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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

28 Aug '13

The underbelly of hiring leaders in the Christian community

Posted by T.J. Addington in dysfunctional leaders, hiring
Christian ministries can be gullible and foolish, especially when it comes to hiring leaders. It shows up in their unwillingness to do due diligence in hiring people they want for their organization. 

A great example of this took place some years ago when an individual left our organization in anger - after a history of poor leadership. He soon emerged as a major leader of another ministry which never talked to any current leader in ours. 

That new leadership position did not last (no surprise) and I asked them in the aftermath why they never talked to us. "He told us not to" was the answer. Now that answer would have caused me to make a phone call but they, in their desire to get the fellow, chose not to ask and like us had to clean up a mess after this leader was again let go.

I am watching this play out right now with a "Christian leader" who has a history of lack of accountability, financial mismanagement, ethical issues, unkept promises, lying, probably fraud and certainly serious lapses of wisdom. While those in his former ministry are still cleaning up the mess left behind and dealing with lawsuits and broken promises, the leader in question has just moved on (without resolving the past issues and denying culpability in any of it), is reinventing himself as a "Christian leader" in other venues. And no surprise to me, those who have let him into their circles have not done due diligence by speaking to his past ministry.

What happens in these cases is that more people get hurt and those responsible for allowing it to happen are other leaders who have chosen not to ask the critical questions. 

Why do they do this? They see something they want and would rather get what they want and take the chance rather than do some homework and hear inconvenient truth. In doing so they are contributing to the dark underbelly of leadership in the Christian community where people with personal agendas can use a ministry platform to carry it out knowing that many believers don't bother to do their homework. It also contributes to the celebrity culture of Christian ministry at the expense of character and Godly character.

If we believe that Godly character is at the foundation of all Christian ministry we will not stint on doing due diligence! Even superstars do not belong in leadership positions if they do not have the character to back it up and if past performance is the best indicator of future behavior it becomes all the more important that we do our homework when hiring leaders in ministry settings.