The Seven C’s of Choosing Staff or Leaders

As I work with and choose leaders, there are key aspects that are important to consider.  Years ago, my mentor, Dr. Gordon Stephens talked about three areas: Character, Competencies and Chemistry.  I also heard the first three, plus one additional, Culture, in a conference with Andy Stanley at Northpoint Community Church a few years ago.

There are three more C’s, I would like to add to the list along with some key questions in this blog post. This will assist us as we are choosing staff or appointing leaders on our board, business and other volunteer service areas.

When choosing leaders so much of it has to do with:

  • Character

These are people whose values and beliefs are not just talked about they are lived out in their lives.  They have integrity, honesty and strength of who they are in their everyday decisions and interactions with people.  A few years ago my Mother gave me a birthday card with me sitting on my Grandpa Pifer’s lap when I was about 18 months old.  He was one of my heroes growing up along with my Dad and my other Grandfather.  The card was surrounded with three words: Honesty, strength and integrity.  Words of character lived out in these men’s lives were modelled for me. I also want to be known as a leader of godly character.

Key Question:  Is this person growing in and known for Christ-like character and integrity?


  • Calling

For some, this might be passion since it is such a popular word in our daily culture.  Calling is much deeper because passion can run out when the going gets tough.  A called person is persevering, they are focused.  They have been designed uniquely by God to fill the needs and develop the area of responsibility they have been assigned.  Calling is multi-dimensional.  It involves a person’s choice, their energy, skills, makeup and giftedness coming together in a God-given desire to contribute and serve the cause of Christ with clear commitment. This goes beyond moving somewhere for a job or comfortable ministry.  Fulfilling a calling can be painful, inconvenient. The motto of the called person, “If I can’t do this I die; I am willing to pay the price.”

Key Questions:  Is this person called to this role or do they see this as just another job? Are they willing to pay the price? 


  • Chemistry

This aspect is important because you want a person you are introducing to fit, contribute, and have a vital role in strengthening your team. Will they click with the other team members and mix well to assist the staff to move ahead to pursue the organization’s vision, mission and goals?  Find out how they react under pressure from others and whether they are an explosive mix or when added to the team they contribute to a healthy environment. Will adding them produce a synergy of relationships?

Key Question – Will they add to the mix of the team or will they disrupt and cause unnecessary tension and an explosion?


  • Culture

When hiring someone you need to consider the culture they are coming from and the culture they are coming to in your decision.  Do they understand what you do as an organization? What are the traditions of that business or institution?  Traditions, develop in new and older organizations. We all have them.  Will this person be able to fit into the current culture? Will they match up with the mores, shared beliefs and practices of the team?

In the church setting do they line up with the doctrinal statement, philosophy of ministry, vision, mission and ministry priorities set out by the Pastor and Elders’ board?   Attitudes also have to be taken into account along with their skills, education and expertise.  One thing you have to question is whether their qualifications, educational training and experiences stretch our current culture to align us for greater mission effectiveness and growth.

Key Questions – Will they be able to adapt, learn and grow in our culture?  Will they also stretch us to have a healthier staff culture?


  • Competencies

These are the skills and the abilities that people bring to the position to fulfil the requirements of a given job.  Look at their experience and education.  Find out who they have worked under to determine where their strengths and skills have benefitted others.  What have been their strengths and accomplishments in serving previous organizations?  What have they done?  In recent years one of the most important factors to consider is the Emotional intelligence (EI) or relational intelligence of a person as a competency.

Key Question: Do they have the skills, abilities, training and emotional intelligence to get the job done? 

  • Cognitive Abilities

As we seek staff members, we want them to be able to think, research, develop strategy, set goals, tactics and adapt while being in alignment with the mission and vision of the organization.  Does their knowledge puff them up?  Are they still teachable? Are they “lifelong learners” who have a submissive attitude rather than one of pride or superiority?  Just because a person is an expert in one area does not make them an expert in every field.  That is why good leaders will have smarter people around them to complete and improve their team IQ.  Those using their knowledge will also demonstrate wisdom in their tasks and interactions with others.  It is not about the educational degrees a person possesses but how much they have applied their education and experience to life. In other words are they “know it alls” or are they wise?

Key Questions:  Do their knowledge, experience and education translate into wise living? Are they still teachable? 

  • Christ-Centeredness

The last aspect as I am looking for leaders is a Christ-centered or God-focused life.  Who is the centre of their life?  Who motivates them? What is the purpose of their life?  Do they have strong Biblical values?  Tough questions,  but if we are to have the right people on our teams we need people who definitely have Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives especially in the church.  Christ must be the centre as the Apostle Paul relates in Galatians 2:20.  Faith in Christ produces faithful people who are available to the work, ministry and perform not for themselves but as servants of Jesus Christ.  If Christ is indeed Lord, their attitudes are different as well.  They pulse with the life of Christ, and it is contagious to others around them.   Christ-centered leaders leave self-centred leaders in the dust.

