Tim Stevens writes: Way back when I was first hired at Granger, my boss talked about the importance of attending the church where you work. At first I thought he was joking—I had never heard of anyone working at a church where he or she did not attend. He told me of several situations where that was unfortunately true.
I wrongly assumed it was a dying pattern. In fact, the number of churches I hear about who hire staff members to do jobs rather than ministry is increasing. Recently I learned of a large church that had a senior-level staff member who attended a different church. He sat on the leadership team, making decisions about starting and stopping ministry programs at a church he did not even attend. I learned of another church where staff members in the accounting department were prohibited from attending the church. I know of another church with a preschool where the teachers do not attend the church, and in fact, they are known to speak negatively to the parents about the church.
I think I know where this comes from. Pastors have been burned, and so they make policies to reduce potential conflict. Somewhere along the way they had to fire someone, and that person left the church in a huff with all his or her friends and family members. And so they said, “Never again.” They figured it would be easier to manage conflict if the individual didn’t get rooted in the church.
I get it. When I had to let employees go, they often left the church angry and confused. Which meant all their family members who attended left too. And their best friends. And a few people who just started attending who heard about the drama and decided they didn’t want to get involved. And honestly, on those dark days I wondered about changing my philosophy.