Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about the issue of leadership. Really for a few reasons:

• First, this fall our kick-off series will revolve around the issue of leadership;
• Secondly, I have just started attending a pastor’s coaching network down in NYC, and a major thrust is the issue of leadership.
• And thirdly, it is one of my favorite topics to read and discuss.

What it got me thinking about was leadership here at our church. I think one of the strengths of the Ithaca Vineyard is that we have consistently had highly skilled and gifted leaders leading here. Some are people who have come in already with a high level of leadership skill…others have been raised up here.

But as I’ve been thinking about the types of leaders we’ve had it got me thinking about how we select leaders. What are the key things we look for. At the top of the list would be character. A person could have all the skill & gifting in world, but if they are not possessing and developing godly character, you’re begging for problems.

Beyond character, and some leadership gifting/skill, there are really 3 main things we look for when selecting leaders for our church. And all three of these need to be present:

1) They Love God. We really don’t care how long you’ve been a follower of Jesus…what degrees, you have, or how many years you’ve done this ministry or that. What matters is “what is your relationship with God like now?” Is it growing? Do you love to worship? Are you closer to God now than you were 5 years ago? 6 months ago?

2) They Love People. It is amazing to me how many Christians don’t really like other people. They don’t like people in other churches…they especially don’t like people who don’t profess to be followers of Jesus…and in everything they do, they communicates that. There is often an “us versus them,” mentality among Christians in our area…when we select leaders here, rather than “us versus them,” I want leaders who have the mindset that it is “us FOR them.”

3) They Love the Ithaca Vineyard. Bill Hybels is often quoted as saying, “the local church is the hope of the world, and its hope rests in the hands of its leaders.” While there are plenty of good churches out there, I think that those who are leading here need to believe that what we are doing as a church makes a difference in people’s lives, and in our city.

Over the past 9 years, as I’ve meet with the various people who have been in leadership in our church, I am continually amazed at the people that God has brought to be a part of this…I have been humbled by the passion they have for God, for people, and for this church. They are people I love to hang out with, because they are so encouraging.

As we continue to hold this standard for leading here at the Vineyard, I think there is no limit to what God can do!