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One of the greatest challenges for any organization is finding the right leaders to join the team. It makes no difference if you are filling a volunteer role or a paid staff position, building a team that is effective is hard work. A few years ago the University of Tennessee hired a new head basketball coach. If you are a sports fan you know Tennessee has had a difficult few years with coaches. UT choose to hire a man who was qualified but had no national recognition. He was not the “BIG NAME.” Sometimes I think we spend too much time trying to staff our teams with BIG NAMES both in paid staff and volunteers.

Sure, there are times we get to hire or add proven leaders to our team but most of the time we simply need to look for the right leader and not the big name. I am glad several churches gave me a chance to lead when I had done nothing noteworthy up to that point. Those churches saw potential and gave me the chance to lead.

We are constantly looking for leaders who have potential to make a difference. Leaders never emerge if they are never given the chance to lead. Empowering people to lead means we take a risk on them…we give them a shot…we strive to be leadership developers. Here are some principles we look for when we are adding people to our family ministry team. These are principles that helps us empower the right leaders…

  • We look for passion & competence >> We want leaders who are passionate about their craft and do a good job at what we ask them to do. Make no mistake, we empower leaders who are good at what they do in life (work and home) and not just the ministry setting. Competence is needed if others are going to follow. Passion is that extra ingredient because leaders have to inspire. Inspiration needs passion but it rests on competence!
  • We look for character >> We want people of high character on our team. We are not looking for perfection but we are looking for people who can build healthy relationships and make wise choices. True character is found in the middle of relationships (at home, with friends, and at work) and we want that kind of character to matter the most.
  • We look at their past responsibilities >> How people handle smaller responsibilities has a direct correlation to how they will deal with more demanding situations. We love to see a history of progress before we add a person to our leadership team. Trust me…everything I know about ministry I learned from some amazing people in a small town named Bloomfield where 1,200 people live. Those people allowed me to lead them and I learned so much from them! That role and time has had a direct impact on how I lead today.
  • We look for a team connection >> It matters that the staff and volunteers we empower connect with the rest of the team. I never hire a person for our staff until they connect with other people on our team. I follow the same rule with our lead volunteers. We work best with people we enjoy being with. Healthy relationships bring energy to ministry teams.
  • We look for learners >> We want people on our team who are striving to improve. We want life long learners. A heart that longs to learn leads to a humble heart that values others. Nothing kills forward progress on a team than people who will not learn, listen, and grow.