Who to Choose?

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“Effective leaders view leadership selection and development as a priority function.” – J. Robert Clinton

I was asked recently by a person with whom I enjoy a mentoring relationship why I spent time with another person in such a relationship. In other words; “What did I see in that other person? Why would I invest in that relationship?”

Afterwards, I sat down and tried to capture in writing my answer to that question more thoroughly than I have in the past. It’s an answer honed by my experience and by my own personal sense of calling from God.

So at the risk of being labeled “elitist” and perhaps being too transparent about my own philosophy of ministry, here’s the list of what I look for in people with whom I will go deep in relationships and/or mentor:

Spiritually Alive: They are enamored with Jesus and willing to follow him no matter what. They evidence a palatable spiritual hunger and thirst for the Spirit of God to flow through their lives. They are consumed by love for Christ and what it means to be his Kingdom followers in all areas of life.

Teachable: They are responsive and teachable. They display good followership which I believe to be an unconditional prerequisite for good leadership. They don’t have all the answers and are not contentious or argumentative. They are not in theological cement.

Passionate: I am not interested in motivating the unmotivated. I can help steer a moving horse but I’m not going to invest the limited time I have left in life trying to get an obstinate horse off its rump. I want to see passion for much of the same values and vision for which God has captured my own life.

Character: I am drawn to people of unquestioned character. When push comes to shove, they will default to doing the right thing.

Apostolic Gifting: There are indications that they are apostolically gifted. There is a holy discontent with the way things are and they want to be agents of change. They are flexible, adaptable, and mobile. They are catalytic and evidence an entrepreneurial drive by wanting to create and start new things. They want to pioneer and to create.

Servants: I’m not interested in investing my life in self-absorbed people who struggle to get beyond themselves. I’m looking for individuals who are “other oriented” and willing to sacrifice for the needs of those around them.

Thoughtful: I work best with those who can be intellectually engaged and stimulated. There is great curiosity and they can think for themselves. I resonate with people who are comfortable in the world of ideas yet who also are compelled to see those ideas worked out in real life so change is the result. I am not drawn to theory for theory’s sake.

Culturally Savvy: I gravitate toward those who can read a culture and know how to adapt, whether it’s their own culture or one into which they parachute. There is a winsomeness about them. They are contagious. They attract others because of the depth of their character, their spirituality, and their love of people.

Leadership Gifting: They have clear leadership giftedness. I look for those who will have a reproductive influence in the lives of others.

Sense of Calling: I desire to invest in people who, because of the way God has gifted them, have a sense of calling to vocational ministry. This is not to say that I do not value other callings, only that I believe that God has asked me to focus with the limited resources and energy that I posses on people who are headed in that direction. This is not elitist. I am certainly willing to help scores of people figure this out, but that smaller circle that gets my time and attention are those where this question has some sense of finality.

Chemistry: I want to relate to those individuals with whom I have a personal sense of chemistry. They like me and I like them. We want to hang out together. We enjoy each other’s company. There is a genuine and growing sense of love and appreciation.

The Hand of God: Ultimately, I am looking for people on whom the hand of God rests. It’s that unquantifiable quality of God’s anointing where the holy has indiscriminately blown on a life and the result is a sense of supernatural unction. It is the reason Jesus appears to have agonized over the calling of the 12 in the gospels. Even for him, the master selector, it was a divine process where the Father made the choices in the final analysis.

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