Laying on hands or laying off staff

A recent letter from our church’s Board of Elders confirms my sense that although many Christians seek God’s will regarding a decision; in reality, most Christians work through decision making the old-fashioned way – thinking about options, considering the facts before them, and then making a decision. The letter states, “After evaluating recent giving patterns to the General Fund, the Board of Elders has determined (emphasis mine) that we must take a decisive step toward “right sizing” our current staffing numbers.” The Board of Elders appears to have given this decision its due consideration regarding laying-off a staff member regarding:

Analysis – “After evaluating recent giving patterns”

Collective wisdom – “After much prayer and discussion”

Decision – “We must take a decisive step”

Reflection – “This was not an easy decision”

 Decision-making is often difficult and stressful. We often have incomplete information and may not always realize the impact decisions have on one’s self or others. Certainly, some decisions made can be better than other decisions but the more I think about it, the more I think God allows us to freely make decisions. My sense, as I read Paul’s letters, is that direct guidance from God was the exception and not the rule. Consider:

Phil 2:25 (I think it’s a good idea)

1 Cor 16:3-4 (If it seems the right thing to do)

Acts 6:1-7 (We need to do something about this)

Acts 15:24-29 (People got together, debated, decided, and acted)

To that end, I don’t believe God routinely directs the decisions we make today. In addition, it seems that so long as any decision made does not violate any of God’s moral laws, then any decision we make can bring about honor and glory to God.


Author: Bob

I’m an upper Midwestern guy who has recently entered the "Buick stage" of life and decided to migrate to Florida. This blog is an attempt to rectify discordant aspects within my Christian faith ... or what often feels like my lack of Christian faith. Things which make life more enjoyable include strong black coffee, charcoal grilling anytime of the year, putz'ing at a table saw, playing chess, a good orthopedic surgeon and an occasional IPA. Please feel free to poke around and comment as you wish. I welcome discussion and the insights of others.

3 thoughts on “Laying on hands or laying off staff”

  1. Bob,
    What bothers me is when a church lays off people in the midst of a big building addition. What’s more important: having a bigger building, or the people that work and serve there?

  2. Thanks for the comment, Mike. I can appreciate that decisions were made regarding the adding on to the existing building and then, all of a sudden, tithes and gifts specifically designated to the building fund dried up as the economy went south. I’m not sure it’s supposed to work like this, but in many ways I see individual churches as small businesses. Perhaps this congregation’s hopes and dreams got bigger than their collective wallets. And then, here’s this new (and significantly higher) mortgage payment and decisions had to made (quickly!) regarding the scaling back of people and programs. I don’t know where I’d find this out – but I wonder just how many other churches have had to lay-off staff?

  3. Bob,

    I’ve been hearing of lay off’s at other churches in the Twin Cities area, like Open Door and Grace Church. Everyone is feeling the pinch of our bad economy. Check out John Piper’s latest sermon about the Recession on He had five points he gave for God’s reason for the current Recession. Some good food for thought…

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