I’m finding the free downloads from the recent Together on a Mission conference really interesting and useful, and was reminded of something in Malcolm Kayes’ session around pastoral ministry, when he said ‘don’t let people lead with their gifts.’ What did he mean?
He gave the example of someone who went to his local church, explaining that they had a particular gift: bringing prophetic guidance to elders. Malcolm’s response was something along the lines of ‘Not here you don’t’. Even if this individual was gifted in that particular way, there’s a key question which must be asked: What is your character like? Someone could be the most gifted preacher, pastor, musician, technical expert, kids worker, or whoever, but if they don’t have the character to go with that gift it’s just as well to ask that person to stop serving. Give me someone with wonderful character yet completely ungifted any day.
There was a teacher in the news recently who was arrested for doing awful things with some of his students; all the parents interviewed seemed to say that he was a great teacher and that the kids loved him, but that’s obviously not enough – he needed to sort his character out first. I think it’s really tempting to spot someone who’s gifted and give them lots of responsibility but the amount of damage they could then cause due to their bad attitude is then exponentially increased.
Bill Hybels in Courageous Leadership suggested that team members should be chosen based on the three Cs, and I think they were in this priority order: 1. Character, 2. Chemistry, 3. Competency. Our ability to do a job properly is actually less important than our good attitude and personal discipline, and our ability to work well with others.
O God, please improve my character – by Your grace and Your Spirit never let my gifts outweigh that.