Push that Bus!

This article was originally posted on Transforming Leader the winter of 2010. Enjoy!


Have you ever tried to push a stalled car down a road by yourself? I have. Many years ago (when I was young and stupid) my car ran out of gas right in the middle of the road. I was also only a block away from the gas station. I jumped out and attempted to push the car to the gas station. My nemesis turned out to be a red light. After excruciating effort (and several cars waiting for me) I finally got enough momentum to get across the road and to the gas station. Ugh. Besides being embarrassing, it was very hard; but I made it.

Rewind about 4 years prior to that when I was in college. I was part of the Roberts Wesleyan College Chorale and we were in downtown New York City on a Greyhound bus. The women were dressed in black dresses and the men were wearing tuxedo’s. We were late for our next concert. The BUS died in the middle of the road, at a red light! (Did you catch we were in a bus?) All the men (and a few of the ladies) got out of the bus and pushed it down the road. Eventually, the bus driver was able to pop the clutch and get it started again. I wish I had a picture!  It was awesome, fun, and memorable . . . but most importantly, it wasn’t that hard.

That’s the difference a team makes.

My point. Strategic planning is NOT a solo activity. As the leader of your ministry you were not meant to plan and strategize about the future alone. It is critical that other leaders and trusted members in your church or ministry be part of the process.

Here are a few very good reasons why you need a team of people while you plan for the future ministry and life of your church:

  • Your team will sharpen the results of strategic plans.
    You can spend hours in prayer, in the Word and in planning alone and still miss out on all of God’s purposes for your ministry’s future. God is into teams. Jesus recruited a team of disciples. Moses was commanded to pick a team of others to carry the future of the nation with him. Paul worked with a team of other disciples and leaders as he served in ministry on earth. You can only accomplish so much creatively by yourself. Your ideas are finite. Your experience is limited. Your knowledge isn’t enough. When you have a team of people dreaming together about the future, the resulting vision will be sharper, clearer, and bigger than anything you could have dreamed up alone.
  • Your team will add perspective to strategic plans.
    Have you ever had an idea in the middle of the night and thought “That’s a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that before?” and then wake up in the morning, remember the conversation you had with yourself (and the idea) and think, “I must have been brain-dead, that is totally unrealistic and inappropriate!
    Your team provides that kind of perspective when you get tunnel vision. They will allow good ideas to germinate and grow and will help to kill unrealistic, narrow, or faithless ideas before they get started.
  • Your team will provide confirmation for strategic plans.
    A couple of years ago I wrote the script for my church’s Christmas production. When I finished writing the script I immediately brought it before our creative team for input. After a few minor changes, they were able to give me a thumbs up – expressing that they believed in the script and liked it. That confirmation from trusted leaders and friends gave me the confidence to run with our Christmas Eve production without worry that it would be a dismal failure. I promoted the event like it would be one of the best productions ever – which it was in my not so humble opinion. 
  • Your team will save you time and energy.
    Hours and hours of time and energy are saved when a team of people brainstorm and strategize together. Sometimes I would stand in awe of what we accomplished as a team, and how quickly and easily we did it.
  • Your team will become key stakeholders in implementing change.
    This is perhaps one of the greatest benefits of a team. When people have a chance to walk through the strategic process with you, they will also become stakeholders in it’s success. You won’t have to cast the vision to these people, trying to convince them of why it’s so important to the ministry. Buy-in will happen automatically as they dream, strategize and troubleshoot problems with you.
  • Your team will provide momentum for change.
    Not only will this team have buy-in, they will often end up being the champions for it’s success. They will talk the vision up with their spouses, family, friends, and the rest of the church for you. They will convince others what a great idea you have. And they will find ways to get involved in it’s success. 
Perhaps some area in your ministry has stalled out. There’s a car, bus, van, maybe even a train that needs to get rolling. God has shown you that change needs to happen, and it needs to happen soon.

So the real question is, are you going to push that problem down the road alone or are you going to have others who will push with you? Better spend time and energy right now getting the right people to push that bus than to kill yourself trying to get it rolling on your own.

photo credit: lairdscott via photopin cc

Thursday Quote: Who – The A Method for Hiring

This is a guest post by Pastor Doug Cowburn II. Pastor Doug serves as the Executive Pastor at Elim Gospel Church in Lima, NY. Recently, while sharing lunch together, Doug told me about this book and readily agreed to writing this Thursday Quote about it for your benefit. Enjoy.


