Sunday, June 07, 2009

Just Doing My "Duty!"

For better or for worse, I did preach this morning- a sermon on John 3 from my files. My music director and liturgist took up the slack in everything the children's time. Like a knucklehead, I did that. I did tell the kids to keep a reasonable distance from me, however!

Well, we have been traveling through the order of worship the past several weeks with the kids, sharing with them why we do the things we do in worship. It's been quite effective and I think the adults are getting at least as much out of it as the kids. Anyhoo, today we were talking about the offering, so the "Young Disciples' Time" was located at that point in the service. We were having a nice conversation about giving out of gratitude and love for God. All was going just swimmingly until I asked, "Why do we give money in the offering? Is it because it's a our duty?"

Duty.... okay, I know NOW that that is one word you don't say in front of children if you want to maintain any semblance of control. It was mayhem from that point on....especially my 5 year old daughter who was laughing hysterically and saying "duty, duty, bathroom pooty...!"

All I could do at that point was pair them off with ushers and let them help collect the offering!

By the way, the answer to the question I was looking for was, "No, we don't give out of duty, but out of love for God," but I guess don't give God your crap is a good lesson, too!

Now for the latest in my file of crap (or duty!) I don't have time for...

First of all, I may have to eventually fire my Admin. Assistant. It would take too long to give all the reasons why, but I've been avoiding it since I arrived and now it's beginning to bite me in the butt. It's not just me, I am getting calls on a nearly daily basis from folks complaining about her mistakes and lack of professionalism. I hate it. She is a very sweet woman. She and her husband have just bought a house and her 92 year old mother has just moved in them. However, supervising her is taking waayyy too much of my time and, no matter what, things still don't get done right. Also, I have some questions about her integrity. Not big stuff, like embezzlement, but wrongful use of her time, that sort of thing. The latest earfuls I got today was several people telling me that on the days I was sick this week, they couldn't get anyone on the phone after 2:00 pm. hmmmmmmm.....

If there are any Interim pastors out there, please hear me... do your best to take care of obvious staff issues while you're there. The Interim even told me that he left that for me to take care of...grrrrrrr!!!

My plan is, with the Personnel Committee, to do an evaluation of her work and put together an improvement plan that we will share with her. We will meet again with her in a month and if there isn't significant improvement, her employment will be terminated. I can't think of a better way to go about it. I've never had to personally fire someone, so if any of y'all have some wisdom, I'm eager to hear it.

Also, I am going to have to talk with our main children's ministry person about not smoking in front of the kids. GEEZ LOUISE! I can't believe I have to have that conversation! This woman is a rock, I love her. She's on Session, board of Trustees, active in Presbytery. I love her, but when my kids come home from a day at the zoo with her and tell me she smoked in the car while driving them, there's a problem! Please pray that I will find the right words when I approach her.

This is all part of the gig, right? It feels an awful lot like "duty" to me!


revhipchick said...

way too funny about the "duty"! i may have to use that just for a laugh!

sorry about the staffing issue--absolutely no fun. ours is part time and way overworked at both of her jobs. i worry about her getting pushed too much and taking too much "duty" from others.

lastly---"don't give God your crap" is a terrific message! love it!

may you have peace as you work through the staffing issues.

God_Guurrlll said...

I believe "Don't Give God Your Crap" would look good on a church sign.

Thanks for the laugh.

Good luck with the Admin Asst. I have no advise but a lot of prayers.

mompriest said...

I think you have a good plan regarding the Parish Administrator. She needs clear feedback, clear goals, and clear consequences. Let her know that the following (list them clearly) are her responsibilities, to be done this way (if that is a relevant), reporting to this person. Let her know that she is on a thirty day disciplinary notice, the end of which will result in either another probationary time (say, sixty or ninety days) and then a return to non-probationary employtment - OR termination at either the end of the thirty or the subsequent sixty/ninety. Or something like that). No fun. Sorry....

Rev Kim said...

Giggling at duty 'cause I'm 12.

Your plan for the Office Administrator is a good one, and I echo what Mompriest said. From my previous life as a manager, I only had to fire one person. Yuck, did I ever dread that! But when she came into my office I kept it short and to the point. It was over pretty quickly and the office was much the healthier for it. So do what you - or the Session really - has to do - some might not get it, but most will likely respect that the decision that was made was in the best interests of the church. More importantly, those who made the decision will know they did the right thing.

Jenn said...

okay, I had to laugh really hard when I read this because on pentacost during the children's time a 9 year old asked me about why the cross is empty...I said because God raised Jesus from the dead, to which he responded, "So Jesus is a zoombie?!?!" I knew there was no real way to recover after that :)

revkjarla said...

duty, duty, duty--I love that your five year old was one of the instigators!!!

please. yes. feel free to smoke. but not around the children who have to breathe in the fumes.

and your plan regarding the ad.min. sounds really good. and MomPriest and RevKim are the bombe.

Crimson Rambler said...

I hear you on the Admin Ass't thing. Is she also a parishioner? awk-ward, if so.
I am contemplating firing our cleaning service ... and there are dynastic issues involved in that one too.
On second thoughts, aren't we exactly supposed to give God our crap esp. when we can't deal with it?
Just askin'.
Iris, do feel better soon-soon. Prayers ascending hence.

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Iris said...

Oops, accidentally commented with my real name!

You all are great! Thank you so much. MP- thank you so much for the thought about the extra 60-90 day probationary period. That will be so important,I think.

CR- yes, I do believe you're right, we do need to give God our crap, especially when we don't know what to do. However, at the same time, let's not give God only the crappy left-overs of our lives and resources.

Thankfully, my AA is NOT a church member.

Rev SS said...

Just getting here .. and still laughing at the "duty" story. Prayers as you deal with the staffing issue and "smoking" conversation. Hope you're feeling better.

Anonymous said...

duty, duty you're a cutie! (that rhymes too) sorry about the staffing issue. I do like your plan- meet with personnel, make a plan, follow it. I'd ask her to sign the plan- that way she can not say she didn't know, etc. then do the follow up- it's not fun but it will make everything healthier and be better stewardship of your time/ talent. I'm a late reader so whatever, but glad to see you
posting! AW in Chicago

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