A price too high to pay
I have been insisting in recent posts that faculty are among your most mission-critical institutional assets. Well-funded and well-led colleges will be diminished and degraded in mission effectiveness when they permit erosion in faculty selection, retention, and reward. Short term compromise for reasons of expediency or exigency is not worth the long-term price.
Least first, but then …
My list of faculty selection criteria starts least first. Credentials are of lower importance than other considerations but they nevertheless represent an important threshold of qualifications. So what criterion is first in importance? You have probably anticipated this: Character—or I prefer to say—contagious character is of preeminent importance.
Modeling, not mere mastery
Students become like their teachers (Luke 6:40). … Godliness is more caught than taught. … Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Such clichés are not less true because they are exceedingly familiar.
Do you believe the Bible? Then put your belief into practice in terms of faculty selection. You don’t get a pass on this criterion just because you purport to be engaged in quality postsecondary education.
Character matters more than anything else in faculty selection. Blamelessness is a key biblical leadership quality and must unapologetically trump other considerations for faculty selection. Impressive academic credentials absent impeccable character must never be permitted to qualify faculty candidates for employment by institutions of biblical higher education. If we believe Luke 6:40, we cannot be surprised that a brilliant scholar who is nevertheless an irascible and insufferable curmudgeon will engender the same attributes in your highest potential students. If you long for graduates who display the beauty of Christ’s humility and the joy of Christ’s sacrificial servanthood, choose your faculty accordingly.
Contagious, not benign
But true godliness of character should never be benign. It should be contagious. As you consider potential faculty, prioritize qualified candidates who have a track record of spiritual infectiousness. Look for faculty who will be magnets, drawing students toward Christ and toward lives on a mission with Him. The appropriate faculty standard is not merely commendable but contagious character.
So, ensure satisfactory threshold credentials, seek contagious character, and then … we’ll take that up in my next post.
Fresh gleanings to fuel your leadership awareness, reflection, and conversations …
Results of recent LifeWay Research/Ligonier Ministries study on the state of American theology show that evangelicals—both self-identified and those who qualify on the basis of their conformity to definitional attributes—have major deficits in their understanding of basic doctrines. It appears those of us who are committed to teaching the Bible accurately and comprehensively are not going to run short of opportunities any time soon.