Recently, two different people I know recommended that I read, Who: The A Method to Hiring. I found that this book was not only a great resource for when you need to hire someone, but also a great way to look at writing your own job description. If you’re like me, you want to know when you are being successful at your job. The problem is that many who are in ministry are either working without a job description or the one they have is all activity based. Activity based job descriptions say things like:
  • Connects with volunteers
  • Teaches on a regular basis
  • Leads the deacon team

Someone could follow an activity based job description for years and never actually move the needle on the church’s mission. I want to be an “A Player” who delivers his best and contributes toward the church’s vision and mission. In order to do this I need a job description, or as this book suggests, I need a scorecard that gives me some targets to hit.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“We define an ‘A Player’ this way: a candidate who has at least a 90 percent chance of achieving a set of outcomes that only the top 10 percent of possible candidates could achieve.”

“The scorecard is composed of three parts: the job’s mission, outcomes and competencies. Together, these three pieces describe ‘A’ performance in the role—what a person must accomplish and how. They provide a clear linkage between the people you hire and your strategy.”

“While typical job descriptions break down because they focus on activities, or a list of things a person will be doing (calling on customers, selling), scorecards succeed because they focus on outcomes, or what a person must get done (grow revenue from $25 million to $50 million by the end of year three). Do you see the distinction?”

“Scorecards: • Set expectations with new hires • Monitor employee progress over time • Objectify your annual review system • Allow you to rate your team annually as part of a talent review process.”

As you can see, this book was written primarily for the business world, but it has huge implications for ministry related job descriptions as well.  What would your scorecard look like?

Thursday Quote: Enchantment – Enchanting Volunteers

I recently heard about a gentleman who left his church (after many years) because he had nothing important to do there. While he was telling his story, he included the fact that the church he was currently involved in almost immediately got him involved in ministry and he is active, excited, and doing a lot more than he ever imagined he would. He’s also considering full time ministry as a result.

It can be very difficult to recruit church-goers into ministry roles. Some shy away from it altogether; and many who do recruit people for ministry often do so apologetically. In today’s Thursday Quote I’d like to share an awesome excerpt from the book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions by Guy Kawasaki. Although the author makes no claims to Christianity, I’ve found many of the ideas and principles in this book apply directly to Christian Leadership.

How to Enchant Volunteers
Volunteers help organizations all over the world, and they are essential for the welfare and success of educational, environmental, social, religious, and other philanthropic causes. While the techniques already discussed in this chapter also pertain to volunteers, these folks deserve their own rules for enchantment: 
  • Set ambitious goals. Volunteers want to know that what they are doing is important and that they are making a difference. Your obligation is to set challenging goals and not waste their time. If there’s anything worse than overusing volunteers, it’s underusing them.
  • Manage them well. When people believe, they want to help, and it’s your responsibility to enable them to help as much as they can This includes planning and organizing how you’ll utilize their activities. You may not be paying them, but their time is still valuable.
  • Enable them to fulfill their needs. Why do people join a nonprofit organization? There are three principal reasons: duty (“I should help my kid’s school”), belonging (“I like doing things with people”), and mastery (“Learning a new skill is more important than money”). Fulfill these needs, and you’re on the way to enchanting your volunteers.
  • Ensure that the paid staff appreciates them. You and your employees must believe in the value of volunteers – if you lack this belief, maybe you should not recruit them. Volunteers often give their heart and soul to an organization, so it’s important that your paid staff appreciates their efforts.
  • Give feedback. People want to know how well they are doing. With volunteers, this is doubly important because you can’t use compensation as a feedback mechanism. So after you set your ambitious goals, provide feedback, and they’ll love you for helping them learn how they are progressing.
  • Provide recognition. Recognition comes in small forms for volunteers: business cards, an e-mail address, a workspace (even if it’s shared), attendance at conferences and public and private expressions of gratitude. See anything that’s expensive on this list? Good, because there isn’t.
  • Invite them in. At least once a year, invite your volunteers into your headquarters. This enables people to meet face-to-face instead of only virtually. Remember the value of proximity to achieving likability? The same concept applies to volunteers.
  • Provide free stuff. “Stuff” means food and drink at working sessions as well as T-shirts and other forms of tchotchkes. Unfortunately, these kinds of goodies are often the first thing an organization cuts when going gets tough, but, dollar for dollar, they are among the most cost-effective forms of compensation that you can offer.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Letting Young Eagles Fly

Hypothetical Question. If you HAD to pick between the following two candidates to serve as the primary leader for all adult ministries in your church (Sunday services, small groups, care, special events, etc.) who would you be most likely to choose: The Young Inexperienced Eagle or The Old Seasoned Eagle?

