Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Strange Recruiting Strategy

One of my jobs as Sofia City Team Leader is to make sure the team is properly equipped to fulfill our vision.  As it stands right now, our team is not properly equipped to do so.  We simply do not have enough team members.

The members we do have are quality folks.  There are three of us so far.  Each one of us brings skills, talents, and gifts to the table that augment and enhance the whole.  Both of my teammates have skills that I don’t have, and I have skills they don’t have.  Together we make a good team, but we need more members.  This is why recruiting is one of my key roles as team leader.

Kenny has been a blessing to the team since he joined in December.

Sasha, our resident Bulgarian, and my lovely wife.
Recruiting people for a ministry team is, in some ways, very similar to hiring someone for a job.  You want to be sure the people who join the team have the right skills, talents, training, and personality.  Not just anyone can join the Sofia team.  I have turned people down who would not be a good fit.  In other ways though, recruiting for ministry is quite different than merely hiring.

When someone expresses an interest in joining the Sofia team, I take it seriously.  I pray extensively for them and with them.  I pray that God would guide them to the right ministry location.  Sometimes they discover that God is leading them somewhere else, and when that happens, I am more than willing to let them go.  They are not mine to begin with.  I share facts and needs for the team, and I stay in regular contact with them until they make a decision.  I don’t do a hard sell trying to build a team.  I let God lead them, and I do everything I can to make sure they end up in their sweet spot even if that means they never join us in Sofia.

This can be a bit confusing for those who approach teams from a sports or business perspective.  Such recruiters will do anything to get strong members on their team.  They will give incentives and make promises.  They will do everything they can to make their team look attractive.  They don’t understand why anyone would let a qualified teammate go elsewhere.

When Sasha and I moved from Poland to Bulgaria our team leader gave us such a strong recommendation that some thought he was either lying or trying to get rid of us (or possibly both).  To some he sounded like a slick car salesman who was trying to offload a lemon.  I was told straight out that his recommendation for us was useless because it sounded too good.

In reality our former boss wanted us to stay.  His recommendation was legitimate and honest.  He thought we were good teammates and to this day he and his wife remain close friends.  Yet he was willing to let us go because he was more interested in making sure that we were serving where God wanted us than where he wanted us.  He was very invested in our lives, and his godly leadership continues to affect me to this day.  He released us because he was more interested in building the Kingdom than expanding an empire.

This is how I view potential team members.  The vast majority of people who have looked at Sofia as a place to serve have been more than qualified.  They have been mature, skilled, and godly men and women.  Yet only three of us are actually here.  I’m okay with that.  God is the King.  He chooses who will join us in Sofia.  Obedience to Him is more important than building a large ministry for Him.

I will continue to try to build the Sofia team because I believe it’s what God is calling me to do.  I will pray for anyone who enters the process, and I will continue to pray for them even if they don’t join us.  I trust that God will send us the right teammates in His time.

Perhaps He will send you.

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