Get to know FAT people
Unfortunately church leaders simply cannot spend hours with every single person in their congregation. It would be very nice, but its simply not possible. However, you want to be involved with training others to train others. But who do you pick? Do you pick the young theological gun who’s read everything JI Packer’s ever written (or name your Popular Theologian of the Month)? Or maybe you pick the shy guy/girl who you really think could be an awesome leader with just a bit of encouragement. Or the natural evangelist who is maybe just a little too enthusiastic?
What sort of people should you be investing in?
Who should you be giving your valuable time and energy?
One of my mentors recently suggested to me that the answer is fat people. F.A.T.
Look out for people who will stick by you. People who won’t let you down. Faithful people turn up on time to your meetings/groups. Faithful people are committed to your vision.
Look out for people who make themselves available. Available people don’t put career ahead of church. Available people will make time for ministry. Available people take seriously gospel mission and are willing to make whatever sacrifices necessary to ensure that they can be part of what you’re doing. Available people don’t make excuses. Available people are there when you need them.
Look out for people who are teachable. I think this is one of the most important (and rare) traits. Teachable people just want to learn. Teachable people are willing to lay aside their own preconceived ideas and adopt new ones, while still thoughtfully investigating everything they are told. Teachable people accept authority. They will actually read the books you lend them (and return them). They take notes during sermons. Teachable people have an overpowering desire to be shaped, grown and formed.
Of course, it would be a mistake to only invest in people who are perfect in all three of these areas. If you did, you might end up training one person in your life, which would probably be unhelpful. But I have found that thinking through FAT helps to see potential in people you might otherwise pass over, and to think twice about the Superstar with the amazing hair.