Churches are always looking for leaders. This is true in pastoral roles and in volunteer roles. We create our profiles, identify the skill set needed, determine the qualifications, settle on the amount of experience and education required, and start a search to find the perfect person.
I want to suggest something — the perfect person may not be the right one.
Sure, any church would be wise to look for the very best candidate for any ministry position. We should never settle for just whoever we can get. A bad hire can cost time and resources that we cannot afford to waste. We shouldn’t be in a hurry and we should get the very best person we can for the role.
But I believe there is another factor churches should always consider when they are looking for a leader. Churches should look for the right leader, not the perfect one. What’s the difference?
The perfect leader is the one you think can be everything you need the leader to be. They are ready on Day One to lead effectively. But the right leader is the one God has prepared for the church and the one the church is called to invest in for the next season. I’ve seen churches paralyze themselves in a search for the perfect candidate when the right choice might be in front of them.
David was not the perfect choice to be king. But he was the right choice.
Why not think about it like this?
Instead of looking for the leader who brings the most to the table, why not find the one that God leads you to that not only can step into the role, but also can benefit from the church investing in them in the next season of ministry? Instead of thinking only how this leader can help your church, why not consider who you could develop that can serve THE CHURCH for many years to come?
I know a church that for many years invested in young preachers with little or no experience. It was a calling they embraced – to find young pastors who needed opportunity and experience and give it to them. Years later, more than a dozen effective pastors are serving because of the opportunity this one church had given them all. On a personal note, I’ll always be grateful that Istrouma Baptist Church in Baton Rouge did that for me when I was in seminary. I wasn’t the best candidate. But, thank God, they saw me as the right one.
Church leaders – instead of only looking for what a new leader can bring, why not find a new leader you can invest in? Find the right person, not the perfect one.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book (checkout his latest book: Worship Essentials). In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family (and his two new grand-babies). Visit MikeHarland.com to keep up with all that Mike has going on.