But what about business leaders making choices about people.  Sure people who have Jesus Christ should bring an advantage to your company.  If this is not the case for you. What are the values demonstrated by a potential hire?  Where do their beliefs come from? Why do they make the choices they make? Who are they following and why? Getting to these questions determine who is really the master of their life.  You do not want someone self-absorbed but someone who is other focused.

Key Questions:  Who is at the centre of this person’s life?  Does their talk, attitudes, actions and habits demonstrate a Christ focused life? 

If you have further questions. Let me know.  If I can coach you with some tools or help in your search for the right staff people in your church or organization I will be glad to assist or direct you to the right people.

For now, I hope the seven C’s of hiring will help you in the search for the right people for your team or organization.


Compassion and Community

I heard this week, part of a CBC radio interview with a professor of religion at Duke University.  As she was interviewed, I heard again about the decline in institutional faith based organizations.  She went on to say the quote that I have often got from people. “I am not religious, but I am spiritual.”  To which I have often replied, I am not religious either but I am spiritually alive because of a life changing relationship.  That usually starts a great conversation about religion and spirituality.  If the conversation continues,  I ask more questions of the individual which allows me to talk about Jesus Christ, my life transforming relationship.   Both words: religion and spirituality in our culture are defined with selfish pursuits as their end.

As the CBC interview progressed, I did come upon some gems from the professor.  She said in her research that people are walking away from religious institutions because they are missing two key inner drivers or longings in their life: Compassion and Community. People long that these two needs be met since we are all spiritual beings as she intimated.  Individuals are not looking for dead orthodoxy, staid religious rituals or the mechanical religious forms of the past but compassion and authentic community as she explained.

The early church demonstrated both of these spiritual essentials in the book of Acts.  Take a look at Acts chapter 2 after the gospel is preached by Peter and it is received. The result is demonstrated in Acts 2:42-47.  You see these two qualities lived out as they met one another’s needs by ministering sacrificially and practically with the love of Jesus Christ. Through a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ, compassion and community are the results of gospel transformation.  Without Christ centred living you will not have compassion and authentic community. Both are found in Christ.  Both are the results of knowing Christ.

Now I understand, many Christian churches are dying in North America because they have forgotten to practice these two qualities with each other and newcomers to their churches.  But like the good religious professor, they have forgotten the key person that produces compassion and community among people: Jesus Christ. There are many thousands of growing and healthy churches that do not get the media attention that are compassionate and growing in an authentic community because they are Christ-centered.

As I watch and hear the reports from the tragic hurricane that has hit Houston Texas. Compassion and Community are being carried out by thousands of people.  I am glad so many of them are people of true faith who are making a difference through Christian organizations and individual followers of Jesus. Hopefully, we can all contribute as we help our neighbours to the south rebuild.  Compassion and Community are needed in each of our lives especially in the tragedies of life.

The CBC interview missed the primary point or person necessary for these two qualities to impact people.  It is really a three point alliterated sermon.  Christ, Compassion, Community. Christ produces genuine Compassion and Community.  When Christ is the centre of our lives, Compassion and Community break out!


I hope to share the link from the interview once I find it on the search engine of

Courageous For His Mission

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

I wanted to renew my blog.  I love to write and communicate practically about the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ and the type of leaders that the Lord uses to make a difference in the church and the communities they serve.  As you see in my brief bio I want to leave a legacy of Spiritual, Servant, Sacrificial, Submitted, Shepherding Leadership.  This Blog will expand on these qualities of leadership and the mission strategy of Jesus.

My training with Sonlife Ministries has embedded in my leadership the priorities and mission strategy of Jesus Christ.  The strategy is simple: Win the Lost, Build Believers, Train or Equip Workers and Develop Servant leaders for ministry and mission.  I will also be writing on key issues facing the church.  As a coach, trainer, and consultant in both business and the church, my experiences have assisted leaders and their organizations to be healthy in developing their own unique vision and effective teams to pursue their mission.

I have been used as a turn-around leader in four churches seeing them grow through multiple services, effective outreaches, healthy staff and board leadership.  I have a BTh from Tyndale University (formerly Ontario Bible College),  an MBA in leadership studies from Liberty University and I am a Ph.D. candidate at Master’s International School of Divinity.  My training has also been enhanced by the John Maxwell Team where I am a certified coach, speaker, and consultant.

If I can be of assistance to you and your organization you can contact me directly through the contact section of this blog.