In The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, I list a number of difficult employer/employee situations in church and Christian organizations and ask, “Why do churches and other Christian organizations seem to handle employee relationships so poorly? Or is it that Christian employees have unreasonable expectations of their employers? Why do apparently good, well-meaning, Christian people seem to struggle on both sides of the employer-employee relationship?”
Several months ago I asked, Is Self-Care Part of Your Paid Employment, and Should It Be? Of readers who responded to the interactive poll, 50% said yes, 25% said no, 25% it depends.
Since then, I’ve done more reading on self-care as it relates to church employment, and today I share the most helpful articles I’ve found.
When I started ministry as an interim pastor, the church’s associate pastor for youth was already planning to leave for medical school. He had served the church well for three years, the youth group was strong with excellent youth and adult leaders, and the church gave him a wonderful and tearful farewell. Today he is a practicing psychiatrist in another province, an active church member, and loves to work as a volunteer with youth.
Why he left and how he left was an open and positive experience.
A pastor shared a personal struggle with a group of other pastors at a denominational gathering. Several expressed support, and the group prayed together, but one of the pastors later expressed this caution:
You probably shared because you thought it was a safe place, but I submit to you that it’s not.
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA is a student ministry with over 1000 staff members serving over 40,000 students and faculty on over 665 college campuses across the United States. The evangelical group has been making headlines recently for its new policy of “involuntary terminations” for staff who disagree with its theology on human sexuality.
IS INTERVARSITY REALLY DISMISSING EMPLOYEES WHO SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE AS REPORTED IN TIME MAGAZINE? WHAT ARE WE TO MAKE OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE, AND WHAT ISSUES DOES THIS RAISE FOR OTHER CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATIONS?
I don’t know who first declared October as Pastor Appreciation Month, but it’s never been a special focus for my congregation. I don’t get showered with Pastor Appreciation cards. No one plans a special worship celebration acknowledging my ministry and leadership. My church has never taken out a full-page ad in the local newspaper with my photo and an expression of their thanks as suggested by one LifeWay blogger–and good thing they haven’t, since I’d feel totally embarrassed!
A fellow blogger laments that blog comments are dying, and another lists reasons why readers might not leave a comment:
the post is already so complete they don’t know what to add,
they take exception to what’s written but don’t want to argue,
there’s no concrete question to respond to,
they’re too tired or too busy,
no one else is commenting.
In my few months’ experience with this blog, I would also add: many readers would rather respond privately than in a public comment where they might be identified.