Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pastors Outside the Church

Every so often I'm caught off guard by the expectations, ideas, and misconceptions people have about pastors. I thought it would be a less frequent happening with me being outside the parish ministry at the moment, but if anything, it has happened more.

To give you a little background, I'm the manager of a community center in rural Louisiana. I oversee the day-to-day operations, bring in new ideas, and try to keep things running smoothly as I try to bring more people in to use the facility. I have a staff of 5 under me, three of whom are maintenance staff. I have an office assistant, an evening "building babysitter", and the three maintenance workers. The evening worker is the mother of one of my maintenance workers, and that maintenance worker is the father of another maintenance worker.

One of our workers left something fairly serious undone, and it could have been a very costly mistake. Fortunately, it turned out not to be so, but it could have been bad. And then something went missing at work, something only a worker with a key would be able to access. I asked everyone who has a key if they had used the missing item. I didn't accuse anyone of stealing, and I wasn't harsh. Nevertheless, the mother of one of the workers came in to the office today and gave me twenty minutes of heck. And she capped it off by saying, "And you [sic] a pastor. I expected better from you."

So what was it I did that was un-pastorly: overseeing my staff? Holding them responsible for their actions? I guess I'm missing something . . . and have been for a long time.


Tim Kuehn said...

"And you [sic] a pastor. I expected better from you."

My immediate response would be "and what exactly do you expect from me?"

In fact, why not call that person back in and ask her that question.

Anonymous said...

Ah Alan! Welcome to management, you'll be continually surprised at people, usually dissapointed, but once in a while you'll be truly astonished.

There will occasionally be a bright shining star that will make it all worthwhile, but most of it? Sad.

I could write tomes on management and the lack of accountability in society these days. People are astounded when you actually follow up on things and hold them to their word or the job to which they were hired. It's sad in so many ways.

Smith said...

Hmmm, you just met the thief!