How to Terminate a Volunteer—Part I
The Pastor walked on to the platform during his Sunday morning service and discovered a strong odor of alcohol that seemed to come from the choir. He assumed that the odor must be something else, for surely no one in his choir would be drinking, especially prior to entering Church. When the same odor greeted him the next Sunday, he came to grips with the possibility that someone may be consuming alcohol prior to the service.
The Pastor summoned his “Armor Bearer” and instructed him to locate the person or persons from where the odor was originating. After three weeks of playing Sherlock Holmes, the “Armor Bearer” gave the Pastor two names and exposed two men in the choir, who took a drink every Sunday morning prior to entering the Church. Apparently the two men would disappear behind the Church bus and take a couple of drinks of scotch prior to singing in the choir.
Pastor Versus Two Members
At the conclusion of that Sunday’s service, the Pastor asked to speak to the two gentlemen. In the Pastor’s office, he confronted the two men about their actions. They first denied they had partaken of any alcoholic beverage. However, when the “Armor Bearer” presented his cell phone pictures of the two men engaged in the act, they confessed with the excuse that they were nervous singing before such a large congregation and the few drinks of scotch calmed their nerves, and declared that it helped them to better sing their notes.
The Pastor had become fond of the talent of these two, especially since they had offered some of the best solo performances to the congregation. With much sadness the Pastor expelled them from the choir. Unfortunately, it did not end there.
Two Members Versus the Pastor
Everything seemed fine at the meeting’s conclusion. The two were in attendance the following Sunday, seeming to blend in to the congregation. Then the bottom fell out for the Pastor and Church.
The next week, the Pastor was served with a lawsuit from the two. They implied that his actions had caused them embarrassment within the Church and therefore they were seeking financial reward and their reinstatement to the choir.
Unfortunately, when things of this nature happen, it does not remain between the two parties. News quickly travels throughout the congregation and members begin to choose “sides.”
Hearing this usually means you are in a courtroom somewhere and the Judge has entered. This lawsuit ended in court. The good news for this Pastor was that he had Chitwood & Chitwood in his corner.
We asked the Judge for a Summary of Dismissal on the grounds that the By-Laws we had constructed for the Church included the Scriptural Conduct Living Provision Section (SCLPS), Article 14 Amendment. In the amendment it clearly stated that the Church considered any consumption of alcohol a sin, and therefore unacceptable for any Church member or anyone seeking membership. Both men had signed the SCLPS stating that they were aware of what the Church believed and their agreement to abide by the Church Tenets of Faith.
Within 30 days, the Judge dismissed the lawsuit, and in doing so, vindicated the Pastor and the Church. Had this Church not had the counsel of Chitwood & Chitwood in managing the Church affairs, the outcome may have been devastating for the Pastor and Church.
It is not what you know that will hurt you—it is what you don’t know. In Part II, I am going to show you how to properly handle volunteer staff, and when and how to terminate them properly.
Why You and Your Church Need Us
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The days are long passed when Pastors can just Pastor a Church because of their love for the Kingdom, and expect those in attendance to heed their spiritual counsel. People, including Church members in this generation, are lawsuit minded. The very Pastor they respected yesterday may be sued by them tomorrow. This is why every Pastor, Minister, and Church Leader should connect with Chitwood & Chitwood!
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To register for the nearest Church Management and Tax Conference call us at 800-344-0076 or visit us online at www.cmtc.org. You will be glad you did.