How to Spot “Counterfeit Passion” When Making a Church Hire

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“Just give me someone with passion!”

How many times have you as a leader uttered that desperate phrase in your search for a key ministry hire.

In any organization, but especially in the church, passion is seen as the elixir that guarantees top performance.  It’s viewed almost like a magic potion that turns an average staff person into someone who can leap tall ministry plans in a single bound.

There’s no question that genuine passion is very important. But effective leaders know that just because someone has taken their daily dose of “Passion Potion”, that’s no guarantee that their passion is genuine.

I learned this several years ago when hiring a key department head position. The person I eventually hired impressed me greatly with his passion for this particular area of ministry. But when I asked him about other areas of ministry in the church his demeanor went cold.

He went on to say that, outside his own area of ministry, he had very little interest in the broader church.

I should have paid much closer attention to the alarm bells that were going off in my mind.

But I wanted to make a hire. And after all, this fellow just had so much passion! But it was a counterfeit passion.

I made the hire, and within a year I was regretting that decision.

When you’re building your team, be careful that what you think is genuine passion isn’t, instead, one of these counterfeits:

1.   Narrowly focused passion

Ask probing questions about their interest in the broader church, or about your overall church vision. Is the same passion still there?

2.   All over the map passion

If the person appears just TOO passionate about TOO many things, tread carefully. You don’t want a fad-chaser.

3.   Mood-swing passion

Passion and emotionalism are not the same thing. Find out what happens to their passion when they’re having a bad day.

The point here is not that you should be suspicious of every prospective ministry hire.

It’s simply a reminder to look past the passion and make sure there is strong character and a proven track record in place.

And be sure to look past the “passion potion”.

What are some other counterfeit passions you’ve discovered?

the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Global Leadership Network. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave, Willow & Olive and John, Fiona & Will. Lifelong learner.

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