If you take some time to speak with hunters, you will learn a few things:
- Hunters are purposeful. They do not just step out in to the wild haphazardly. They know what they are hunting, where they are hunting, and why they are hunting.
- Hunters know what weapon is required for each individual hunt. Not every arrow, spear, trap, snare, or net is created for universal use.
- Hunters learn about what they are hunting. They take the time to understand their prey. Where does it live, what does it eat, how does it move about the landscape, what does it sound like, what will scare it off, and what will draw it closer?
When we are on the hunt of new leaders, we need to apply a modified version of these points.
Be Purposeful. Understand why you are searching for this new leader. Are you looking for your replacement? An assistant? Building up a new ministry team? Responding to new growth or need? If you know the why behind your search, it will help you identify the right places to seek new leaders. Understanding the why, will also help you spot the who!
Know Your Tools. In other words, understand what is going to secure new leaders. Is this a paying position? Will you be providing tools and resources for their spiritual and leadership development? What are you going to use the seal the deal, once you identify the leader?
Learn About Leaders. Hunting for new leaders does not consist of putting a call out for just anyone who wants to join the team, or putting up a sign up sheet in the lobby, and taking anyone who signs up. Take the time to learn about the potential leader. What are her strengths and weaknesses, what does her spiritual walk look like, talk with her about what gifts and talents she possesses, pray for God to reveal how she would fit as a solution to your leadership needs, and what type of development does she already have or would need to step into leadership?
Hunters will lie in wait observing, sometimes for weeks ahead of their actual hunt. They do this to understand the habits of the game they are hunting, and to make the animals more familiar with their scent and presence so that they are comfortable on hunting day.
A good leader is also watching and waiting, paying attention to the people in their ministry or organization. As we watch and take in the information we learn about a potential leader, we will be able to determine if and when they are ready for the next step. We also want our leaders to become comfortable with our presence so that when they are leading and we pop in to check things out, we don’t make them nervous.
A tribe that celebrates a successful hunt, is not just celebrating the prize of food they are bringing home to their families. They are also celebrating the culmination of all the work that went into preparing for the hunt. In fact, many will tell you most of the work when into the preparation before the hunt. A tribe foresees a need to replenish the food stores, prepares the tools, trains the new hunters, and when the time is right they set out to put all the preparation into motion. If the tribe waits until they are out of food, their hunters may not have the strength needed to endure the hunt. Or, if the hunt fails, the entire tribe will suffer.
A good leadership team should not wait until a moment of desperation to seek out a new leader. Waiting until a vacancy appears could mean that the team is running out of time and energy to get their work done. In desperation and exhaustion we can give up, give in, or make poor choices. If we put effort into preparing future leaders that have already been identified, prepared and developed; then we are just waiting for the moment all of that preparation is put into motion.
Don’t hunt for leaders when your team or ministry is starving. Put the time and effort into preparing future leaders. Do this, your tribe will be healthy and strong.