Identify the right competenciesWhen I’ve helped pastors develop leaders, I ask, “What do you want your leaders to be able to do?” “Well… lead.” I get the same responses when I ask search committees and elder boards, “What do you want your pastor to be able to do?” “Well… pastor.”

We need to drill down beneath the surface to get to the essential qualities and behaviors to look for in a pastoral selection process.

Why most pastoral selection processes fail miserably is because they’re not asking what the candidates are able to do. They look at character and theology but—with the notable exception of preaching—they don’t look at what the candidates are actually able to do. What skills do they possess? What competencies have they demonstrated?

So before you hire your next pastor or staff member, think specifically about the role they’ll be filling. What competencies are needed? Consider the general categories below. Some roles may require more visionizing and less shepherding. Others may require extensive collaboration but less evangelism.

Behavior categories
• personal spirituality
• communication skills
• shepherding
• family life
• disciple-making
• evangelizing
• visionizing
• leadership
• building healthy relationships
• perseverance
• collaborator
• team building

Now for each of these categories, what behaviors would you want to see that would indicate that the pastoral candidate possesses the needed skills? For example, many people can talk a good game when it comes to evangelizing, but what happens when you tease out the specific behaviors that demonstrate skill in evangelism?

• directs ministry in an outward focus on the community
• engages relationally with people outside the church
• fosters authentic friendships
• contextualizes and articulates the gospel appropriately
• equips people to engage their relational networks

When you drill down into specific behaviors, you begin uncovering the true level of competency. Taking a competency-based approach will provide a much clearer picture of a candidate than a vague or subjective assessment such as, “He seems like a good guy.”

Do you want to connect to develop specific competencies for your setting? Logan Leadership can help you upgrade the quality of your selection process. You can even use these competencies to develop your current and future leaders. Contact us at

Reflection questions:
1. Consider the specific role you need to fill. What general areas of competency might be needed?
2. Take one of those competency areas. What specific behaviors might indicate competency in this area?
3. How could it be helpful to have a listing of specific behaviors needed to fill a certain role?