Please forgive me, but I can’t undo my past. Almost 20 years I spent in the area of industrial relations, brokering peace between workers and supervisors through my position as a health and safety professional.
Whilst the cultures in these offices weren’t perfect, they were certainly offices, for the most part, that honored and backed their workers. I’d have had a lot of trouble staying with an organisation which could not respect and back their workers. The caveat here is I have heard lots of horror stories, and noticed a few, but it was not my experience for the larger part. The companies I worked for always appeared to be striving for excellence in the ideal way.
When I contrast the church office with the secular office, through all of what I read and understand from experience, it still amazes me how woefully struggling pastors could be treated.
When people are under their best they perform at below their best.
All of us perform poorly at some stage.
Where is the support so we can rise back to our very best?
The church could learn a lot from how high-reliability organisations operate. For starters, they endeavour to get a Just Culture. Melbourne FL Wildlife Removal is all about because everything is consumed civilization. And, yes, churches have their own culture, a sort of DNA which epitomises the way they operate.
It’s commonplace industrially for workers to have the security of an Employee Assistance Program. This entitles the worker and their family members to completely confidential psychological counselling and support. I am aware that policies imply that there are, by a standard, 3 to 6 visits created. But I know the truth in businesses having an employee-friendly culture. They do not place such a limitation where there’s the requirement for more support.
In actuality, my experience with all the organisations I have worked for is that they are going to do anything reasonably practicable to support an ailing worker. And any worker who had a really honest relationship with their company could negotiate anything, since the employer actually wanted the best for the worker.
The employer was investing in not only the employee, but in the psychological, social and psychological environment of the employee. It was their ethical responsibility in realizing the’system’ that underpins individual aspects.
Churches have to invest in their pastors, as pastors invest in their churches.
This was the same with workers who had alcohol and other drug problems; I helped facilitate programs to fortify rehab, so long as the worker managed to continue being fair, there was nothing we wouldn’t do to encourage them. This doctrine underpinned the use of policies which were written.
Now I know that a few churches, and likely many, would help their pastors and paid ministry employees to this degree; into the true amount of having faith within the connection that neither will be screwed.
I guess, however, there’s a chance that some churches don’t, or won’t, or can’t, help their pastors and paid ministry employees to this degree. A few of the reasons might be quite practical. Sometimes it is exactly what it is, and we can not do anything about it. However, I really do wonder if more can not be done in order to check in on pastors and paid ministry employees, regarding their health and well-being, to understand their issues, and also to give them remedy to counselling and other types of support.
If we can enable a worker in the secular workplace to take time off or to make other reasonable adjustments to their job, or to give them counseling support, and to be on the front foot in checking in on them, to determine how they are going, why can not we do this in the church to our pastors?
If we could understand when an employee in the secular workplace is stressed, or who is bound up in battle, or they’re unhappy or angry for any logical reason, why can not we extend this into the church office?
If bullying and harassment and mistreatment can occur in the secular workplace, it may occur in the church office. I’ve observed mediation in both office settings, as well as the church, from my experience, has a great deal to learn. When there’s an issue that needs mediation, so all parties have been encouraged, surely it’s incumbent on secular church or management leadership (whatever the circumstance is) to organize a genuinely independent and proficient individual or staff to do it. So root causes of conflicts could be established and balancing brokered.
Can churches not see the working environment for pastors is poisonous?
It’s exemplary leadership when churches devote to protecting their people in such a hazardous environment.
I believe there’s an chance for the church to know it’s an industrial relations environment, and have systems and policies and procedures to take care of a selection of issues, so that pastors feel adequately supported, and churches may feel protected.
I find it’s reprehensible that a typical employee might get fair and full assistance from their employer, and they should, (and I know that many still don’t ) yet churches aren’t willing, in many circumstances, to support their pastors to the exact same kind of degree.