Your answer to that question may one day (or presently) dictate whether your church survives this decade! Last week I posted a Thursday Quote entitled, “Sticky Teams & Guarding the Gates“. Larry Osborne reminds us that finding and releasing young eagles into meaningful positions of authority and responsibility is critical to our church’s ongoing growth and success.

Unfortunately, most of us who’ve been around for a while would prefer the safety of the known, the experienced, the tried and true. Earlier this month I was talking to a church leader who told me he wanted young people to serve in his church, but that he didn’t think they should be in charge. I reminded him that HE WAS YOUNG when he was given positions of authority. I’ve seen and heard of this happening over and over.

So for today’s post I would like to direct my readers to another blog. I have recently become a fan of the leader of the Catalyst Conferences, Brad Lomenick. Among other things, he firmly believes that young people can and do make a difference.

Following is a link to his massive list of what he calls, Young Influencers. These men and women are doing great things. They are young eagles that are soaring to new and greater heights. They are attempting things that us older folk never considered when we were their age . . . and they are succeeding. For me, I’m going for the Young Eagles. How about you?

Image compliments of Tina Phillips on freedigitalphotos.net

Thursday Quote: Sticking Teams and Young Eagles

“Ironically, most churches are started by young eagles. But soon after getting their nest built, nicely appointed, and fully furnished, they start to marginalize the next batch of young eagles, asking them to sit at the kids’ table and wait for their turn at middle-aged leadership.”

I don’t think Larry Osborne could have presented a major problem in the local church better . . . and it’s becoming a major roadblock in the ongoing growth and development of the church at large. Leaders just have a real hard time releasing young leaders into meaningful and influential leadership. In his book, Sticky Teams, Larry Osborne talks about this difficulty in the chapter entitled, “Making Room at the Top”. Here’s a little more from that chapter.

When a church grows old, gray, and culturally out of touch – far more interested in protecting the past than in creating the future – it starts to wonder, ‘What happened to all the young people that used to hang around here?’ That’s a sure sign that the young eagles have been shut out for a long time.

I’d be a liar if I said that protecting and promoting young eagles is a pain-free venture. It’s far easier in theory than in practice. I don’t like giving up my personal power, prestige, or preferences any more than the next guy does. It’s kind of a drag.

But young eagles are born to fly. It’s their nature. It’s how God made them. If they can’t fly high in our church, they’ll bolt and fly elsewhere. And sadly, if and when they do, they’ll take most of the life, vitality, and the future of the church with them.

So, honestly now, how are you and your church responding to young eagles? Are they written off, tolerated, or celebrated? Are they encourage to fly or asked to clip their wings?

I guarantee you, your answer will determine your church’s future.

When working with leadership teams to determine their ability and openness to fully utilize and keep young eagles, I ask three questions.

  1. Are young eagles empowered and platformed?
  2. Are young eagles in the loop or in the meeting?
  3. Who gets to ride shotgun? 
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday Quote: Unleashing The Power of Rubber Bands

One of the qualities I believe a true leader must possess is courage. I’ll be honest, sometimes I think I’m quite the wimp, but I know I’m growing and I’ve faced enough difficult choices over the years to understand that doing the right thing can be really, really hard. In particular, it takes courage to confront someone who doesn’t fit. 
In this week’s Thursday Quote I thought I’d share a little excerpt from Nancy Ortberg’s book, Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands: Lessons in Non-Linear Leadership. This very easy to read book is a great addition to the leaders library and offers many great reminders and lessons on leadership; but what makes the book real outstanding is some of the great stories and examples in nearly every chapter. I recommend it. Check this out:

There is a big difference between a bad fit and a bad person. Leadership is about having the courage to make that distinction. Too often, we hide behind the belief that someone is a bad person, when the reality is, he or she is simply a bad fit. Many organizations and certainly many churches have allowed people to remain in positions (paid or volunteer) for which they are poorly suited. Everyone suffers when that happens.

