I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately: in the church we talk about the someone is “called" to be a minister, or elder, or deacon. We talk about it in other capacities in the church, too. We even, because we’re good Reformed folks, talk about our “jobs” or careers being callings. However, I’ve been wondering, what difference does that make in how we search for a job, or how we hire employees if we’re Christian business owners?
Let me make a proposal based on a book I’m really coming to value, Selecting Church Leaders: A Practice in Spiritual Discernment by Charles M. Olsen & Ellen Morseth. It’s a great book that proposes a new (to most of us) way of recruiting church volunteers and staff, but I wonder whether it would be good for those Christian employers in the “secular” marketplace who want to put their faith into practice in their hiring.
Here’s how it might work:
- As an employer I ask myself the serious question: “Whose choice should it be who works for me next: God’s or mine?”
- Get together all the relevant materials: job description, characteristics you’re looking for in an employee, the interviewing team—if it’s normally just yourself, try adding a couple of discerning Christian co-workers to help form an interviewing team.
- Talk with the interviewing team about the company’s story—How did the company start? Why? What are the important values of the company? What are some of the challenges the company has faced? Who has been impacted by your company and how? How has God’s presence been felt in the life of the company? (see Selecting Church Leaders, ch. 3 for more).
- Take some time to solicit applications, but also take time as an interviewing team, to relinquish personal preferences and baggage: pray together that God’s choice would win out, and not our own.
- Go through the list of applicants prayerfully. Choose the ones whom God seems to be pointing out to the group—take into consideration all the “normal” factors, like experience, training and skills, but also factor in what the Spirit seems to be saying to the group through your prayer times.
- Then, where possible, invite applicants to join in the prayer and discernment process. (This may be really difficult where applicants are not Christian, and I’m not sure how to deal with that, but I’m open to suggestions!).
- In the process outlined in the book for church recruitment, all the potential candidates for a ministry sit down with the discernment/interviewing committee, and they discern together prayerfully (usually through more than one session) whom God is calling to the position(s) in question.
- Finally, prayerfully make the decision as an interviewing committee, including the final candidate(s) in the decision making process.
I realize this is a really unusual way of looking at hiring, and I know there are things that would have to be modified for this to actually work out. But what do you think? Could it work? Why or why not?