if someone is on a church staff in a support capacity, should they attend that same church?

over the past few days, i've had three different {and unprovoked} conversations regarding this question with different friends, from different areas of my life, some currently on staff at different churches, some never having been employed by a church.

there appear to be no shortage of different opinions.

in my mind, it only makes sense that i attend PORTICO, the place of worship where i spend not only my sunday mornings, but my workdays as well. it is the place where my best energy, creative efforts and ideas get used—i pray—to not only glorify God, but to encourage and inspire the people who sit in the pews around me. from an implementation perspective, why would i not want to see what works, what doesn't and what i could improve on?

from a spiritual perspective, given how much blood, sweat and prayer that i put into PORTICO, could i ever feel anything but divided by attending another church? sure, there might be days when it would be easier, not getting pulled into work-mode when my goal is to worship would be nice, but would my heart be in it? or would i even—horrors—end up comparing them?

perhaps i over-simplify the situation, but if i do, i come by this over-simplification justifiably.

for pretty much my entire childhood and adolescence, my father worked at Chrysler. everything–all the meals my family consumed, Christmas and birthday presents, back to school clothes—was made possible because of dad's pay cheque from the automaker. to go along with that, i don't ever remember my dad owning a car that wasn't a Chrysler, and pretty much every car i have ever owned was the same. to this day, if i bought a car, it would have to be a Chrysler.

did dad have to buy Chrysler? well, no, he wasn't forced to. but to him, it was {and still is} the right thing to do.

and my dad isn't the only one who feels this way. this morning i read an article about Melinda Gates not allowing any Macintosh products to enter their home. would it kill the multi-millionaire to drop a couple hundred dollars on an iPod for one of the kids? probably not, but Ms. Gates appears to subscribe to the same 'you support what supports you' theory as my dad.

last week, on a church communications blog that i read, Over-Communicate, i read this post that has helped me solidify how i feel about this. the post uses John 10:11-13 as its basis, with Jesus talking about the difference between a shepherd and a hired hand in the care of sheep. when the wolf comes, where the hired hand hightails it out of there, the shepherd stays. why? the hired hand only collects a pay cheque, he doesn't own the sheep. the shepherd, however, owns and loves the sheep, and will do all he can to protect them.

this great post has stuck in my head, and the truth is, i don't want to be just a hired hand at PORTICO.

to be honest, before these conversations, i hadn't given all this much thought. it just makes sense to me that being part of PORTICO's staff would mean that i would attend PORTICO. it is where the rest of the staff and i use the best parts of ourselves, where we work side by side the sake of the kingdom of God in this corner of the world where we live.

why would i want to be anywhere else?


D J Futers said...

Great thoughts Suzi...I wonder what (or who) prompted them? :)

susanne said...

@djfuters: strangely enough, it was brought up three separate times by people who don't even know each other! one of them has never even worked at a church. and i started none of the conversations. it just seems to find me...

bajanpoet said...

I LOVE that post. Definitely makes sense to me. "Support what supports you" Didn't the Scriptures say something like not muzzling the ox that threshes the grain? Well that's taking it in the other direction, but mutual support is definitely something I agree with and subscribe to.

My father works at our telephone company, and has done so for several years. I thought about getting a cell phone from the competing company once - but only once .... and have been fairly satisfied with the service from my father's company through the years.

Great post!

AJ Martin said...

Hmmmm. So I shouldn't listen to my iPod in the car?

And we should probably switch to Bell since that's where Crystal works.

Definitely some thoughts to chew on.

Phil Aud said...

Am I the only one who thinks it's funny that you capitalize every letter in the word portico, but don't capitalize "i".

i go to PORTICO.

Not the point of the post...just being a jerk.

susanne said...

@bajanpoet: thank you!

@AJ Martin: i don't know about the iPod or changing phone companies, but i do know that this is what works best in my mind when i think it through, and makes most sense in my life.

@Phil Aud: i was careful to capitalize the letters of your name, and for that you should feel very special. i still stand by my decapitalization of the letter 'i' and the fact that PORTICO should always be in caps. what kind of communications chick would i be if i messed that up? how could you ever respect me? :-)

Phil Aud said...

LOL! You are too funny. i like the de-capitalization for the record :).

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