Have you ever seen the movie “Office Space”? Its rated R and has a lot of strong language, but if you get a chance to watch it on broadcast TV go for it. Its one of the most quoted movies around my office. Anyway, I recently found out about a situation that reminded me of a scene from the movie:
Bob Slydell: Milton Waddams.
Dom Portwood: Who’s he?
Bob Porter: You know, squirrely looking guy, mumbles a lot.
Dom Portwood: Oh, yeah.
Bob Slydell: Yeah, we can’t actually find a record of him being a current employee here.
Bob Porter: I looked into it more deeply and I found that apparently what happened is that he was laid off five years ago and no one ever told him about it; but through some kind of glitch in the payroll department, he still gets a paycheck.
Bob Slydell: So we just went ahead and fixed the glitch.
Bill Lumbergh: Great.
Dom Portwood: So, uh, Milton has been let go?
Bob Slydell: Well, just a second there, professor. We, uh, we fixed the *glitch*. So he won’t be receiving a paycheck anymore, so it’ll just work itself out naturally.
Bob Porter: We always like to avoid confrontation, whenever possible. Problem is solved from your end.
We fixed the glitch. I’ve always thought of this as a funny scene, but what if this really happened to you? You show up for work everyday but one payday, nothing gets deposited into your account? What would you do? How would you react? No one told you that you were let go, you got no severance package, no exit interview. Just no paycheck at the end of the week. Would you go back next week? In the movie, Milton thought it was an error with payroll. He kept going to work, asking around if there was a problem. Now, what if I told you this happens everyday in America. But, not to funny characters that mumble about their staplers – but to people you know and like.
Did you know that if you go to a small church (less than a few hundred) then there is a good chance your pastor didn’t get paid last week? If you are like me, you’re thinking, “No way, my pastor would have said something”. And like me, you would be wrong. I know a pastor today that hasn’t been paid in three weeks – but last Saturday night, he still spent time in his prayer closet seeking God for the people that would show up the next morning. I asked him why he kept working there and his response is what prompted me to write this blog – “This isn’t new – it happens to a lot of ministers”. I didn’t believe him – until I called one of my pastors from North Carolina. I asked my NC Friend – “Have you ever gone without a paycheck?” His reply – “Well Dale, you pay the bills of the church first because you have to keep the lights on. If there isn’t enough left over, then you don’t get paid”. I’ve confirmed this fact with four different pastors now – all of them in different parts of the country, all of them in different denominations.
Is this how we treat our pastors? Do you know if your pastor went without a paycheck this week? I dare you to ask him if he has ever gone without pay. The worst part about this is that I thought if people knew they would fix it. I’m finding out that in many cases, people hold back their regular giving on purpose because they aren’t happy with the pastor – so unhappy that they decide to ‘fix the glitch’ by ceasing to give! Find out of your pastor is missing paychecks – and fix that glitch! If you have to commit to give more, or just take up a special offering, do whatever it takes. The Apostle Paul said a workman is worthy of his wage (1 Tim 5:18).
I really do want to hear back from you on this – don’t just reply – ask you pastor, work to fix it if your pastor is missing paychecks, then reply to my post. I hope you can all say – I asked my pastor and he said he has never missed a check!, but I fear that will not be the case…