Churches must be intentional, not casual about selecting both lay and clergy leaders.
Interview prospective leaders, especially on prior experiences in leadership, reasons for being available for leadership now, expectations of fellow leaders, self-perceived strengths and weaknesses as a leader. Remember to assess on the basis of what the church needs in its leaders, not the marketplace. They might capable lawyers or businesspersons, but not suited for church leadership.
Assess their leadership characteristics, which in a church context means open-mindedness, tolerance for risk, tolerance for ambiguity, courage in the face of pushback and conflict, ability to listen and to nurture, an orientation toward allowing, as opposed to directing.
Seek their attitude about the church's future, not so much their vision for what ought to be done, but how they will go about listening and learning to discern what God wants done.
Assess their willingness to take risks, make changes, see freshly. Risk-taking comes easily to some and seems foolhardy to others. Effective church leaders need to thrive on risk-taking, on pursuing ideas that might prove poorly grounded and ministries that might fail. They need to avoid pouncing on each other's failures. In the spirit of "test and measure," effective leaders know that when something doesn't work, they need to stop doing it, rather than expect it to come out differently next time. When something does work, make it better. In either event, leaders keep pushing forward. Does the prospective leader find energy or dread in this constant churn?
Interview those who work with them, asking what it felt like to be their colleague. Did they feel free to act or stifled? Did they feel affirmed or criticized? Did they find the best drawn out of them or rewarded only for compliance with the leader's ideas? Controlling bosses at work aren't likely to become collaborators at church. Change-resistance at work isn't likely to become change-embracing at church. Risk-avoiders at work won't embrace risk at church
Evaluate communications skills and transparency. Secretive leaders can undermine teamwork and trust. An ability to explain ideas, present initiatives, and listen to feedback are critical skills for effective church leaders
Assess prospective leaders' previous performance in church leadership. Trusted and respected leaders are likely to be trustworthy again. Troublemakers and dividers aren't likely to change.
Value character. Character matters more than specific skills. Getting free legal advice or accounting skills or web support doesn't began to outweigh the damage that can be done by a leader with poor character. You can hire specialists for specific tasks; you can't hire character
Select the best. Don't hesitate to say No to an unqualified leader. If a prospect's ego or loyalty depend on being selected for a leadership post, they aren't a good candidate. No one has "earned the right" to church leadership. Diversity is important, because every constituency in the membership needs to see their "face" reflected in leadership ranks. Balance is important, so that all ideas get a fair hearing. Social prominence and business prominence count for little in the church's unique requirements
Clergy need to be consulted in selecting lay leaders. Lay leaders aren't a countervailing force to keep the clergy in line. They are colleagues in a shared task. If a congregation cannot trust its clergy to exercise a wise and fair hand in helping to identify and recruit leaders, then that trust issue must be dealt with right away.