Saturday, October 17, 2009

You're Fired!

You know...a pastor is the only boss, and the church is the only type of company wherein an employee can legally be fired with no provocation and solely on the whim of the pastor. Because the church is a non-profit organization, they are not bound by laws that protect the employees, and those same laws protect the church from lawsuits that challenge often unfair business practices. Pastors are even better than mothers when it comes to using the phrase, "because I said so!"

We, however, are not unlike a four-year-old whose mommy can't find a good reason for the decisions they make. I, and so many people I know, have sat across the desk from a pastor and with tears in our eyes, and a quiver in our voice we've uttered the words, "but why?" "Because I said so!" Those four words break hearts and change lives. We understand budget constraints. We understand the consequences that come with breaking the rules put forth in the company bylaws. There are many legitimate reasons for firings...and we understand those. But "because I said so!"? Those words are hard to hear - especially when it means losing the job you love, the friends you work with everyday, and the paycheck your family relies on. Sadly, those words also lead to negative views of the church, Christians, and so often - God Himself.

The Ten Commandments can seem like a laundry list of "do"s and "don't"s, but the Bible then goes on to tell story after story after story that all answer the question, "but why?" We see, by peering into the lives of those who have come before us, why God has set up the laws of love in the way that He has. Come on pastors, get off the pew! Just because you have "the right" to use the words, "because I said so" doesn't mean that using those words is the right thing to do. We are not four-year-old children! We are men and women who deserve to be treated with respect. The tireless hours, months, and years of service we give to your ministry deserves better than "your fired because I said so". The way you (we) treat our employees and servants is being watched by unbelievers who are looking for a reason to trust us. The world is looking to us to answer the question, "what would Jesus do?" Jesus walked the earth for 33 years demonstrating how to treat people and how important it is to answer the questions, "who?, what?, when?, where?, how?, AND why?" Get off the pew!

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