We preacher types can get awful indignant in our frustrations. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard one of us say: “The elders are not my boss, God is my boss, I don’t work for the church”, or something along those lines. I want to challenge your thinking on that statement and its implications some.
I understand the frustration that comes from that. Having to deal with times when “everyone” in the church tries to tell you how to live every part of your life - because, after all, they pay your salary. Dealing with ineffective leaders and sometimes ungodly “shepherds” who think you are nothing more than a hireling at best and a glorified errand boy are worst (SIDE BAR: I need to be clear, I’ve worked directly with 25-50 elders in churches I’ve served with and hundreds of others in various settings and BY FAR, like 95%, of them are wonderfully godly, compassionate men who with all their heart want what is best for every one of the “sheep”. But sadly it only takes on doing wrong and the others not withstanding or being unwilling to correct a mistake for most preachers to develop a fear that all are like that “one”. And it seems about 1 in 5 preachers has at least one horror story of being treated in an ungodly way). Now, back to our previously scheduled blogpost.
There is a smugness in that approach that while it may make us feel better and as much as we might want it to be it is not reality.
Yes, God is my boss, but I’ve never gotten a check that He signed. God is my boss, but he is also the boss of the Christian truck driver, the biochemist, the engineer, the pharmaceutical salesperson, the IT girl and the teacher. For us to parrot that God is our boss exclusively hints at a clergy system in which we make ourselves more important than others. It could also give others the impression that while the preacher works for God, they don’t. But if God is their boss too, their ethics, language, how they treat others and their demeanor all must be considered in light of who they are ultimately working for (Ephesians 6:7-8).
Now back to us preacher guys: Yes, God is my boss but the elders are my employers. And while it may make me feel better or more secure or less controlled most of us accepted an agreement to work with and be paid by a congregation overseen by an eldership. We agreed to a certain salary and as employees we to must live under that same code of ethics (an honest days work for an honest days pay) as our non-church employed brothers. They are our bosses and if part of that job is described as to visit hospitals or cut the church yard or keep office hours, then, unless, it is something ungodly they ask us to do we are obligated to follow. We can negotiate and discuss and work with the situation we might find ourselves in but if we find ourselves in an untenable work situation we must either accept it or leave.
Someone says, “but I had a change in the eldership, these aren’t the elders that hired me.” May I gently respond: “welcome to the real world.” Others bosses, die, get transferred, retire, resign too.
I anticipate some strong responses to this one but sometimes we need a strong dose of medicine to get the point across. I love you my preaching friends and on this blog I try to be an advocate and an encouragement for you but some of you need to hear this one.
Be thankful you get to work with some of the finest folks on earth and in the greatest organization ever conceived. Yes, we do work for God - all of His People do.