Selectivity vs. Development

If you read some leadership literature these days, it’s all about “hire the right people, only the best people, so that you don’t need to have meetings and manuals to hold them in check.” In other words, be highly selective about whom you bring on.

But can we really do this? People don’t come out of the womb knowing how to work, generally speaking. They often don’t know how to lead themselves, let alone others. People who naturally know how to do that are hard to come by. So unless they’ve grown and developed somewhere else, you’ll have to develop them.

In the ministry and non-profit world, we probably don’t get to be as selective as other fields. We need to work with whatever instruments are at our disposal. And let’s be honest: we were once those blunt instruments as well. (Notice I didn’t call us “tools”? Even if that’s what we were).

Anyway, we have to sharpen those instruments. We can’t say “We only hire the best.” We simply can’t be that selective. So if we want to have high-caliber, fruitful equippers of the church, we’re going to have to develop them.

At the same time, we can’t develop everyone. Not everyone is a fit. Church & ministry world is notorious for being overly nice and polite. We keep people around who can’t do the job because we like them, or because no one can find it in their heart to say something as mean as “your services are no longer needed here—at least in this role.” (An aside: not having those hard conversations isn’t really loving them. It’s just fear and conflict avoidance on your part).

We need to be selective and be developers. Not only does this sound more like Jesus’ method when he picked his Twelve, but it gives more opportunity for the gospel to shine through rough-shaped people like us. So, yes! Be selective. But be selective about who you are going to develop. And then build them up!

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