I’ve always been fascinated by leadership and especially how leaders recruit their workers or employees. The recruiting process in companies, organizations, religious organizations, learning institutions, goverments etc. is one that I’ve studied for a long time. It is amazing to see the different approaches used to recruit and retain workers and employees. Some approaches are very rigorous because they seek to always to get the crème de la crème of the work force.
Here’s a short breakdown of what top companies do during their recruiting process.
- Make calls to assess interest and team fit.
- Skype, FaceTime or video calls with a recruiter – this usually takes three to four weeks
- On site interviews at the HQ or site offices – takes 6 to 8 hours. At this point you get to meet with the people you’d be working with for a culture fit assessment (would you be able to fit into the company’s culture?)
- Week or so later you get your results.
This whole process takes time (up to 4 months or more) and a lot of money.
Medium level companies are adopting such practices to attract top talent. Recently, there was a BBC program that aired that revealed what medium level companies are doing to recruit and retain top talent. Employees of these companies watched secret videos of the interviewees and were tasked with determining whether the interviewees could work with them and for the company.
Jenny works at management level for a top bank here in South Africa and I’ve been interested in how her company recruits and retains employees. The process here in South Africa is different because of the country’s history of discrimination. When recruiting, companies are to consider very key factors such as skilled labor, race, gender, BBE quotas, etc.
On the flip side, I’ve also been fascinated by how grace recruits its “workers or employees.” I’ve been a student of the methods that are used in the professional environment and in grace and their differences are plain to see. Each system works on its own arc. The systems are like chalk and cheese – oil and water. They are so different and mutually exclusive.
How does grace choose its “workers or employees”? What does grace look for in a CV? What is the recruitment process? How long does it take? Does someone need a cultural fit assessment to determine whether they could fit in with the team? When and how do you know whether you have been accepted? Does grace follow the same rigorous and in-depth process in trying to lure “workers or employees” to come work for them?
Perhaps David gives us a peek into the recruitment process of grace.
1 Samuel 22:1-2 BBE
So, David went away from there and took cover in a strong place at Adullam; and his brothers and all his father’s people, hearing of it, went down to him there. And everyone who was in trouble, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, came together to him, and he became captain over them: about four hundred men were joined to him.
These are people who signed up to work in David’s company
- Everyone who was in trouble
- Everyone who was in debt
- Everyone who was bitter in soul
At the onset of David’s company, you should think he could have chosen the crème de la crème of the people in Jerusalem. Instead, it was troubled, broken, and bitter people who joined him.
This is juxtaposed to king Saul. When Saul became king, valiant men — men of valor — men of war came to him. King Saul started his leadership with men that were experienced. David, on the other hand, started his company with people with fewer qualities.
Luke 5:5, 10, 11 NLT
“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” … His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus
The first employees of Jesus were broke business people. Peter, James and John were not successful fishermen. No!
After Peter, James and John, Jesus recruited Levi (Matthew)
Luke 5: 27-28 NLT
Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So, Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.
Why is this important? The Roman Empire employed men amongst the Jewish population that would collect taxes on behalf of the empire. Tax collectors were the outcasts of the Jewish society because they were considered enemies of the Jewish State. These people were considered traitors by the Jewish people and hence were ostracized.
As I’ve studied the bible, I’ve noticed that there is a pattern. Every person in the bible that was used or employed by the grace company had some serious deficits or negatives.
Abraham and Sarah — barren, liars, fearful, impatient
Isaac and Rebekah — barren, liars
Jacob — liar, manipulator, impatient
Jacob’s sons — liars, murderers
Moses — murderer, stammered, fearful
Deborah — woman
Jephthah — illegitimate
Gideon — youngest, fearful
Samuel — Unqualified, young
David — youngest, mere shepherd boy
Jesus — God became a man
Paul — murderer and persecutor
Jesus himself gave parables that revealed this pattern
Jesus gave a parable about being invited to a party. He cautioned against taking the front seat in a party lest someone much important comes and takes your seat. (Luke 14:7-10)
Jesus says more than once that the first will be last and the last will be first. (Matthew 20:16, Mark 10:31, Luke 13:30, 18:14)
Jesus used kids as examples of weakness. (Matthew 19:13-14
Jesus talked about the least of these. (Matthew 25:40)
Paul says that God uses the foolish, weak and despised. (1 Corinthians 2:27-28)
Abraham the lesser was blessed by Melchizedek the greater. (Hebrews 7:7)
The bible calls Christians sheep. Tim Keller says that term sheep is a divine insult because sheep are the most foolish animals in the animal kingdom. (John 10:1-18)
Do you notice the pattern? It is the unfruitful, barren, liars, murderers, illegitimate kids, women, children, youngest, stammerers, discouraged, bitter, in debt, last, weak, lesser, least, foolish, weak, despised, sheep etc. that get the job. These are the people that the grace company recruits. Notice how the recruiting process of grace and the world differ? One relies on strength, performance, effort, experience, credibility, etc. The other relies on weakness, misfits, lack of experience, rejects, brokenness, credibility issues etc.
