Friday, August 8, 2008

Authentic Abiding in Jesus, Part One

I had been given a "law" by the school board of our Christian school to be looking for a church to attend. I had left my association with a local body of eighteen years; and after seven months of waiting on God, had not recommitted to another local church. My struggle to know a more authentic experience of Christ had me deeply examining everything about the experience of Christianity in this culture. The board found my non-attendance in any organized, sign-on-the-post group to be a failing serious enough to warrant my firing. They requested my resignation at the June board meeting in 1998.

Not only did they take my job away, but with only six weeks until the start of school I was asked to help find my replacement. I needed to be spending my time finding my own job, not head hunting for the position of a Christian school administrator.

Consider the qualifications any serious candidate needed:
  • four year degree or better in education;
  • references verifying a caliber of character suitable for leading children in the ways of God;
  • ability to discern and accept qualifying families who will mesh well with the mission of the school;
  • encourage lots of these people who can afford private school tuition that the school is good idea;
  • spearhead fund-raising when many of the interested, qualifying families have very little or no disposable income;
  • ability to discern from a very small pool of candidates--since the pay is less than 2/3 rds what might be earned in the public sector--the best candidates for teachers in said school (these folks likewise need references that justify putting them in charge of children);
  • be willing to mop floors, clean toilets and cut grass when volunteers can't make it to do so, as the school can never afford to pay anyone a reasonable salary to accomplish these needs;
  • effectively coordinate and communicate the spiritual mission of the school such that the divided-doctrinally Body of Christ within the community is satisfied enough to join hands together;
  • teach classes as needed;
  • lead chapel programs weekly for kids ages 5-13;
  • anything else as needed since the buck stops at the administator's desk;
  • receive less than half the pay available in the public sector for a similar but secular position.
The stuffy, spiritual thing to say here, "By God's grace I was able to do this for seventeen years." The truth is by God's grace, I survived a need to please others so strong I had done all of the above (and attended church elder meetings twelve years) for seventeen years.

Complicating the picture was the reality we had been essentially a one-income family for all of those years. My wife and I wanted a mom in the home for our five children; and that income had been small. We had no savings. I could not, not have a job in six weeks.

In response to the resignation request, I negotiated this law of church shopping and reporting weekly to a board-appointed representative. I understood the board members' hearts understood law (some were spirit oriented, but out voted) and would be satisfied by my recommendation. They were, and I kept my job for two more years.

9 comments:

Porch Sittin' said...

Shew..Makes me tired to think back at that time. Great description of many years. God's been faithful as always hasn't He?

Iris said...

I am so sorry our "Christian" related enterprises behave so very badly and have people working in these ways. I am a firm believer in being willing to do "whatever," but also a firm believer in trusting our Lord to supply all that is needed, including volunteers to do stuff we cannot pay to have done. He is faithful. Sometimes, we want the enterprises so we push and shove ourselves and others to "make" stuff happen. I think it would be best not to do this.

Craig V. said...

A Roman Catholic priest once told a friend of mine (a friend who is also a pastor), "You protestants shoot your wounded." Those words have often haunted me.

Chip said...

I love Freida's "makes me tired" comment above. That speaks volumes.

You left "dealing with confetti" off your list.

You were the lead domino and lots of interesting things have fallen into place for a lot of people since you took your true-to-God, true-to-yourself step all those years ago.

Thanks for your example and obediance - both while at the Christian School and afterwards.

Jimazing said...

What a teaser... I'm hooked. Tell me more.

Terry said...

I find it very interesting that at the very point you were remembering that situation, another one of our "friends" was writing about abusive leaders. (http://www.reallifeblog.net/2008/08/spiritually-controlling-leadership.html

There is really no place to hide anymore...it is all going to come to light at some point.

We make art or literature out of our lives in an attempt to see it for what it is. I feel it is time to clean our closets out and really become the church we so much want to be.

ded said...

porch sittin' Yep, it was tiring, but God did and does prove Himself continually in our lives and the lives of our children!

Blessed be His name forever!

ded said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ded said...

Iris, thanks for the comment. It is always a joy to have you visit here.

craig v., we do shoot the wounded, don't we? Leaders, also, will often protect their turf of power from opinions that are viewed as undermining their position.

Chip, some of the moments I had to which I responded as the school principal were an absolute hoot in the midst of pressures. I will forever be thankful for the Confetti Wars started by a teacher who shall remain nameless.

jimazing, there's more to come, for sure!

Terry, thanks for the comment. I am cleaning my closet to be sure, but only for the purpose of encouraging others to know Jesus truly is the all in all. This series is about a search I have gone through to be removed from my self-righteousness self-effort and nothing else.