Notes from the leadership journey!

Category Archives: Books

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?

“Shaped By God’s Heart”

I recently read Shaped By God’s Heart: The Passion and Practices of Missional Churches by Milfred Minatrea. I should have included this book in my doctoral dissertation (how leaders shape missional culture), but I missed it! Minatrea’s definition of a missional church is … a reproducing community of authentic disciples, being equipped as missionaries sentContinue →

“The Externally Focused Church”

I just read The Externally Focused Church by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson (2004). It’s a good book about the church in action through service. Rusaw and Swanson suggest, “Externally focused churches are internally strong, but they are oriented externally” (17). They are “convinced that good deeds and good news can’t and shouldn’t be separated”Continue →

Moving From ASAP to ALAT!

One of my favorite books is The Circle Maker. That should come as no surprise. I’ve written seven posts about the book (last one here, with links to the previous ones). In the book, Batterson writes … Maybe one of the reasons we get frustrated in prayer is our ASAP approach. When our prayers aren’tContinue →

“The CEB Study Bible”

I grew up in a denomination that only read and approved the King James Version of the Bible, and viewed other translations with a great deal of skepticism. But in seminary, I began to read, enjoy, and prefer modern translations (that was also during a time when several translations were developed, including God’s Word, theContinue →

“The Seed”

The latest book by Jon Gordon that I’ve read is The Seed (see previous posts on The Energy Bus and Training Camp). The Seed is about helping you find your purpose in life and at work. The book is a fable centered around Josh, a talented young man who has lost his passion at work.Continue →

“Direct Hit”

Several years ago, Paul Borden consulted with the leaders of the Susquehanna Conference. The Matthew 28 Initiative, a strategy for transforming congregations, developed out of that experience (read more at Growing Effective Churches). I’ve written about Centre Grove UMC’s experience with Matthew 28: see Transforming Congregations Through the Matthew 28 Initiative (the before) and TheContinue →

“The Energy Bus”

Over the last several months, I have enjoyed reading some books by Jon Gordon, including Training Camp, which I wrote about here. I also read and enjoyed The Energy Bus, which is about positive energy. Gordon contends … … positive people, positive communication, positive interactions, and positive work and team cultures produce positive results. GordonContinue →

“HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations”

Recently, I read the HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations by Nancy Duarte. The book brings together, and builds on, Nancy’s previous books, Slide:ology and Resonate, which I’ve blogged about extensively (this post includes links to the other seven posts in the series). I won’t repeat too much of the content from Resonate and Slide:ology, butContinue →

“Training Camp”

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading some books by Jon Gordon. I’ve enjoyed them all, but I think my favorite so far is Training Camp. I read it awhile back, but it’s especially appropriate now as NFL teams begin training camps this week! Training Camp is an inspirational fable that follows the storyContinue →