How to pre-qualify future staff hires, assess prospective church planters and develop existing staff

How to pre-qualify future staff hires, assess prospective church planters and develop existing staff

A church recently asked me to provide an assessment for two candidates they were considering for an Executive Pastor position.

The Harrison Assessment was the tool I used to give a clear picture of the candidates.  Both candidates assessed “high” in the Job Success Analysis portion of the report, that used the actual job description for the position as the filter to measure if they were good fits for the position.  A deep dive into the data revealed insights into their “Traits and Behaviors” that were not evident in the interviews they had conducted.  Both candidates would have made excellent Executive Pastors; but when comparing and contrasting their profiles, in conjunction with the information from the interviews, the choice was clear.  One candidate stood out.

It is impossible to give an adequate explanation of the tool; but you may CLICK HERE for a 4 page online brochure explaining The Harrison Assessment.

If you would like to learn more, CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment with Gary and discuss how The Harrison Assessment might further your mission to pre-qualify future staff hires & church planters, assess existing staff and develop your leaders.


*(c) 2019.  Harrison Assessment Int’l.  All Rights Reserved_v2019.1

Eligibility vs. Suitability

Eligibility vs. Suitability

The two terms ask distinct questions that can help organizations determine if a candidate, or existing employee, is a good fit for a particular role:

  1. Eligibility – CAN the person perform (the job)?
  2. Suitability – WILL the person perform (the job)?

The second question is based on Enjoyment Performance Theory (based on the Harrison Assessment) and suggests that:

… when we enjoy a task – we tend to do it more often.  When we do something over and over, we have a tendency to get better at it through both learning and repetition.  When a person gets better at something, the feedback he or she receives – both from others and internally – is normally positive.  And positive feedback increases the enjoyment of the behavior.  The cycle keeps repeating itself – increasing the strength of enjoyment and tendency for the behavior – and often results in behavior habits that we don’t realize are behavior choices.*

Conversely, the theory holds true for those things we don’t enjoy and procrastinate or avoid doing.

Furthermore, Harrison research shows that employees who enjoy at least 75% of their work, are three times more likely to succeed.  That’s correct, 3 times more effective.

Let me get more practical.

For the last thirty years I’ve found a common challenge among churches, networks and organizations.  Fact is,

As much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions  …according the The Harvard Business Review.

How much does it cost you and your organization for a bad hire?  Probably more than you realize.

It is estimated that it could cost you up to five times a bad hire’s annual salary  (SHRM Study).

This has to do with the “fit” between the leader and the role they are being asked to serve in, or the degree to which they are a “good fit” in their current role.  Here are some of the places that organizations can benefit from a reliable and valid assessment, to determine the “best fit” for a leader:


  • assessing prospective church planters, lead pastors and denominational executives
  • assessing existing staff members at all levels in an organization
  • assessing future and current teams (paid and volunteer)

Many tools have come and gone over the last three decades, some better than others.  Each has certain elements of leadership that are assessed.  Several I use to this day e.g. the behavioral interview, DiSC, Leadership Effectiveness Profile, etc.

For a season I conducted behavioral interviews for church planters and coaches of church planters.  The behavioral interview process is extremely effective when conducted by a trained and skilled assessor.  The challenge is that they are time consuming.

Until recently, the behavioral interview was the “go-to” process to pre-qualify church planters and develop coaches for church planters, lead pastors and missionaries.  But now I have been trained to use a tool that does the job of a behavioral interview, at a fraction of the time normally required.  At the recommendation of my coach, I went through the Harrison Assessment training.  The breadth and depth of the assessment immediately captured my attention.  It is impossible to give an adequate explanation of the tool; but you may CLICK HERE for a 2-minute video explaining The Harrison Assessment.

