A note from Kelly King: Finding the right women to serve on your team can be one of the most important aspects in ministry. Whether you are evaluating your current team or praying about adding new members to your team, Merritt gives us six crucial questions to ask when identifying leaders.
Louisa May Alcott, one of my favorite authors, once wrote: “It takes two flints to make a fire.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” The principle of these passages is indeed timeless. Life was never intended to be a solo mission. There is strength in community and greater effectiveness in collaboration.
In Exodus 18, Jethro visits Moses, his son-in-law, and is dismayed by what he finds. Moses is singlehandedly trying to address the needs, concerns, and complaints of an entire nation. In verse 18, Jethro imparts this truth: “The task is too heavy for you. You can’t do it alone.” He advises Moses to choose leaders to serve alongside him, encouraging him with the following promise: “In this way you will lighten your load, and they will bear it with you” (v. 22).
If you have been serving in ministry for any length of time, you have undoubtedly endured a season (or could possibly be in one right now) in which the work was too heavy for you. Like Moses, we modern ministry leaders can still benefit from Jethro’s leadership advice. The poison of overwhelm can be counteracted with the antidote of a healthy, thriving team.
Most of us would acknowledge that teamwork is critical to ministry growth and longevity, yet building a team often proves challenging. So how can we take steps to ensure we are adding the right person to the team?
Let’s consider six questions that can help you identify potential leaders.
1. Is she passionate in her walk with God?
The quality of our leadership is directly correlated to the quality of our fellowship with God. God must be moving in us in order to effectively move through us, so it is vital to consider if the potential leader is faithfully seeking the Lord.
2. Do her beliefs correspond with church leadership?
Effective teams must have foundational alignment around the ministry’s mission, vision, core values, and doctrinal beliefs. You will never get to the desired destination if you are driving in different directions.
3. Does her schedule and season of life allow for this commitment?
Choosing the right team member is not only about identifying the right person but also about inviting her in at the right time. Even the most qualified of leaders have to step down or step away in seasons when health, family, or other facets of their lives need to become the highest priority.
4. Do her spiritual gifts and abilities fit the job that needs to be done?
Identifying the right addition to your team is not only about seeking a good leader but also about seeking the right gifting. Evaluate the areas of need within your team and prayerfully seek those whose gifts best address the needs.
5. Does she currently cultivate relationships with other women?
Ministry often has more than its fair share of administrative elements, but in the end, ministry primarily revolves around people. Every woman you invite to serve with you publicly should already demonstrate a passion for investing in people privately.
6. Does she have the qualities needed to work well within a team?
A person’s ability to lead well can often be measured by how well she follows. Those who demonstrate humility, loyalty, and an allegiance to God’s authority in their everyday lives will carry those qualities into their leadership style and their engagement with others on the team.
Is God bringing someone to mind right now as you consider these six questions? Ask the Lord to go before you and prepare her heart. Then prayerfully extend an invitation for her to serve with you. I join you in praying this strategic conversation leads to a lighter load for you and a firestorm of impact for the kingdom.
Merritt Johnston has been serving in full-time ministry since college when she co-founded a ministry for young women called SAGE Ministries. She has also served on staff at several churches, including four years as the Director of Women’s Ministries at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, TX. In addition to her ministry in the local church, Merritt has served for ten years as a hospital chaplain at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Brenham and has recently joined the staff of the Baptist World Alliance, a network of 240 organizations in 125 countries and territories. She is an education junkie who has been in some form of school most of her life, the latest being the completion of a Master of Divinity from Grace School of Theology in May 2018. Merritt and her husband, Jeremy, make their home at The Maker’s Acre in Brenham, TX, where they are currently raising three rambunctious children named Josiah, Silas, and Jubilee.