4 Criteria in Building Your Dream Team.

The NFL draft has just taken place and each team seemed to have a certain philosophy that guided their draft picks.  Some strictly went for the best talent on their board regardless of position, others went for heart and work ethic, others picked for positional needs even if injuries or character flaws were evident.

How do we in student ministry go about selecting volunteer leaders?

How do we in leadership go about choosing the right people for the staff positions?

In building your dream team of volunteers or staff, here are 4 criteria continually return to during the process.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, building and maintaining your dream team is an essential component in a leader’s gift ability.

Character: Non-negotiable Foundation of Building your Team.

The first thing you should be looking for in your team is their walk with Christ and their desire to grow in enjoying and understanding Him more.  This will be important in the long run.  When crisis comes I want to know that there is a confidence and a stability that comes with strong character and integrity.  I would rather “draft” someone who has strong character than some one who has higher competence.  This is the rock and foundation of any quality team.

Bill Hybels said,

I used to think that if I discovered a potential team member who was terrifically competent but a little shaky in regard to character, I could go with the competence and address the character defects over time. But time and past experience has changed my view. Let’s face it, every adult interviewing for a key role has already spent 25, 30 or 35 years in a process of character formation. Not much is going to change after that. So I look for character that has already been positively formed.

Competence: Show up Every Day & Come Ready to Work with Excellence.

Character is the bedrock, but as you continue to define your dream team the next step must include competence.  The draft always includes reachers because of competence issues.  Does the player have good hands, speed, proven success?  After sifting through those who have the strongest character, beginning finding the ones who have the highest level of competence.  Seek God’s direction on leading you to those who have demonstrated and developed their gifts.  If you do not surround yourself with quality people there will be a greater burden on your shoulders and as you move against waves of challenges both with leading your people and leading your team.  How to identify these people?
John Maxwell identities five indicators:
  1. Show up Every Day & Come Ready to Work
  2. Keep Learning, Growing, and Improving
  3. Follow Through with Excellence
  4. Accomplish More than Expected
  5. Inspire and Motivate Others

Chemistry: How do you React when Combined with Them?

Chemistry is all about how substances react, and in a team setting it isn’t much different.  Do you actually want to spend time with this person?  A third criteria is whether or not this relationship will last or if it will feel like pulling teeth during every conversation and meeting.  Ministry is highly relational and as I look to build a team I am looking for people that I want to be around and want to build relationships with.  I don’t want to be dreading those meetings, I would rather enjoy those occasional random unexpected meetings.  If I have done due diligence and have two candidates that possess strong character and competence, I choose the one you’d go and play basketball with.
The best teams have chemistry. They communicate with each other and they sacrifice personal glory for the common goal. Dave DeBusschere.

Culture: Finding people who will flourish on our Team and not feel like an Outsider

You have now found the perfect candidate….or have you?  Each organization and ministry takes on a life and begins to develop a culture.  You may not notice it immediately, but as you lead your people and develop your vision a culture emerges.  What do you value?  What are core issues to your ministry?  As you begin the yearly process in student ministry of finding volunteers this last criteria helps identify which candidates will flourish within your system and which ones you may need to let go who are deteriorating our culture from within.  If they feel like an outsider they will like a drag in the line preventing it from ever being taut.


If you don’t have your dream team, don’t simply look for warm bodies and don’t get depressed, continue to seek the Holy Spirit and keep the bard high!


Would you keep these criteria in this order or would you add another part to it?

What words would you use to describe the culture of your ministry or organization?

If you were looking for a person to join your team, what characteristics would they need to flourish in your culture?


6 thoughts on “4 Criteria in Building Your Dream Team.

  • Love this, David. I’m not sure I would change a thing on the list other than to say that under “Competence” I would include finding others who are competent in areas that I am not. We all need others around me who make up for our weaknesses, particularly in leadership.

    • Charlie,
      good word man. I agree. building or staffing for your weaknesses! Building teams that are productive as a team not lopsided to one type of skill. Thanks charlie.

      • Absolutely. I believe this is essential to any strong team. Over time I think any organization takes on common denominators across its team members (mannerisms, dress, vocal gestures, etc.) but ultimately, an organization/church/business ought to celebrate the diversity within it.

        • Charlie,
          Great point man! There is a culture that is developed but still very important to celebrate diversity within the team in personality! I don’t want a bunch of extraverts! There is a good balance to be had there 🙂 Great thoughts Charlie

  • Chemistry is a big factor for me, as is a commitment to the core values of my ministry. If you don’t agree with a relational aspect of ministry and focusing on raising up students, and would rather do it all yourself or just preach instead of leading discussion, you wouldn’t fit well with Ignite.

    • Jason,
      Thats huge man- if the person doesn’t get along with your core values–even if they are very competent and have good character, it sounds like it would be tough to continually work together! Chemistry is an important factor in selecting the right people to work with.

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