentlifesituation. Being called by God is one of the most essentially spiritual experiences of human existence, because it is a place where God’s presence intersects with a human life. Our calling emerges from who we really are—in all the rawness and sinfulness of it as well as in all the glory and God-givenness of it.
Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about-- quite apart from what I would like it to be about-- or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions. PARKER PALMER, LET YOUR LIFE SPEAK
There is no escaping who we are. Leadership will not help us escape ourselves—it will only bring who we are into clearer focus! Leadership calls us to deepen our willingness to become more than what we are right now so that we can say yes to that which is ours to do. “Vocation at its deepest level is, ‘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.’ ” Before calling has anything to do with doing, it has everything to do with being that essence of yourself that God knew before the foundations of the earth, that God called into being and that God alone truly knows. It is the call to be who we are and at the same time to become more than we can yet envision.
Calling is first and foremost the calling to be yourself, that self that God created you to be. Our calling is woven into the very fabric of our being as we have been created by God, and it encompasses everything that makes us who we are: our genetics, capacities, our personality, heredity and life-shaping experiences, and the time and place into which we were born. Vocation does not come from a voice ‘out there’ calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice ‘in here’ calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given to me at birth by God.
It is not unusual for us to feel a kind of resistance or ambivalence in the face of God’s call even as our heart is leaping with the awareness that God is at work in our life. Any kind of authentic calling usually takes us to a place where we have seriousobjections of some sort, places where we feel inadequate—where we confront our own willfulness and our preconceived ideas about how we thought our life would go, where we think what God is asking us to do is downright impossible or where we just don’t want to take the risk. But one of the ways we recognize calling is that it has come about in ways that could not be humanly orchestrated and so it cannot be easily dismissed. Vocational calling involves more riskiness and uncertainty. While you won’t be given ‘more than you can bear,’ you will be led by ‘a way you do not know’ to be a channel for grace in ways you cannot adequately predict.
Leadership, even at its best, is terribly demanding, and it is crucial that we argue out our ambivalence about our calling to leadership openly with God so that it doesn’t leak out and create uncertainty in those we are serving.
Calls are essentially questions. They aren’t questions you necessarily need to answer outright; they are questions to which you need to respond, expose yourself, and kneel before. You don’t want an answer you can put in a box and set on a shelf. You want a question that will become a chariot to carry you across the breadth of your life. GREGG LEVOY, CALLINGS
Some great questions to reflect and pray through that Ruth recommends are as follows ... What is God saying to me these days about my calling? As I settle into myself more fully, what am I learning about my calling? Is there any place where I am resisting who I am or have lost touch with who I am? Where am I still wrestling with God and needing assurance of His presence with me? Am I willing to say yes again?
In essence, when I'm trying to ascertain a person's calling I'm looking at whether or not 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. These are the kinds of team members I'm praying for and looking to have on my team.
To explore further the matter of calling I invite you to listen to the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast episode where Craig interviews Paula Farris on the subject of "Calling vs. Career." Download the leader guide here.
Capacity – the ability to grow, adapt, develop and improve.
They are teachable, curious and have committed themselves to being life-long learners. When considering a person's potential, use these seven areas to evaluate their ability to grow and improve ...
1. Energy Capacity—their ability to push on physically
2. Emotional Capacity—their ability to manage emotions
3. Thinking Capacity—their ability to think effectively
4. People Capacity—their ability to build relationships
5. Creative Capacity—their ability to see options and find answers
6. Production Capacity—their ability to accomplish results
7. Leadership Capacity—their ability to lift and lead others
Circumstances – the way they are transitioning from their previous role.
It's important to do your homework to discover the "why" behind their interest in becoming a part of your team. What happened that they are looking? Keep in mind that this certainly doesn't have to be a negative thing. It could be the need for new challenges, growth opportunities, new scenery, additional income and provision, to be closer to family, etc. But if they have underperfomed or have been released from their job due to some kind of character flaw or inappropriate behavior it's paramount that you unearth these issues in the process of doing your due diligence. If those they have worked for or alongside can't give them a glowing review that they have transitioned with integrity, honor and a good reputation, be careful and use extreme caution. Remember that there are always two sides to every story, but when one party struggles to speak well of a person or a situation - take notice!