Heart and Availability Trump Talent and Experience


“Dont’ be impressed by experience or ability; be impressed with heart and availability.”

I’ll never forget the Sunday that we moved in to our new church auditorium, replete with all the new gear to make the room look and sound great. That’s when Mr. Expert showed up.

It turns out he’d been attending for a few months prior to the new building opening, but hadn’t approached me about volunteering in the Tech Arts ministry. But once opening Sunday came and we had the new equipment, he was suddenly Johnny-on-the-spot ready to sign up!

But he didn’t come to me, the Pastor of Tech Arts. No, he made a beeline for another, higher-up staff member, where he rattled off his impressive credentials and years of live sound mixing experience, including a prestigious performing arts venue in town. As quickly as his introduction was complete, he was introduced as one of our new “sound guys”.

I loved that he had so much experience and talent (greater than mine or anyone else on our team, for sure), so I invited him to spend a few minutes after service wrapping cables on the stage during the post-service stage reset. He declined. “I don’t do stuff like that anymore,” came his reply. “Well, we’d love to have your help, but everyone on the team helps with the room reset,” I shared in response, hoping he’d catch the hint. He didn’t. Instead, it took only a few weeks for the powers-that-be realized that Mr. Expert’s experience and ability were all he brought to the team. No heart for our team members or our roles. No availability to do anything other than shine as a top-rated mix engineer.

The problem when a Mr. Expert shows up is that while their talent can be appreciated and applied, the poisoning of team chemistry and morale is too high a price to pay for pure talent with no heart or humility.

QUESTION: How does your church handle your own Mr. Experts?


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