Sunday, 20 September 2020

Building Our Pregnancy Centers Starts with Heart

Talking with a director on the phone the other day, a question came up regarding her search for a new director of development. What type of person would be needed?

“Look at the heart of candidates,” I said. “The development stuff can be learned. If you get a person with the right heart, a person who wants to ‘sell’ the ministry and is great with people you’re set; everything else can be picked up through books, conferences and in-depth training (specifically, I mentioned Heartbeat’s Institute for Center Effectiveness).”

Tweet This: "A heart can be molded, but we can't 'teach' heart." @KirkWalden #prolife

One of the strengths of pregnancy help organizations (PHOs) is our ability to hire people with good hearts, and we need to make sure this strength remains. Keeping this strength however, is always a challenge.

In today’s high-tech society, the idea of having the best in everything can be extremely positive. Why should we—as a non-profit—suddenly settle for the cheapest, the hand-me-downs, or the “we can’t use it anymore so we decided to give it to you?”

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If I were king of the world, I would want each of our PHOs to have the finest office facility in each of our cities. Along with that, I’d throw in the newest ultrasound machines, hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing, and make sure our salaries were competitive with anyone in the business world, so that we could retain, and hire when necessary, the best and the brightest in each of our staff positions.

But... if I were hiring the best and the brightest, I would not look first at achievements, expertise or education. The first characteristic I’m looking for is a candidate with a heart for God, and a heart for what we do.

A heart can be molded, but we can’t “teach” heart.

Everything else—ultrasound, fundraising, abstinence education, working with clients—can be taught. Sure, some of our positions require professional degrees and training to even get in our door for an interview. We can’t hire a nurse manager with no medical education, certainly.

Yet, the highest order of business in our PHOs is finding the right hearts. As evidence, let’s remember that when God went about choosing Israel’s first king (Saul), He gave the people what they wanted; a guy who looked like a king, who had stature and, as the political pundits of today like to say, he had “gravitas.” But Saul didn’t fit what Israel needed.

When everything went awry and God offered a second king, He did it His way. God looked at the heart, and Israel received its greatest king, David.

Watching politics today, I get a kick out of watching the media lose its collective mind over the littlest things. For instance, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker does not have a college degree. He is likely running for the presidency, and the media is shocked—shocked, I tell ‘ya!—that this “rube” is even a serious contender for the highest office in the land.

The media thinking of course, is that a president must have a college (preferably Ivy League) degree in order to best lead our country.  Because Gov. Walker dropped out of college 34 credits short of a degree, the establishment press now declares Walker to be deficient in his credentials.

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I don’t know Gov. Walker well enough to know whether he should be the next President of the United States. But I do know that a college degree (full disclosure: I have a degree so I’m not knocking it) is not the most important factor in determining whether someone can lead the free world. Instead, we need to look at decision-making skills, values, leadership and more.

Tweet This: "We need excellence, without a doubt. But we need something more." @KirkWalden

The point is this: As we look at the people we need in order to be successful as PHOs, there are many characteristics we need to consider. Expertise is certainly one of them. As is education. As is experience.

But give me a staff full of passion for our calling, energy to fight through every obstacle, and love for each other and we will change the culture around us. We need excellence, without a doubt. But we need something more.

Our calling is primarily one of a desire to serve those we see. As we sift through the many candidates wanting to join us in our mission, the heart is a great place to start.

Kirk Walden

Kirk Walden is a senior writer with Pregnancy Help News, an Advancement Specialist with Heartbeat International and author of The Wall. For banquet speaking engagements, contact Gloria Leyda at Ambassador Speakers Bureau. His new Faith Revolution Podcast is online at

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