However, when recently faced with a transition my beliefs where put to the test for the following reasons:
- There is a really good chance what the community needs the most will be what the internal hire needs or lacks as well. You can’t think a person who is part of the community, a product of the community, will not likewise lack what the community lacks. Their deficiencies will most likely be the same, unless the internal hire is a change agent, not content with things being the way they currently are. This will take maturity and experience that comes from some source outside their present environment in order for it to be compared and contrasted with their current community.
- Don’t just hire a person from within because they are part of the community. There has to be intentional, proactive planning in place before the need arises in order to get the maximum impact and benefit from an internal hire. Hiring a person from within is most desirable and effective when the intent and effort has been built into the internal hire. If the hard work and effort has been invested in a person then the transition is easy and natural. If not, the community will only grow or change has fast as the internal hire does. Leadership is about being far enough ahead of the community to out point the way, but not too far as to leave them behind. There has to be some basis for leadership other than a title or history.
With this being said, I still value the DNA and ethos of an internal hire, who has been shaped and molded by the community (for good or bad) more than I do the relative ease of hiring out. I would rather work to over come any potential short falls of a internal hire, then work to acculturate the external hire and the community to each other (even though the latter describes myself ). This is not about the skill level, personality or passion of either (the internal or the external), but it is about making value driven decision that are best for the community, even if it means more work. There is just something about being and acting indigenous to your own values, culture and perspective that is beautiful and responsible.
In the end, if a church community is not making disciples (or nor even willing to make disciples) who can fill leadership voids, one has to wonder if their discipleship process is holistic, deep and intentional.