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Yesterday I posed a question: Is it better to recruit anyone for a specific position, or a specific person for any position. You can read it here if you missed it. If you didn’t comment, go ahead give me your thoughts.

The more I think about this balance, the more I think it creeps into the realm of “Human Resources”, but still leadership. But, for the time, here are my thoughts in terms of the three people I ask to join the team.

  1. A person who is willing to meet a specific need. I may not have much of a relationship with this person, but either they showed an interest or I saw something in passing and thought they would be someone who might want to join the team. Making decisions off of glimpses can be dangerous, but I’ve learned over time that I can usually get a good sense of someone initially, and then as I get to know them, I can put the pieces together (like not letting someone’s character surprise me). Also, in this category, are people who have said “I’d love to help do ________”. With these people, the task determines the answer. If it’s something they want to do, they say yes.
  2. A person who is willing to help with whatever. These are the Swiss Army knives of team members. Their heart is more about setting up the ministry/organization to win than meeting a single need. They are willing to do whatever is asked. The challenge here is avoiding burnout and helping them find a good balance. I had an adult at my former church who modeled this incredibly. If I needed someone to go on a trip with me, he would go. Someone to teach a lesson? He would do it. Help me plan an event? He was there. Lead a small group? He hit it out of the park. He was invested in the ministry and wanted it to grow. With these people, the question determines the answer. In other words, if I ask, they say yes. Again, being aware and looking to find balance for them is key.
  3. A person I want on the team. There are some people that I think, to use the language of Jim Collins, I just want on the bus. They may not be motivated by the task or the ask, but at the end of the day, because of my relationship with them, I know that I’m a sharper leader because of them. With these people I’m willing to say, let’s create a spot for you to serve where we are fulfilling your gifts. Their skill set may be different from mine (perfect!), or it may compliment mine. Either way, they make the room better. The downside: the invitation is even more critical. Because they’re not being asked to accomplish a clear task, and they may not be invested in the overall success like the second group, casting a clear picture is a little more difficult. At the end of the day, however, being honest (and sensitive to where they are personally) makes all the difference. And a little bit of salesmanship.

Let me be clear about something: I don’t have all the answers. In six months I may re-read this post and delete it. But, at the moment, this is how I strike the balance between asking anyone to accomplish a specific task or asking a specific person to accomplish any task.

So, one more time: what are your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Am I missing something? I’d love to hear from you!


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