I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other the same way that I have loved you. - Jesus (John 15)
Rebekah and I love the folk she works with at First Presbyterian Church in Brandon. We had another staff party at our house yesterday evening and the experience was - again - delightful.
The excuse this time around was "goodbye" to our accountant, who's moving with his family to Texas, and "happy retirement" to Jackie in the front office. A few weeks ago we all gathered to celebrate summer birthdays; before long it will be something else.
The other day I was picking up flowers for Rebekah's executive secretary and the lady at the store acted surprised. "I didn't think bosses did that kind of thing anymore!" So I also told the flower-store sales clerk about the Godiva chocolate Joyce gets sometimes, when she goes above and beyond, and the lady wanted to apply for a job on the spot!
The point of this post is the value of a positive work environment, and how far-reaching mutual respect is in the office. We really do love and appreciate these folk; and what goes on in the office will not fail to seep through to mission and ministry and worship - in fact, everything that we do as a community of faith.
But I hear stories all the time about hostile workplace issues, and it seems to happen on the staff of churches just as much as anywhere else. Pastors jealous of one another's successes, posturing for influence and always looking over their shoulders. Support staff treated as unequal partners in ministry; a "corporate model" where numbers are more important than people.... All this and more....
To me any situation other than a staff operating as brothers and sisters in Christ is antithetical to the thrust of living Gospel lives ("Living Gospel lives" is a phrase I used in yesterday's blog and I like it so much it may be making regular appearances). If our faith doesn't stand up to the rigors of nine-to-five in the church office then I'd think there would be a lot of re-imagining necessary in terms of vision - and a lot of questions needing to be asked about the purpose of church in the first place!
A couple of staff members have young children, and since the remodel the house sets up extra well for eating all over - so there were people chowing down pretty-much everywhere, the kids were free to move around, and Scout labradoodle had a holiday.
I'm thankful that Rebekah has such a great staff to work with - what an awesome group of dedicated folk! But at the same time I have to admit that Rebekah's leadership style has a lot to do with it; primarily - and you can take this to the bank - because it isn't about her, it's about Jesus.
One more way in which we know we are blessed.