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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

08 Sep '11

The one thing I look for in staff

There are naturally a number of things that we look for when hiring staff at any level of an organization - or when recruiting volunteers. Things like competency, Emotional Intelligence, fit with the culture of the organization and so on. But here is one non-negotiable for me which I will not compromise on: humility.

Humble individuals are teachable. They treat others with respect. They are eager to learn from others and can play on a team well. They don't need their own way and don't fight stupid intramural battles. They care more about the accomplishment of the mission than their own ego. In fact, their own egos don't get in the way of finding the best solutions in a team setting. They are not looking for personal recognition but want a win for the organization. Their humility makes it possible for them to keep short accounts and to apologize when they are wrong or have offended others. They are not competing for attention but are easy to have on the team.

Those who lack humility are prideful. Pride causes us to want to one up others, to get our own way, to claim the accolades personally. It prevents us from apologizing and keeping short accounts and can kill team spirit because it is about us, not the team. Pride keeps us from learning from others or from receiving counsel or rebuke. It craves recognition, importance, authority and control.  It is slow to praise others and competes for that praise. It often treats others with carelessness and lack of consideration. True introspection is difficult as pride gets in the way of seeing what is really there.

Now think carefully about the implications and characteristics of a humble or prideful individual on your ministry team or more importantly in a leadership role. Think about the impact their natural behaviors have on those they work with and the outcome of the ministry. Think about the ease of supervising a humble individual compared to a proud individual. Finally, compare these two kinds of people against the character of Christ and one sees how critical a humble spirit is to all that we do in Christian ministry. 

When you choose staff, don't miss this test. Almost without exception when I have dealt with a serious staff issue, there is an element of pride that is involved and gets in the way of healthy resolution. There is a reason that humility is so close to God's heart. It is part of his character.