Choosing the team may well be a leader’s most important single responsibility. Only when the right players are in the right positions does any team maximize their opportunity for success.
In a 2001 business bestseller, Good to Great, Jim Collins put it this way. Good-to-great leaders “first got the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats” (p. 13). Everything else was secondary.
For successful college football coaches this is not a new principle. They have long known that the strength of their team is directly related to the strength of the players they recruit. On the field, a well-coached “A” player will beat a well-coached “D” player almost every time.
Even in the church, this principle is applicable. John Ed Mathison, for many years pastor of the Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, wrote: “Picking the right people is my most important responsibility” (cited in William Easum, Church Growth Handbook, p. 68).
And, yes, the Scripture reveals that our Lord Jesus embraced this principle as well. Because He understood the critical importance of the team He chose, He “spent the night praying to God” before choosing the apostles from among the disciples (Luke 6:12-16).
So, what should we look for as we select members of our staff? Over the years, I have learned to look at potential team members through the lens of the “six Cs.”
- Conversion => is there evidence of a genuine work of grace in their hearts? They must have an authentic, growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Calling => is there inner assurance that God is guiding them to the particular ministry for which we need a leader? We want team members who come to work every day with confidence, not questions, that they are doing what God has called them to do.
- Character => is this a person of integrity? We want team members who will do what’s right even when no one’s looking.
- Competence => can the person actually do the job? A person who loves Christ and has solid character but has little or no musical ability will not likely be a great worship arts pastor.
- Chemistry => is the person a good fit with our current staff and church family? Though sometimes difficult to discern, this component is critical to effective ministry.
- Confirmation => does the Holy Spirit confirm within that it would be wise to invite this person to the team? It takes prayer and discernment to know the Spirit’s confirmation.
In a larger, multi-staff church, to be searching for pastoral personnel is the rule, not the exception. Staff transitions will occur for a variety of reasons, and as the church grows, new staff will be added.
Currently, at Ingleside we are searching for: (1) a High School Pastor; (2) a Young Adult Pastor, and (3) an Executive Pastor. Please join me in praying for God’s favor, direction, and timing on each of these searches.
Gary McIntosh’s observation in his excellent book, Staff Your Church for Growth, is right on target. “Remember,” he writes, “there are no shortcuts. It takes time to find the right people, time to train them, and time to get them acclimated to your church culture” (p. 53).
I’m very grateful for our current staff and look forward to those whom the Lord will add in the days ahead. With the right team in place, our church will take new steps toward fulfilling its full redemptive potential.
And, as always, I remain convinced that the best is yet to come!
Your Pastor and Friend,