There is a local church that has a long standing policy of never firing staff. You can lie, steal, sleep, be incompetent, create chaos or commit any other infraction that does not end in you being buggied off to jail, but you won’t be fired. You’ll have to acknowledge your issue and be reprimanded, but 98% of the time, you’ll keep your job. It’s much more tolerant than any company, church or nursery school I’ve ever known.
The pastor’s philosophy has to do with offering unconditional mercy and grace for the staff… like Jesus did. It’s also an incredible act of faith. He, the congregation and trustees are trusting that this extreme love approach is the best practice and will yield lasting and world changing benefits. They may be right.
This policy runs counter to Western culture in every way. Our method is to find fault and punish. That’s how we re-enforce notions of superiority, dominate people and, for the creatively punitive, make a boatload of money. It’s how we separate ourselves from each other and continuously embrace low vibration, low thinking and low behavior. It’s our version of Karma, of reaping what you sow or bearing the weight of your decisions. It’s crushing because it’s the lie we embrace. It presumes that you, not me, are terrible because your crap is worse than my crap, if I have any crap.
The COO of the church is pulling her hair out and struggles to figure out how to offer the best services and get the best out of people if they know there is no penalty for anything. And, course many of the staff abuse the policy. They don’t care, they’re immature, selfish, you name it. It’s in the nature of being human.
What a major departure from the American ideal of meritocracy and competition (no such thing in reality). Or, Darwin’s survival of the fittest. Or, this insane notion of people “deserving” certain things based on our judgment of who they are or what they’ve done. “David deserves to be happy as if Michael doesn’t. Or, David deserved to be happy last year, but this year, not so much.”
I’ve been wrestling with this since I heard about it on Christmas Eve. Offering mercy has to do with seeing a person’s humanity. That starts to seeing ourselves in them first, which makes it easier to extend the mercy and grace. It’s based on self interest in a good way. If we actually are all one then we will treat others the way we’d want them to treat us. But first you have to see yourself as them.
But, what about the organization? Should it and the hard working employees suffer because somebody takes a nap for two hours and lies about it?
Well, this church is not suffering in the least. It’s growth is record setting and its services for members, non-members and other organizations are amazing. It’s the size of a small town and functions much more efficiently and generously than most towns it’s size. The pastor takes Jesus’ admonition to be merciful, to love, to extend grace in every circumstance very literally. And, that church is abundantly rewarded for their obedience.
All of this is really the truest way to heal people. To love them beyond their stupid or their sin or their laziness or selfishness or their crimes or their unhealed places.
I like it because it’s radical and absolutely outrageous. Yet, it works in the most beautiful and Christ-intended way. Something to watch and adopt.