It’s understandable financially. We couldn’t pay her what her household needed for her to keep doing the job. It wasn’t the first time our financial team approached her over the years to explain that the money coming in simply wasn’t able to sustain her position full-time.
She’s now working for a cable company.
Maybe that’s why what I just read about The Container Store is rubbing me the wrong way.
According to BusinessInsider.com, the Container Store founder/CEO Kip Tindell has grown his business to 67 locations and annual sales of nearly $800 million. He’s done this by paying his retail employees nearly twice the industry average: $50,000 a year versus the national average of $25,000.
Tindell’s philosophy is “the 1=3 rule,” meaning that one great employee will be as productive as three employees who are merely good.
I completely agree with this, which is why I’m really bothered by it.
It’s made me further stew on how unfair it is that a cable company can pay our former children’s director way better than our church can, especially when that person is amazing with the next generation. After all, the world doesn’t need more cable… it needs more Jesus.
Call that a “Jesus Juke” if you want. Then again, maybe it’s time we stop sarcastically parroting Jon Acuff and realize how sad this truly, truly is.
A cable company believes that people want to passively zone out and watch other people entertain them. Sure, it can offer inspirational programming… as much as it can offer yet another lame zombie or medieval plotline we’ll set down our standards for in order to experience “some great TV.” It wants employees who will get you to literally “buy” into this.
The Container Store assumes an active demand that it woos great people for. As the average consumers really want more space for stuff they don’t really need to impress people they don’t really like while spending money they don’t really have, there is arguably some real importance to the company wanting sales associates who can competently point out the difference between “bricks” and “modular” storage systems.
A church, on the other hand, is about making disciples who make disciples who make disciples. It’s not as sexy as cable or as tangible as storing things. It will, however, really change the worlds and eternities of real people.
Allow me to explain why I’ve shared all of this.
I get it.
- If you’re a full-time paid minister, you’re likely not being paid what you think you’re worth.
- If you’re a part-time paid minister, you’re likely frustrated that the church hasn’t taken you to full-time yet.
- If you’re a volunteer minister, you’re likely upset when you don’t insist on pay so that there can be more money in the youth budget, only to find that money doesn’t always make it there.
I also get that you get that this isn’t about money. Serving teenagers and adults was never meant to be a high paying job. Sometimes we forget that along the way and get frustrated when we don’t get what we were promised.
And… if I’m honest… I also get that God may want our former kids director in a cable company to share Jesus there.
You likely won’t get any of this until you’re resigned to serve.
In “Uncommon Wisdom From The Other Side,” I said it this way:
You have signed up to be a spotlight operator for Jesus, and not a stand-in for his spotlight. It’s never our ministry, nor is it even the students’ ministry. Somebody cared for the kids you care about before you did. Somebody will care for them after you’re gone. It’s always God’s ministry, never belonging to any person.
He has placed all of this into your hands for this season. Let nothing distract you from showing teenagers Christ and not merely your cause. Don’t waste energy contending how important you are or else your sense of self will get wrapped up in how things rise and fall. You’re not successful by getting young people to show up or act more “Christian.” Success is when they transfer out of living in their own story and join into God’s story.
So model that.
Theoretically quit your job or calling, and rediscover what it means to follow Jesus. Let your walk with him—not your job description—define your worth. You may do the very things you’re doing, but the difference will be that people will see Jesus more clearly because you see Jesus more clearly.
Please note that I said to theoretically quit. If you can play out in your head how you’d unreservedly serve Jesus without your position, perhaps you can better serve Him unreservedly while in your position.