Many years ago we hired a guy to lead an important part of the ministry. He had all the right qualifications and was a joy to work with most of the time. But something that didn’t show up on his résumé or in any of our reference calls was that he had a temper. About two months after he started, he got upset at a meeting and threw a table across the room as he stormed out. We gave him a warning, but it was only a couple weeks before he got angry again and cussed out a volunteer loudly and publicly. This guy had a gaping character flaw, and we had to let him go.
For church leaders, choosing people of character can be a bit difficult for us. Why? Because we are the church. It is part of our business model to help pick up the pieces for people. It is our intention to be there when people fall so we can point them to Jesus and help get them back on their feet. If people in our church have addictions or bad habits, or if they engage in damaging behaviors, we don’t kick them out of the church. We meet them where they are and help them take their next steps.
But when we are talking about volunteers or staff leaders, whom we have brought on the team to help others take steps, it is important that there aren’t any debilitating character flaws that will cause others to stumble.
This can be misinterpreted by some to mean that only perfect people are allowed on the team. Nothing could be further from the truth. We don’t want to encourage that kind of thinking or put that burden on our staff. Everyone is dealing with something. Everyone has an area in his or her life where he or she needs help and support. All of us deal with the reality of our humanity, and we are constantly striving to lean on Jesus.
But it’s crucial that the people we bring on our team do not have huge flaws in their integrity that could cripple their ability to lead. Luke 12:48 says that more is required from those who have been given greater responsibility.