I’m not wanting to sell you on a new tool as much as to alert you to the idea that there is a resource you might want to consider, to see if this could help you in your next hire OR to assess your current staff members and board members.  I’ve always found that the price paid to prevent a bad hire is money well spent.  In the short time I have been using the Harrison Assessment I have discovered that the insights the client receives have been well worth their investment.

If you would like to learn more, CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment with Gary and discuss how The Harrison Assessment might further your mission to pre-qualify, assess and develop your leaders.


*(c) 2019.  Harrison Assessment Int’l.  All Rights Reserved_v2019.1

Effective Leadership Facebook LIVE Event

Effective Leadership Facebook LIVE Event

There is so much on the topic of leadership that it is overwhelming to know where to start. If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start; help is not that far away. Over the last 30+ years I’ve learned that leaders need two things to grow:

1.)  A clear picture of their strengths and weaknesses
2.)  A clear developmental path to follow

In this free webinar you will learn the essential areas for a leader to develop and a path to follow to grow your skills.

CLICK HERE for more information.

Discover the strengths and development opportunities in your leadership

Discover the strengths and development opportunities in your leadership

Have A Clear Knowledge of Where You Are As A Leader, And How To Get Better!

I’ve found one way to engage leaders in a developmental conversation is to ask them to assess themselves.

There are a number of excellent tools out there that do a great job, providing a reliable and valid baseline that leaders trust.  One tool I’ve used with dozens of leaders is called the Leadership Effectiveness Profile.  It helps a leader reflect on eight key areas that every leader utilizes as she/he leads a team.

When leader’s see their profile it causes them to pause!

To enhance this exercise, InFocus in partnership with Scrappy Leader has incorporated video to highlight each of the eight competencies in the Leadership Effectiveness Profile online course.  The combination of the assessment with the videos is a solid resource to help a leader take the next step in their development.  Ideally, the resource works best in the context of a coaching relationship.

Please CLICK HERE for more information or contact InFocus to SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT or call/text me at 951.473.4481.


Smaller (much SMALLER) Churches Prevail + Bigger (much BIGGER) Churches are Needed

Smaller (much SMALLER) Churches Prevail + Bigger (much BIGGER) Churches are Needed

My wife Gina is a health coach.  One of the challenges she faces in working with clients is their ability to hear that 80% of weight loss is based on what you put in your mouth.  The other 20% is exercise.  Many times, it is like that bit of information is lost in translation.  Instead of putting the focus where it needs to be (food intake) the emphasis is placed on increasing the level of activity – exercise.

It is kind of like going to a church multiplication conference and walking away with a list of things that should be done and neglecting the need to shift the culture of the church.  Culture shift is a much more complicated, riskier and problematic exercise.

An intriguing study was released in March 2019 from Exponential by LifeWay Research entitled: “Small, Struggling Congregations Fill U.S. Church Landscape” (used with permission).  The article highlights some of the findings that will confirm, or contrast with, what you sense is happening with the church in America.  Essentially, the trend remains stable with about 72% of the congregations remaining about the same, or showing slight increases in growth, as the graphs above suggest.

I’ve tracked this trend over the last 30+ years.  It is disheartening to read that the situation is not changing.  But I also have two reasons to be hopeful.

  1. Smaller (much SMALLER) Churches Prevail
  2. Bigger (much BIGGER) Churches are Needed

First, the data suggest that small churches are more effective at making disciples of people far from God.

Forty-six percent of smaller churches (fewer than 50 in worship services) say they had 10 conversions or more for every 100 in attendance, while only 18 percent of churches 250 and above meet that benchmark.

My experience supports this, along with research beyond the US, from the international community (see “Is Bigger Really Better?  The Statistics actually Say NO!” by Neil Cole)  My observation is that small churches should remain evangelistically effective by making disciples through the reproduction of disciplemaking communities.  Culturally, the US is less receptive to creating a culture of multiplication for reasons that I won’t go into here; but the fact remains, the single most important question, that surfaces through the international data from Natural Church Development is an affirmative response to this issue:

Our church consciously promotes the multiplication of small groups through cell division?

