Church Life Can be Messy When Family Members Have a Hand in the Action and a Hand Out for a Paycheck
Contact: Ronald E. Keener, Church Executive, 800-541-2670 ext 204
MEDIA ADVISORY, Feb. 5 /Christian Newswire/ -- While hiring family members on the staff of a church doesn't necessarily have negative consequences, it can have an impact "when regular employees find themselves having to 'clean up' behind the unqualified family employee or when that employee brings unethical practices into the organization while more senior family members turn a blind eye," says Dr. Kent B. Rhodes, consultant with The Family Business Consulting Group.
"So trust becomes a significant issue, but not just with stakeholders or employees--it also can negatively impact relationships with other family members," he says.
Rhodes, a former pastor and now a Pepperdine University professor on ethical leadership, urges family businesses, including churches that have paid family members on staff, to develop a clear policy around the hiring of family members.
Rhodes' comments are in an extensive interview in the February issue of Church Executive magazine. Crystal Cathedral, in Garden Grove, CA, had had a messy staff situation in the past two years where family members believe they have a biblical basis for holding down a paid position in the leadership.
An addendum to the Rhodes article is a position paper of the church that spells out the theological basis for the positions of the daughters, wife, and spouses in holding down jobs. It can be found at http://churchexecutive.com/webexclusive.asp?N_ID=2356.
Coincidentally, in the past week the Cathedral has announced staff reductions and the cancellation of the "Glory of Easter" to make up for a 27 percent decline in revenue last year, says Sheila Schuller Coleman, named as directional leader by her father, Robert Harold Schuller, senior pastor, and reported in the Orange County Register.
In the past two years the son, Robert A. Schuller, was fired as senior pastor, and key staff he brought in to turn around the church were also let go. Kent Rhodes says there are differences between churches and companies where families are involved, but still there are useful cautions for a congregation:
"It is true that a church has a very different reason for its existence over a company.... [Still,] since churches often engage operating systems that resemble systems a business might have in place, it may be wise to also apply other leadership best practices in the operations of the work simply under the continued category of faithful stewardship."
Church Executive is a business magazine for larger and megachurches that deals with the management and leadership side of church.