The organization suffers. When someone is in the wrong position; vision, strategy, and results usually suffer. The church or the ministry department or the business fails to live up to it’s God-given potential. The organization is crippled in its efforts to be all that it could be. That is not God’s design for a church or an organization.

Individuals suffer. When a person is not well suited to his or her role, the people who work with and for that person inevitably languish in some regard. They either fail to get the support, recognition, or resources they need to do their jobs, or they are neglected in areas of discipleship and growth.

It is one of the fundamental jobs of a leader to make sure that the right people are in the right positions in an organization. Leaders who take action and initiative to make sure this is the case engender trust. Those who don’t, cultivate cynicism and mistrust.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Ten Church Strategies: The Ministry Partner Strategy (Volunteers)


Check out this quote from Bill Hybels from his book, ‘Volunteer Revolution‘:

“It’s as if God has work gloves on. And he calls us to roll up our sleeves and join him with our talents, our money, our time, and our passion. He wants his mission to become ours. ‘If you’re chasing the wind,’ he tells us, ‘you can keep right on doing that. Or you can hook up with me, and together we’ll transform this hurting planet.'”

The Ministry Partner System is the local church’s answer to God’s call for everyone to ‘roll up their sleeves’ and partner with Him. The problem is that individuals often view the local church as an organization meant to serve him or herself instead of seeing themselves as being a vital part of a body of believers. Ephesians 4 clearly defines a key role of the pastor (among others): “…to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…” In this installment of ‘The Ten Church Systems‘ I will outline how the church can identify, equip, and release people to ‘partner’ together in fulfilling your church’s mission. If you haven’t already, I recommend you first read my ‘Getting Started Thoughts and Disclaimers’, written in three parts: Part 1Part 2Part 3.

Key Sub-Systems of The Ministry Partner System (Volunteers)
Following are the key sub-systems needed to develop and sustain this system. Please note that the term “Ministry Partner” and “Volunteer” are interchangeable throughout this article.

  • Ministry Identification System
    It can be very frustrating to potential volunteers when they actually want to serve somewhere in the church, but have no information about what volunteer positions are available and what the commitment is for each one. This system will identify every ministry position in the church as well as clarify each one’s basic job description, ministry expectations and requirements. 
  • Ministry On-Ramp System
    It seems the traditional method for filling volunteer positions in the church is through direct recruitment. Although this method can be very effective if done properly, it can become grossly inadequate, plus it means potential volunteers won’t find a place to serve until they get that phone call or email. The ‘Ministry On-Ramp System’ will develop simple ways for church attendees to get plugged into each person’s best possible position. On ramps may include web based solutions, signup tables, ministry fairs, ministry partner classes, sermon series and more. Depending on your church’s Ministry Partner strategy, it may also include a volunteer apprenticeship program.
  • Ministry Partner Resource System
    As the Systems/People Matrix so aptly illustrates, putting great people into bad systems leads to frustration, resentment, and often a high turnover of some of your best people. This system is a critical part to your church’s health and growth. It will include volunteer training (helping them understand how to do the job as well as allowing them to develop and grow in it), resourcing (making sure they have everything they need to be a success), and encouragement (providing meaningful and regular feedback).
  • Ministry Partner Communication System
    Although communication could really fall within the above mentioned ‘Ministry Partner Resource System’, it deserves it’s own mention since it is so critical to a healthy volunteer system. The fact is, good communication breeds loyalty, trust, and commitment while bad communication develops the exact opposite. This system will ensure your volunteers are on the same page with you regarding schedules, expectations and potential problems.
  • Ministry Partner Celebration System
    It’s OK that we have volunteers who serve ‘behind the scenes’. It’s not OK that they are so incognito that weeks, months, even years go by without a ‘thanks’, ‘we are so proud to have you on this team’ and ‘your contribution makes a difference’! This system will ensure everyone is honored and cared for during their tenure as volunteers (instead of just at the end of their tenure!) This system may include simple ‘thank you cards‘, emails, phone calls, and perhaps even an event like a ‘Volunteer Appreciation Banquet’. It is recommended that the celebration system also utilizes the occasional gift certificate and acknowledges milestones (5, 10, 15+ years of service).

