In the past 3+ years I’ve known countless friends who have lost their jobs in ministry.
One day they are a centerpiece of the churches living room. The next, like a couch, they find themselves on the curb. Alone. Broken-hearted. Trying to figure out what’s next or if there is even a next.
Their hope is that someone picks them up before the rains come and ruin them. They know they still have some life in them. But being taken out of the living room and dumped on the curb hurts. Bad.
Sure, it hurts to not have a place to serve. And it definitely hurts to lose a paycheck. But what really hurts these folks suddenly displaced, often blamed on the economy or a new vision, is that it reveals a hidden side to their relationship that had never been revealed before.
Somewhere, in hushed tones, they were talked about like a commodity. A thing and not a person. I line item and not a minister of the Gospel.
They gave their heart. They gave time money couldn’t buy. They invested time in other people’s kids at the expense of loving themselves or even their own kids. They proudly told people which church they worked at. They stood up for the pastor when it all went to pot. They prayed with countless people about countless things.
Until one day they discovered that all of that had a revenue goal tied to it. Or an unspoken expectation. Or that their ministry was just a line item on a budget. And somewhere. Somehow. Some way. Somebody didn’t look at their ministry as doing life. Instead, they looked at them as a role, something to be bought or sold or traded or dispatched.
And suddenly, in a letter or in a meeting or yes– on a sticky note, they have found themselves on the outside looking in.
Friends- you aren’t a commodity. Jesus doesn’t look at you that way. And I’m sorry that the church has treated you that way.
It’s not supposed to be this way.
If you’ve been left out on the curb I want to hear your story. Leave a comment with your story or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.