Christian hiring and firing

In a recent Entreleadership podcast, Dave Ramsey talked about his hiring principles and process. Some of the bullet points:

  • The #1 hiring mistake is not taking enough time in the interview/hiring process
  • Every year we increase the time we spend in hiring and every year our turnover goes down and productivity goes up
  • Some of our people were interviewed 10 times over a period of 6 months.
  • Sometimes we hire someone in less than 30 days but that’s very unusual.
  • If you don’t spend enough time in hiring someone, you’ll eventually spend much more time in dealing with their short-comings, and hiring their replacements

Ramsey then spoke of the two essential Christian characteristics of every hire:

  • Opportunistic motivation: People who are fired up and excited about working really hard for a growing and expanding business.
  • Philosophical motivation: People who see this work as a Christian ministry of hope to needy people.

“If people just buy into one of those, we’re in trouble,” warns Ramsey. And what’s the most common missing element? “Most get the philosophical motivation but not the opportunistic.”

Some want to work in Christian ministries but think that means work rate and work standards don’t matter so much as in the private sector. Ramsey tells potential hires: “We work hard, really hard. We view part of our spiritual walk to be excellent in the marketplace. If you can’t cope with Superbowl level of play you aren’t going to be happy here.”

The podcast goes on to a fascinating interview with Clint Smith, CEO of myemma.com, a business that helps 40,000 business around the world with email marketing. His hiring process has 14 steps!

Churches, Christian ministries, Christian employers and business people, we have much to learn!

Listen to the podcast on iTunes here (it’s about #9 on the list).


Check out

Silencing the Devil
R.C. Sproul Jr. with a courageous post on the difficulty of recovering from sin in the ministry.

Why most pastors won’t tell the truth
Adam McHugh on why it’s so difficult for pastors to be open and vulnerable with their congregations.

Be careful with “How-to” sermons
Joe Thorn: “The gospel is what gives power to any practical advice we may give in a sermon. A how-to sermon is powerless without a who-did foundation.

The child isn’t the one that needs killing
So many great lines in this article. Here’s one: “We need to stop focusing on saving the baby OR the mother. We should focus instead on saving the baby AND the mother.”

Christophobia
Report highlights consistent pattern of hostility toward Christian in US.

Be counseled by Thomas Chalmers
12 counseling principles from a Thomas Chalmers sermon.


Tweets of the Day


The Best New Testament Dictionary is…

…the Old Testament. As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, let me give a few examples of how the Old Testament acts as a dictionary for the New Testament.

Prophet
Say “prophet” to most people today and they will think of a fortune teller, someone who predicts the future. However if we turn to the Old Testament we find that while a prophet sometimes told the future, his main task to explain and apply God’s Word to people (Deut. 18:15-22). As it is often put, he was to be a forth-teller more than a fore-teller.

Thus, when Christ is presented in the New Testament as THE prophet (John 6:16; Acts 7:37), we should not be looking for new revelations and predictions of the future (although there are some of these), but explanations and applications of God’s existing Word.

Priest 
“Priest” makes most people think of Roman Catholic priests. In the past, with less media scrutiny, they were thought of as some kind of detached, perfectly holy, super-spiritual order of beings. Today, with the never-ending media revelations, many people hear the word “priest” and think “hypocrite” or “abuser.”

However, Old Testament priests were to be ordinary men who could sympathize and identify with sinners. They were not dressed in pompous royal clothing, but rather in white linen, often spattered with the blood of sacrifices. They were to be filled with love for needy souls (Heb. 5:1-2).

If we want to present Christ as a sympathetic and trustworthy high priest (Heb. 4:14-16), then we need to turn people away from their ideas of modern priesthood and toward the Old Testament description and portrayal of priesthood.

King
For most people a “King” is someone who is above the law. They can do what they like without consequence. They live lives of unbridled luxury. They often oppress the innocent and befriend the evil.

The Old Testament, though, presents the king as someone under God’s authority, someone who was answerable to God, someone who was accountable for the way they related to God and the people, and someone who was to represent God to the people (Deut. 17:14-20; 2 Sam. 23:1-5). That view of kingship will transform our view of Christ’s kingship (Phil. 2:9-11).

Covenant
A couple of years ago, a student and I filmed some “man-on-the-street” interviews on the streets of Grand Rapids. We asked passers-by: “What is a covenant?” You would have thought in such a Dutch Reformed city that at least some people would have some idea of what a covenant was. However, what we found was large-scale ignorance. The closest most people came was the idea of a contract or a deal. “If you do this, then I’ll do that.” That’s what most people think of – some kind of commercial bargain or contract.

However if we go to the Old Testament we find that a covenant is a relationship, initiated and imposed by a superior, with life or death consequences.

Biblical Covenants are always initiated by God, and bestow benefits upon needy and undeserving sinners, who can never repay, but who are encouraged to respond with thankful obedience. That gives a whole new understanding to Christ’s word, “This is the new covenant in my blood.”


Check out

Serving people with mental illness
Thabiti: “Mental illness has for too long been stigmatized, even among helping professionals and clergy. May the Lord grant us grace to overcome the stigma and to be a means of practical help and love.”

Preparing to preach Old Testament Narrative
Some helpful thoughts from Peter Mead as he prepares to preach on Ruth. And here’s part two.

Pastors leaving their flocks
Mark Jones with some tough love from the Puritans.

God is up to something
For those with disabilities, it’s the worst of times and the best of times.

50 rules for Dads of daughters
You’ll need the Gospel after this.

The deadliest job? [Infographic] Not what you might expect.


The Old Testament: A Dictionary of Christian Vocabulary

Since coming to North America, I’ve realized more and more that the USA and the UK are, as George Bernard Shaw allegedly said, “Two nations divided by a common language.”

But sometimes it feels like I’m learning a foreign language. More than once I’ve been asked, “So, what language do they speak in England?” or “What is your first language?” Sometimes it’s just spelling: not colour, but color. Sometimes it’s a matter of emphasis: not gar-age, but gar-age. Sometimes it’s pronunciation: not tom-ah-to, but tom-ay-to. But sometimes it’s a completely new word I’ve had to learn for the same thing: not trousers, but pants; not biscuits, but cookies; not pavement, but sidewalk, etc.

Confusing conversations
I could persist in using my old vocabulary, but it doesn’t get me very far, and can result in some confusing conversations. So, I must learn this nation’s vocabulary to improve both my understanding and my ability to communicate (without losing my valuable accent, hopefully!).

This is also true for all of us when we try to understand and communicate the Gospel. How do we understand the theological words, phrases and concepts of the New Testament? Do we consult dictionary.com, Merriam Webster’s, OED, etc? If so, we will import 21st century Western meaning into ancient Eastern words, confusing ourselves and others.

So, how do we understand the theological words, phrases and concepts of the New Testament? Where do we turn?

The first question
While we may get some light from Greek lexicons, our main dictionary should be the Old Testament. When we come to a word, phrase, or concept in the New Testament, our first question should be, “What does the Old Testament say about this?” Remember, the New Testament was originally written by Jews, and much of it was written to Jews. It assumes a knowledge of the Old Testament, and builds upon it. Therefore, we must always read the New Testament with the dictionary of the Old Testament in our hand.

Tomorrow I’ll give some examples of how we can use the Old Testament as a dictionary of Christian vocabulary.