Leadership Thoughts for all Oasis Leaders…

“Where do you find good people?”

Isn’t that age-old question? Every church, whether big or small, one-site or multi-site, volunteer or full-time staff, is looking for capable, talented, and hard-working people.

So where do these people come from? Or perhaps the better question is, “Can I do anything to attract them?” In my experience the answer is yes. But they may not show up overnight. If you’re willing to play the long game, I believe you can indeed attract the right people to your team. Here’s how.

  1. Excellent people are attracted to excellence.

A few years back we had the opportunity to help a church with their weekend worship experience. As part of the consultation, I asked their worship pastor to gather together all of his best musicians so we could work on some sounds and just get an overall feel for where they were at as a band. After just a few minutes of listening to them play, it became painfully clear that their band was extremely inexperienced—and that’s putting it kindly. The bottom line was this: it didn’t matter how much we practiced that day, these guys weren’t going to get much better until they put in a lot more hours of individual practice.

As I came away from that trip, I found myself wondering why a church of their size didn’t have better musicians. On the surface, it just didn’t make any sense. That’s when I realized excellent people want to be a part of something excellent. They generally don’t sign up for rescue projects. This church probably did have some good musicians in their congregation, but they just weren’t interested in being a part of what they saw each week on the stage. Think about it. If you were a really good drummer, would you want to be a part of really bad band?

Excellent people want to be a part of something excellent.

The fact is, many of us think that excellence will only come in our situation when excellent people show up. But if you want to attract good people, you’ve got to change your mindset. You’ve got to decide that excellence starts with you, and it starts now—not just when the “talented” people show up. This is the “faithful in least shall be faithful in much” principle. If you want God to give you great people, do a great job with the people you already have. That may mean you have to challenge them in a new way or grow yourself as a leader. But start making the absolute most out of what and who you do have. Then see if God doesn’t give you more.

If you want God to give you great people, do a great job with the people you already have.

  1. Grow them before you find them.

So often we assume that the people we’re looking for are “out there” somewhere and that our best option is to go and find them. To be sure, sometimes it’s necessary to bring people in from the outside. But in my experience, many of your best people are grown from within. Are you creating opportunities for that growth?

Here’s how you might start. Give them a voice. No doubt, one of the biggest contributors to my own personal development over the past 14 years of working in church work was the fact that I was included in the conversation of where our church was heading even before I was a staff member or a lead Pastor. Yes, I had some bad ideas, and no, I didn’t have a ton of experience or wisdom at that time. But being included in the conversation meant the world to me, and it created buy-in that paid big dividends later on down the road.

We have to put this idea into practice at Oasis by inviting young people with potential into our work environment and processes. We must work harder than ever to develop, mentor, and include new young leaders of all kinds in the day-to-day of what we do, because you never know what kinds of leaders they’ll develop into one day. And I want them to stick them around when they do!

  1. Get rid of the drama.

Nobody wants to work in an environment where tension and frustration are commonplace. Unfortunately in many churches, the infighting and politics are so pervasive that it’s no wonder new artists aren’t interested in joining up. Creating a clear, healthy culture is an absolute essential to attracting new talented leaders. I’ll say it again, Creating a clear, healthy culture is an absolute essential to attracting new talented leaders.

Over the years I’ve worked really hard to keep the vision and values of our church in front of our team so that issues of ego and hurt feelings never really have a chance to set in. Our motto should always be “the best idea wins”. It doesn’t matter if it came from the lead pastor or the janitor, we don’t really care. We just want the best idea. Creating this kind of culture is extremely attractive to new and upcoming artists, because there’s no political game that must be played. And there are no delicate relational issues to be careful of before they can really contribute. As long as their ideas are good they can be involved at a high level right away.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an Ikea warehouse out there filled with talented people—waiting to be browsed for and bought. There’s no magic wand for big churches that allows them to conjure great volunteers. But you can create a culture that attracts talented people and makes it easy for them to get involved.

Let’s make this a very intentional approach as leaders at Oasis.

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