There are many ways to assess potential church planters and prospective pastors. We have some of the best assessment tools in our toolbox in the Minnesota-Wisconsin state convention. Yet there is one question that I think rises to the top, “Do I like to be around this person?”
I believe that someone can know a lot about church planting and church growth but they are never going to be successful in planting a congregation or moving a church forward. Because ministry is really all about people, I have come to the conclusion that liking people and being able to have people like you is a necessary ingredient.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not condoning being a people pleaser or helping the hearers to have “itching ears.” Rather, I am talking about how Jesus “grew in favor with God and man.” My reading of the Bible shows me that people liked being around Jesus.
It seems to me that we forget the obvious sometimes. God wants us to be a pleasing “aroma” to other people. We need to find ways to get into the lives of people and allow them to enjoy our personalities. How do we find ways to have people enjoy being around us?
We start allowing their interests to be ours. Have a sense of humor as the average person loves to laugh. Be ready to research areas that you might not already have so you can connect with other people. If possible, meet them at their workplace and take a tour of their office, factory, etc. Allow yourself to be somewhat vulnerable so they can see inside of you.
Remember, we are looking for the person of peace as we minister the gospel. We ought also to be the person of peace so people want to stay in our home and hang without us.