Character, Competence, & Chemistry

I’ve been familiar with these terms for a while. These three Cs—Character, Competence, and Chemistry—are critically important for teams, including church ministry teams!

I was reminded of this again lately as I’m reading slowly through Leadership Axioms: Powerful Leadership Proverbs by Bill Hybels. The book includes brief sections on 76 different concepts, including a chapter on these three Cs.

Character
Often, our tendency is to put competence at the top of the list. But character is really the most important element. Andy Stanley says, “Have a ministry; don’t hire one!”

Hybels writes …

You have got to do your due diligence to be sure the person you’re about the invite onto the team has a proven track record of being a truth-teller, a covenant-keeper, a person who seeks to be conformed to the image of Christ, someone who manages relationships well, and one who credits the efforts of others when a victory is won.

Character matters. A lot.

Competence
Competence also matters, of course. It’s the most obvious element of the three Cs. As a leader, you look for “gifts and talents and capabilities that will take your ministry to the next level of effectiveness.”

Chemistry
As Hybels notes, chemistry often gets overlooked. We expect competent people fit in and play well with others. But that’s not always the case.

Hybels confesses …

I learned the hard way to trust my gut on this: if I get negative vibes the first two or three times I’m in someone’s presence, it’s likely I’m not going to enjoy working with that person day in and day out. Sounds crass, I know, but I have learned this painful lesson too many times.

These three Cs are important for all kinds of teams. It’s particularly challenging for (mostly) volunteer teams like the teams found in churches. Sometimes, the primary requirement to be on a team in a volunteer organization is simply willingness. Beyond that, we recognize, to some degree, the value of character and competence. But chemistry—the ability to fit in and play well with others—is the most overlooked.

How do you discern whether a person is a good fit for your team?

Add a Comment