Do I have the right people on the bus? If so, how do I keep it that way? A wise leader actively thinks about this very question all the time. And, a leader who depends on Holy Spirit for guidance probably keeps this very concern on their prayer list as a staple. I know I do.
One thing about teams, people will come and people will go. You’re blessed to have few strong team members who, through the good, the bad and the ugly, stay and go the distance with you. But, what about those times when people leave? As much as we understand people have their own reasons for joining and for leaving a team, the separation usually comes with a sting. In Acts 15:36-41 we see the team of individuals who had covered the first missionary journey spreading the gospel of the Kingdom fall apart. The conflict between Paul, the leader, and Barnabas, a team-member, came down to a difference of opinion about having the right people on the bus. Barnabus believed John Mark belonged on the bus, and Paul believed he did not belong on the bus. Who was correct? We will never know. Who was right in making the decision? The leader. Apostle Paul had the responsibility of using his discernment and best judgement in deciding who belonged on the team. He most likely based his judgement on team goals, the leader’s values and individuals’ motivations.
The team goals for the missionary journeys had to be based on “the things of heaven, and not the things of earth” (Col 3:2). Team members needed to be loyal representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ (Col 3:17), trustworthy, truthful, kind, humble, patient, and full of love. Clearly Apostle Paul believed John Mark did not possess the minimum requirements to be a member of this particular team at this time. He believed it so strongly he was willing to lose a good team member, Barnabus, before he would take in a wrong member. John Mark may have needed a little more time to grow and develop; which he did.
Leaders must make tough decisions; and, deciding who belongs on the bus is one of the toughest.