5 C’s on Essential Characteristics for Leaders

Our church has been in a process of looking to fill three crucial staff roles within the next year or two. We have been saturating this process in prayer and His Word. 

Hiring can be such a challenging task for churches. Depending on the church background it comes from, many churches often put a search committee together from the body and begin to discuss and talk through who could be the best fit for the position!

Why is this difficult? After putting so much resource of time, talent, and treasure and hiring the wrong person that does not fit the culture of the church can cause heartache and havoc.

As a result? Feelings are hurt and relationships are challenged. The costly mistake can last for more than a decade to be healed up. Yes, been there, done that, I’ve seen it all. 

Here are 5 things everyone is looking for when they make a hire or recruit volunteers.


1. Calling: Do They Feel Called by God? 

More than even the calling to preach, shepherd, or lead the church, is the individual confident in his/her calling as a child of God? Does the person sway by people’s perspective and is not a confident convictional leader? 

Close to the hills of the person’s calling is, does the spouse also sense the calling into moving to the next role? Is the family on board as well as moving forward to the task set before them? 

When calling references (which sadly many churches simply dismiss) or a close network of colleagues, do all sense the calling is legitimate and evident within the person’s life? 

Do they see this as a calling or simply a job to make income? How can you tell if this is the case? If in the first interview or conversation if the person asks a question such as, “Well, how much is the salary package? Would I get health insurance? Would there be a bonus?” Rather than, “What is the vision of the church? What are the needs? How can I/our family contribute to the community?” then you have found the issue. 

A person who does not have a calling to be part of the ministry will simply coast through by going through the motions, rather than creatively wanting to innovate to better the organization and go along with the vision & mission of the church. 


2. Character: Do They Have Integrity? 

Too often this can be missed on job descriptions with any churches or para-church organization. Rather than going for, “A young hip-cool-pastor” of culturally elevated values, churches ought to look for 1 Timothy 3 quality shepherds. 

By not identifying clear key characteristic components, churches can easily get lost in the current cultural tidal wave. People would want a person to fit based on cultural “ideals” and base the greatness of an individual on the spark and glitter of the individual.

Are they humble enough to be teachable? Or are they puffed up with pride and are full of themselves? When the individual is not humble enough to be trained or taught, most likely the relationship will not flourish and succeed in the long run. 

The bottom line is, does the person have integrity and their words match their lifestyle? Is their private worship consistent with their public worship? Is their inside life consistent with the outside life of a ministerial setting? 

Skills can get you into ministry, but only integrity will keep you in ministry. 


3. Competence: Do They Have the Skillset? 

Now there’s importance why “competence” comes after “character”. Competency does truly matter, but character matters even more. 

However, the person’s gifting, ability, and skill set do matter. Just the order of importance is crucial. Competence ought not to trump over calling and character. The gifting of the individual and the experience the person brings to the specific role will enable the success of fulfilling roles, relationships, and responsibility.

I have seen this over and over again within churches. Most churches hire people based on competence and have to terminate an individual not based on competency but based on character-flaw.


4. Consistency: Do They Have Steadfastness? 

It doesn’t matter if they have the greatest gift set a person can have but are they steady in the good, bad, and ugly of life? Is he/she able to function properly under a certain stress level even during difficult situations? Do they have a steady rhythm of life to soar through the longevity of ministry? 

Are they committed and reflect biblical qualities throughout the storms of life at all times? Are they disciplined enough to maintain effectiveness in ministry? 

As Spurgeon said, “By perseverance, the snail reached the ark.” There’s something to the person who sticks through one place and serving rather than using the person as a stepping stone to move on to greater opportunities and moving on. 


5. Chemistry: Do They Get Along with Others? 

This is not based on race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or socioeconomic status. But at the end of the day, the team needs to get along! 

The church is not a solo or spectator ministry. For churches or even para-church organizations to flourish, it must be a team effort. When the individual’s competence is identified and instilled in the organization, but the person is a toxic negative person, this can corrupt the team’s chemistry. 

The chemistry of the team is so much more than having “clicks” and just liking each other, which is always helpful! But the team’s chemistry is gelling together and having a core commitment to the same shared valued structure and streamlined belief system.

At the end of the day, the church is not a building, but it is the people. Being in a church means we are in the people business! If the person cannot connect and love one another, having the greatest character and competency could jeopardize the effectiveness of the ministry. 

Some people may call this, “Unity” A team with a united front with the same core vision and mission is unstoppable. 


Calling First, Then Character with The List as Follows 

Many of you have perhaps heard the list in the list above such as the 3 C’s. But, calling comes before any other characteristics listed afterward. 

What are some other lists you would add to the above? 

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