Building Capacity

Imagine you are placed in the middle of the Sahara desert and you have been tasked with trying to navigate your way out. In this scenario, you have never been to the Sahara before and are unsure how long it will take. One thing that you do know however is that it is hot and dry. Therefore, you know before long you are going to be thirsty. Now for sense of ease and to take care of your immediate thirst, a water bottle would suffice. But not knowing what lies ahead, you would probably look for a container that would hold a lot of water. Although you may not need it at the beginning or all at once, you feel confident in taking on the adventure as the larger container will provide more in the future. To sum up, you needed capacity.

Not to get too metaphorical, but many times functioning in ministry is like trying to navigate in the middle of a desert. When building a team within your organization, professional and personal capacity should be a guiding principle in bringing on new hires. Certainly, there is a job description and immediate tasks that need to be accomplished. However, to build a strong team means having the foresight to look beyond the horizon and try to prepare for what is to come. Likewise, building sustainability into an organization requires constant professional development. Teams that survive the test of time are ones that not only are able to adjust to changes in the marketplace, but have the willingness to continually invest in their workforce. To be effective on these fronts means that teams should be made up of people that carry a lot of capacity. By this, I mean that they have the ability to learn, to adapt, and to grow. Thereby, they develop the skillsets to teach, to innovate, and expand.

Take Google, for instance. In its short corporate life, Google is already renowned for its hiring practices (they even made a comedy about it). What is clear is that the management team is not concerned about new staff being able to handle the responsibilities being searched for. Rather, their interview process is designed to test applicants’ capacity to take on more. Google is preparing itself effectively for the future. They are investing in capacity in their workforce. By investing this way, they know that they will have the capability to develop new product and services that can keep pace with the rapidly adjusting technology sector.

Google should not be unique in the way they search for talent. Instead, they should be example that organizations follow, especially ministries. Too often we hire with shortsightedness. We are so excited to find someone to take the position (and they are believers as well!) that we often jump at the first relatively qualified talent. Though, because we did not prayerfully consider their capacity, we quickly realize we cannot grow with them. This leads to boredom in the workplace and the need to consistently look outside the organization for new hires.

Ministries need to do a better job of building sustainability into their organization. This comes from adding and retaining great personnel to your team. Certainly we should expect that they could handle the tasks associated with the job. It goes without saying that there should be history of faith in action, a clear passion for the mission, and a calling from the Lord from every candidate being interviewed. But if we want to be prepared for what is to come, if we want to build sustainability and develop growth potential, then we are going to have to be hiring for capacity. God will bring the warriors that we can invest in, that can take on more and that we can grow with. Our duty is to have the faith and patience to not be short sighted in our searches. Let’s build capacity into our organizations.