Friday, June 3, 2011
How to "retire" a church worker
One last blog in this series for now about how to have a successful church. Suppose you have been reading this and you agree that it is time to restart your church on the path to success in being a Godly Ministry.
But you face one LARGE hurdle in accomplishing your task. We’ll call him Elder Smith.
Elder Smith grew up on your church, raised there by his family that still attends, even his grandkids and maybe great grandkids, just as he did when he was a great grandchild of one of the founders. Elder has become one of your oldest members and his ability to be an active part of your congregation is very limited. Everyone feels sorry for him, and no one wants to hurt his feelings, so he is put on committees so that he will still feel a part of the congregation. You as a pastor in particular do not want to upset him, as his family might retaliate, (Christians retaliate? Well, church members at least!) and cause discord or leave the church. (sometimes that is a blessing too.)
How about giving Elder Smith a retirement party? We give employees who have served a company for many years retirement parties. So why not do the same for someone who has served the church for so many years. This gives them the dignity to leave the post, their family can celebrate the occasion, and quite often the person who was in that position is grateful to finally be off the committee.
It happened to me one time. He wound up in the hospital a few weeks after his “retirement”, and he told me when we were alone that he was so glad that he finally didn’t have to serve actively anymore. His health wasn’t the best and he had a hard time making the meetings. He counted it a blessing. We gave him a small party after service one Sunday. We had everyone bring a “covered dish” to the social hall before church, and we purchased a specially decorated cake from a local bakery and decorated with some balloons and décor from the dollar store. The cost was fairly low to the church, but the results were rather high.
No one was hurt. People who needed to serve on the committees were now in place. And the church continued to function.
Solutions can always be found, if you are willing to look at the problem in a new light. What can you do with your ministry to make it a success? I would love to have some comments from others who have implemented some ideas that turned their ministry around.