The Attraction Factor

I first met my wife in 1988. I occasionally reflect on what initially attracted me to her. During those early days when it truly was "love at first sight," what were the characteristics I saw that caused me to want to spend the rest of my life with her? Don't get me wrong - I can think of plenty. It's just hard to narrow it down from all the things that I now love about her. I remember telling a friend, "I've never met someone whose beauty emanates from so deeply within her." Maybe that was it. 

Have you ever thought about what attracts people to your church? Or to your ministry team? Why do they join? Why do they stay?

I believe three main factors attract or repel potential team members:

The Vision - It is the vision that draws people Proverbs 29:18 says "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (King James Version). People want their lives to matter. They want to make a difference, so they "sign on" to a vision to do something or go somewhere or accomplish something.

The Leader - You may love the vision, but if you don't respect the leader, you probably won't sign on to the team. We all need to know if the leader can lead and if he or she possesses integrity and honesty. We've all been in positions in which someone says (either verbally or through their actions), "I like the vision...I just don't like you."

The Team - People have to know that the people they are working with are like them. If they love the vision and respect the leader but think the team is a bunch of knuckleheads, then they probably won't stick around. 

However, the order in which people evaluate these elements is not always the same:

Leader-Vision-Team - People attracted to a new church or other organization are usually attracted at first by the leader, then by the vision, and finally by the team. This is because they typically meet the vision or meet the team if they don't like the leader.

Vision-Leader-Team - In a more established organization, it is often the vision that first attracts, then the leader, and then the team. That is because the vision is being communicated at many levels by a variety of people or methods, and it is the vision that is driving the organization. At Granger, people can sign on to the vision, and then it might be months or years before the personally spend time with the senior pastor. But they love the vision, and they've found a leader elsewhere in the church to whom they are connected. 

Team-Vision-Leader - Sometimes a high-performing team's reputation precedes it. The team is known by its unity, focus, capacity, performance, and results. People want to be challenged by, and identified with, that kind of team. 

Whatever the order, be aware of the "attraction factor" in your organization. If you know what draws individuals to your team, you'll be better able to keep them.

This post is an excerpt from Chapter 16 of my book "Simply Strategic Volunteers."

Tim StevensComment