Note: Inspiration for the Ten Church Systems comes from Nelson Searcy and the Eight Systems of the Local Church he proposed in his free e-book entitled, ‘Healthy Systems, Healthy Church‘.

Photo from mangostock on istockphoto.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday Quote: Good to Great Volunteers (Jim Collins)

Have you ever felt like someone in leadership was just in the wrong place? Perhaps they seemed like they should be accomplishing much more than they are; or maybe you feel like they have more responsibility than they can practically handle. Welcome to the club. One of the greatest challenges we face as leaders is in getting the right people on the right seats on the bus.

Today’s Thursday Quote comes from Jim Collins’ bestselling book, “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t“. Check out this chart found on page 20 in the book (which my book falls naturally open to from repeated references.)


Ironically, I would like to make a couple of practical inferences from this chart that are not really found in the book. Jim’s primary focus in this section of the book was related to the character and qualities of the leader(s) in the organization – specifically, the Level 5 Leader at the top (Two men I highly regard as emulating the Level 5 Qualities include Bill Hybels and Robert Morris. Click their names here to read more.)

That said, let me unpack this for you two insights I’ve gained from this very meaningful chart.

  • First, nearly every committed member/participant in your church should fall in one of these various levels of contribution. I think it will be very helpful if you can discern which level your leaders and volunteers fall on this scale. For many of my leaders I can determine that they are on a level 2 or 3, and help motivate and resource them to grow into the next level of leadership.


  • However, what I have also discovered is that many people have a natural “lid” in the level of contribution that they can attain – and I need to be sensitive to that lid. My natural inclination is to try to move someone who is accomplishing great things for our church to the next level of leadership. However, it’s possible that, by doing so, I am setting that person up for failure, because my expectations don’t match their gifting and strengths. For instance, I had a secretary at our church who was a Highly Capable Individual – she was a serious work horse and accomplished a ton of stuff in small amounts of time. It’s possible that she could have moved to the next level, but that may not have been the best thing for her or for the church. So I needed to discern where she best fit, help her get there, and then find ways to encourage, resource, and strengthen her in that role.


To learn more about this book or order it through my Amazon Affiliate’s bookstore, click this link.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Strategic Personality

This month I’ve been talking about the importance of getting the right people on the right seats in your bus:

  • In ‘The Chicken or the Egg‘ I asked the question, “Which should come first, your strategic team or your vision?”
  • In ‘The Seats of the Bus‘ I explored who should sit where on the bus.
  • In ‘What’s the Big Deal About a Wrong Seat?‘ I showed you what it might look like having the wrong person in the wrong seat – especially on your Strategic Team.
  • Finally, in ‘The Four C’s‘ I gave you permission to evaluate your team selection through the lens of four specific criteria.
I want to zero in on one of those “Four C’s” a little more today; specifically in the area of Competency. Let me ask you a question. How do you know if a person has the right personality to serve on a Strategic Team? You may not think it’s a very important question. I can assure you that it is. I’ve learned through the school of ‘hard knocks’ that certain personalities generally just don’t fit on a Strategic Team. He may have great character, awesome chemistry with you and your church, and feel called to serve in leadership. He may even be one of your leaders or elders.
If you were looking for someone to manage the finances in your organization, I think it’s safe to say that an area of competence for that role would include someone with an analytical personality. If you decided to recruit someone to teach a class you would hope the individual was good with people – another personality trait. In the same way, people who serve on the Strategic Team should lean in a particular direction regarding their personality. This is an area of competence which is very easy for us to overlook.
I’ve already shown you what it might look like if you have the wrong person in the back of the bus right here. Now I’ll show you what personality best fits in those seats. Check out this chart.