It is sort of like when people go to Gina, my wife, the health coach.  When she explains to clients in order to lose weight “you must eat healthy and introduce exercise incrementally” there is dissonance.  The external response is often at odds with the internal response!

Second, we need more bigger churches – much BIGGER!

The mega-church in the US has traditionally, and continues, to attract the low-lying fruit (people looking for a church home who are for the most part, already followers of Christ).  In 2018 the largest congregation in the US had 43,000 people in worship services on a weekly basis – CLICK HERE for more information vs. the top 20 largest congregations worldwide with worship service attendance starting at 250,000+ through regional house church networks – CLICK HERE for more information (albeit dated, but still relevant for my purpose).  In the future, I predict the large church will be re-defined by two characteristics in the US:

  • Disciplemaking communities with the DNA of multiplication that will reproduce into the third, fourth and fifth generation
  • Regional churches of hundreds of thousands of disciples of Jesus vs. tens of thousands we currently see

This is what we have been learning from the international church.  However, the ramifications are much more significant than what we can imagine.  My experience suggests that until the pain reaches a tipping point where the way we are making disciples and planting churches really and truly is not working OR the resources are no longer available – change will be constrained to the pioneers

Here are three broad changes that are and will continue to occur in the future:

  1. Simplify requirements of leaders – namely denominations
  2. More relevant training processes to development leaders – namely seminaries
  3. Proliferation of bi-vocational leaders – namely the local church

Each of these are hotly debated among denominations, seminaries and local congregations. Humanly speaking, If data alone drove change, then change would have happened long ago,  Ultimately, apart from the miraculous work of God, the driving force will be the resources required to run these institutions.  What gives me hope, and prayerfully excites you, assuming you’ve stayed with me so far; is that the next generation and the generation after that are looking for deep change AND the Lord of the Harvest is using institutions that have traditionally been unwilling to change, display an openness to change.  A number of examples can be given in each of the three categories above on large and small scales – but the window of change is opening.

Here are two examples of what I mean:

  • More relational approaches to make disciples and develop leaders through coaching:
    • Every notable church planting network, mission agency and reproducing church has embraced the power of coaching.
  • Simplifying and creating relevant delivery systems for higher education:
    • Fuller Theological Seminary is downsizing their geographic footprint to reallocate resources to reach more students through online delivery systems and making degreed programs fully accessible to leaders around the world, in a manner that would not be possible if they had remained in their Pasadena location.

These examples are like the story of so many of Gina’s clients.  The pain and discomfort of remaining in an unhealthy state is overshadowed by their desire for a healthy existence.  When they reach that tipping point, deep change begins.

May the Lord give us insight and wisdom to seize the opportunity sooner rather than later.

Change Management Resources:




What is the fruit of a disciple?

What is the fruit of a disciple?

I have reflected on this for some time.  Like the last 30+ years.  What is your answer?

When I asked a church staff this question, they responded a month later with a list of qualities that described a disciple.  For example: Godly character, biblical literate, service, humility, shares faith, etc.  And the list went on and on.  I was exhausted at the end of our meeting because I was convinced that no one I knew would ever measure-up; including me.

What I felt they were describing was a list of behaviors to make better disciples, but not to MAKE disciples.

This was troubling to me.  You could pragmatically help your people become better disciples but miss Jesus’ command to make disciples.  Jesus set the tone of His mission by showing His disciples that the best way to become a better disciple is by making disciples.

Taking this a step deeper.  Is your ministry making better disciples or more disciples?  What is the fruit of a disciple?  Simply put, the fruit of a disciple are disciples who are making disciples.

We have taken the mystery of what a fruitful disciple does in the Disciplemaking Collective.  We use a simple path to help disciples assess where they are on their disciplemaking journey called the Disciplemaking Coaching Guide and Storyboard (see image above).  CLICK HERE for more information.