This is antithetical to what the professionals do. You don’t start your start-up company with such people. No one in their right mind would consider employing such to work for them. Grace is so counterintuitive. It is antithetical. It doesn’t make sense.
When the pattern is broken
Samson’s reign was one of epic failure. He had the natural qualifications that the professionals would look for. He was strong and powerful. Yet, he had passions that burned in his bowels that later became a poisonous chalice. In the end, he died a miserable bitter man.
King Saul is also a perfect example of someone who was chosen because they were qualified. He was handsome, tall, and came from a wealthy family. (1 Samuel 9:1-2) However, Saul’s reign as a leader was disastrous to say the least. His downfall was partly attributed to the fact he relied on himself. Most kings that ruled after David failed because they were born into the pedigree from the king’s house. Solomon, Jeroboam, etc. failed. Why? They were “qualified” by birth to be kings.
Here’s the good news. The best thing about how the grace company is this — it transforms its “workers and employees.” David’s company of troubled, broken, and bitter men later became his mighty men. (2 Samuel 23:8–39, 1 Chronicles 11:10–47)
Grace transformed all these people
Abraham and Sarah — Fruitful
Isaac and Rebekah — Fruitful
Jacob — Name change from liar to prince with God, blessed
Jacob’s sons — Founders of the nation of Israel
Moses — Deliverer
Deborah — Judge
Jephthah — Judge
Gideon — Judge
Samuel — Prophet
David — King, priest, and prophet
The disciples of Jesus became apostles and world changers
Jesus – God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names
Paul – world changer, pioneer
The grace company changes lives. It transforms lives. Grace does not leave you to do it on your own. Grace employs you and empowers you to be successful at your job. Grace attracts outcasts and rejects and turns their lives around.
I think within the Pentecostal movement we have lost this idea of how grace chooses its workers or employees. In most of our organizations and ministries, we choose people who have made it — people with experience, title, honors, etc. When people with less experience, titles, or honors join our ranks, they must go through hoops, hurdles, steps, membership programs etc before they are accepted. We have accepted within our ranks the world’s way of doing things.
Where everybody is somebody
Ever heard of this slogan? “This is the place where everybody is somebody.” It is mostly used in religious organizations. It’s become very popular in recent years. I think the idea behind it is to make people feel good and important about themselves when they visit their settings.
The problem with this slogan is this — behind it lies the subtle message that if you join us, work hard, and try to fit in then you will become somebody. You will achieve something.
What if the slogan read — a place where everybody is accepted — a place where each person shows up in his or her state and gets to sit at Jesus’ feet. At Jesus’ feet is enough room for the rich and poor, gay and straight, male, female and transgender, judge and prisoner, CEO and employee, the last and first, the most and least, the big and small, the young and old, divorced and married, educated and uneducated, Black, White, Indian, Coloured, weak and strong.
So how does grace recruit its workers or employees? If you were to attend a grace interview what would you do? What do you think God will be looking for in your CV?
Based on other standards you would prep and prop up your CV. You would have to indicate on your CV how strong, competent, talented, experienced or educated you are. The more qualifications you have, the higher the chances you have of landing the job.
Not so with grace
I would highly recommend that your CV reads like this — a sinner, misfit, reject, in debt, bitter, barren, liar, discouraged, foolish, weak, despised, least, youngest, afraid, bankrupt, woman, child, inexperienced, poor, failure, unfruitful, murderer, etc. You have a greater chance of being chosen and of service to grace. Grace delights in employing such within its ranks.
That’s what grace looks like