The upper right quadrant will tend to be your leaders and visionaries.
The upper left quadrant will often be your thinkers and analytically inclined.
The lower right quadrant will likely be your communicators and your fun people.
The lower left quadrant will usually be your faithful and loyal workers who just want to use their gifts to serve.
The closer to the outer edge, the stronger their personality in that quadrant. The closer to the center the more ‘well-rounded’ they tend to be in all of those quadrants. I recommend you try out the online personality profile at www.leadingfromyourstrengths.com/purchase-lfys-profiles.php. You’ll have to pay a $25 fee to take the test, but in the end you will have a 25+ page summary of your strengths & weaknesses. On the very last page you will find a chart similar to the one above with an indicator of where you fit.
Does this mean that people who tend toward the bottom left shouldn’t be on your team? Not necessarily. What it does mean is that certain strategic discussions will likely be more of a stretch for them to engage in. You will probably see them struggling or need to give them more time to process or catch up than you would those whose personalities lean towards the upper right. Some of these people may contribute very little to the conversation as well. I happen to know that those with a strong bottom/left personality also have a very difficult time with confrontation and conflict. Two important elements in strategic discussions.

What if you find yourself in one of that bottom left quadrant? In that scenario I would recommend that you work extra hard to ensure you don’t fill your Strategic Team with others of the same personality. In other words, be sure to recruit team members who lean to the upper right. You may also want to consider asking someone else to lead the team meetings. You should definitely be present and have a voice in the discussion, but it would probably be easier for you if someone else focused on leading so that you can give more of your energy towards processing the discussions in the room.

The Four C’s


In my last two blog entries I have been talking about the importance of getting the right people on your bus and also making sure you have the right people in the right seats.

In particular, it is very important that every team member is aligned with you in four different areas. At Elim Gospel Church, we simply call these “The Four C’s”. Three of these “C’s” Bill Hybels talks about in his Leadership Book, “Axiom: Powerful Leadership Proverbs”. Whether you are looking for someone for your Strategic Team, for your board of directors, for the director of your men’s ministry or for your newest secretarial hire, these four criteria should be evaluated as part of the recruitment process.

Character: It goes without saying that character is critical when recruiting someone to an influential position. What is often NOT said, or thought about, is just what “character” traits you are looking for. We tend to see people as “good” and have a hard time labeling them as someone lacking in character.

You should identify your own list, but here are a few things we deem very important:

  • Team Player
  • Teachable
  • Honest
  • Attends Regularly
  • Serves Regularly
  • Gives Regularly
  • Submitted to Leadership
  • Growing Christian
  • Positive Example in Life

Competency: The business world has this one figured out. They’ve got resume’s, job applications, and interviews down pat. The Christian world? Not so good. Again, it seems like we somehow think it’s “unchristian-like” to evaluate whether someone actually has the right skills for the job. Classic example: the lady who played the organ when growing up in church during my teen years. Was I the only one that noticed she didn’t have any rhythm and constantly got the wrong notes? Oh yeah, and she couldn’t really sing either.

When recruiting, for anything, figure out in advance what competencies are required for that role; then you can begin the process of deciding who best meets those criteria (along with the other 3 “C’s”.)

Chemistry: Again, this area is one many leaders are afraid to discuss or consider. This is the arena where you determine if the person in question is going to be a good fit in your culture as well as with you as their leader. Chemistry is not to be confused with character. It is strictly about whether this person carries the key aspects of your ministry DNA or not. This is why nearly every great leader in both the marketplace and ministry will tell you that it’s much better to hire from within – because those people will be much more likely to be DNA carriers and score high in chemistry with you as their leader.

Here is what I have discovered about how chemistry impacts your team and ministry. When you have a team player that is high in chemistry with you and your organization, you will very likely have little relational conflict. Conversely, when chemistry is low, conflict will likely abound. I’m not talking about the constructive conflict that should be in every relationship and team. I’m talking about the conflict that continually rises up because two different worlds/mindsets/standards keep colliding. This is also why it is becoming more and more popular for organizations to hire competent but young and less experienced people as opposed to those who have a ton of experience. The more experienced professionals also tend to have a lot of opinions and mindsets on what should be done and how to do it.

Calling: The final “C” we look for when hiring or recruiting is also critical to us. We actually walk all new hires through these four C’s and end with this one. This is our reminder that God has an interest in this decision. Jesus told us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” God told Jeremiah, “I know the plans I have for you…” So we remind the candidate to seek God for His purposes for them and we do the same. It is quite possible that the person would be a great match in every other way, but that God is directing them towards something else in your organization or in the world.


We take these criteria very seriously. If even just one of them doesn’t seem to be lining up, we slow everything down and re-evaluate. Better to struggle through a leadership void for a season of time than to get the wrong person on the bus and find out 6 or 9 months down the line that they aren’t going to work out.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Page 2 of 3123