Standards for Ministry Staff

Welcome to our ministry staff! We think you’ll find this a great place to work and won’t it just be lovely to work around Christians all day long instead of having to rub elbows with those worldly people and their terrible language and stories about drinking? Oh, by the way, staff devotions are at 7:00 sharp, be sure to bring your list of prayer requests!

Why here at Heartbeat Of America Baptist Bible School you’ll never have to worry about someone cursing in front of you or telling an off-color joke and you’ll know that everyone is doing their very best because not only is the boss watching but Jesus is too! The boss, however, will be the one writing people up for having verse screen savers in the wrong version. You’ll find that on page 107 of the staff handbook…

Oh, have you gotten a copy of the staff handbook? Yes, the size of it can be a little intimidating but it’s all really quite necessary. We don’t want people to have to go through the pain of deciding for what to do themselves so we try to include rules for every possible situation. This way you’ll never have to worry.

What’s that? Page 86? Ah, yes a lot of people ask about that one. Well, let’s just say that you happened to be home at night and there was a fire and you had to quickly run out of your house wearing a pair of pants. Some firefighter might see you and know you worked for us and everyone’s testimony would suffer. So it’s just better for all of us if you let us decide what you wear at home as well as work, don’t you think?

Oh, yes, page 87 is quite a popular one too. Now we’re not really saying that watching PG movies is wrong for everyone but we want the people in our ministry to be part of a HIGHER STANDARD. You know, after all, that being in a ministry makes you even more accountable to God than being a normal person. So we just put those rules in place make sure nobody every mistakes you for being normal.

Well, let me show you where you’ll be working. We do have to keep the air conditioning turned up to 93 in order to save on power bills, I’m sure you understand it’s all part of being a good steward. And you’ll want to make sure you ask your supervisor permission before going to the bathroom because we do try to make sure that everyone honors the Lord with their diligence. Starting tomorrow you’ll also need to bring in your own paper towels.

Welcome! We’re so glad that you’re here.

100 thoughts on “Standards for Ministry Staff”

  1. Being called to a Higher Standard requires a lot of self-sacrifice and a servant’s heart. It may be popular or cute to wear a denim blazer, but I know that it is also a sign of hippie rebellion. I am called to the standard of being in the world but not of the world. I think the pale blue seersucker blazer I sewed works just fine.

    My father was saved out of the hippie life his parents led in Missouri. He feels that our testimony is so important in our witness to them. And to our aunts and uncles. In fact, we have to sing extra loud during family devotions when we visit because we stay in the camper next to the house. We can’t stay in the house because they have a candle that smells like patchouli. And they have a VCR.

    I can’t visit much today because today is bread-baking day. We have to rise early in the morning to beat the Jehovah’s Witnesses to the doors tomorrow. I don’t know how they move from house-to-house so fast. They must not be doing much witnessing!

    1. “popular or cute to wear a denim blazer, but I know that it is also a sign of hippie rebellion.”

      CMG – Does this mean you don’t wear denim jumpers? Or is it just the blazer that would ruin your testimony?
      Either way, thank God we have a commenter like you that raises the standard for us all πŸ˜‰

        1. You should consider upgrading to a monitor with a satire-resistant coating. Let me tell you, it really helps. The satire is only metaphorically dripping from my monitor…

        2. @Seth

          That was one of the funniest Oatmeal comics I’ve ever read!! I’m surprised I haven’t seen that one before.

  2. Wow–well done.

    So do fundy leaders deserve praise for leading by example and living by the standards that they enforce on their followers, or is it all so unnecessary and insane that they deserve only condemnation? Just wondering out loud.

      1. Right after graduating from BJU, I got a job teaching in a Christian school whose rule book said I couldn’t wear colored hose. I was annoyed because (at the time) I really liked wearing black hose with my dark dresses. I thought it looked sharp. I could see why they might not think bright pink hose with purple butterflies would set a professional image, but I was really astounded that anyone would think my dark hose wasn’t professional. Oh, well. I survived!

        1. Thy panty hose shalt not be of any colors. The color doth attract the eye. The purpose of thy hose is to attract attention away from thy legs and towards thy Saviour.

          The same goes for thy polyester dresses and floral vests.

        2. You know, this reminded me of a line from a play I saw many years ago. The play was called “Twilight of the Golds”, and one of the characters was a young married woman played by Jennifer Grey. She had a monologue in which she was describing her earlier single life when she was getting started in her career, and it contained one line that I have always remembered: “I bought sexy suits from Ann Taylor and wore a lot of black pantyhose.” I thought the implication was that black pantyhose are sexy.

        3. One of the local churches near where I grew up taught that women in their church could only wear white underwear, bras, and slips. Any other color identify you as a prostitute.

        4. It was *cough cough* fundie fashionable for the girls at PCC to wear white hose in the early 90s. Big hair, long narrow pencil skirts that almost touched the ground and white hose. We all looked so much alike they started purposely trying to get girls on the praise team that didn’t have the big hair for variety sake.

        5. I don’t even WANT to know how the people in your church are supposed to know what color underwear you have on!

    1. It’s probably sad that I now know what the band aid rule is, but it still makes me laugh everytime I think of it. Someone needs to inform Pensacola so they can start that one. I don’t think they had it.

      1. Were the slips Freudian ones? πŸ˜‰ – think this one might be
        ‘Garment #1. Pants: Preaching the pants off of women is the Fundamentalist preacher’s dream.’
        from Dressing for a King by Dr (?) Edward de Vries.

        1. Still slightly confused. The only bandaid rule at HAC was that you had to cover up your tattoos, sometimes meaning having a few of those big industrial bandaids on your leg if you wanted to wear a knee-length skirt without appearing as a heathen from hell.

        2. Aw Emily, they’re talking about womens nipples lol 😳 To cover them with bandaids when you get cold.

  3. I love how these little holier-than-thou schools and churches condemn the biblical Pharisees with their 600+ rules for having too many rules. I wish BJU would have only had 600 written rules (aside from the “unwritten rules” that got announced in dorm meetings, but never relayed to us town students, yet we were expected to abide by them). I lost count of the times, even after I got married, that some snot-nosed PC would demand why I was unaware of one of these gems, and why I wasn’t in dorm meeting.

  4. I’ve much enjoyed working for (and being a better light to) godless pagans. I don’t miss the unholy matrimony of ministry/business.

    When asking about pay: “Well, it’s a ministry, not a business.”

    When asking about ‘un-Christianlike’ policies: “Well, it’s a business, not a ministry.”

    1. While I haven’t worked formally for a Christian organization, I’m sad to say that some of my worst bosses have been conservative Christians. Great testimony there. πŸ™„

  5. The Christian school I worked for did not dictate what I wore inside my house, but I was supposed to never be in pants: grocery store, bike riding, whatever. Someone might see me and I would be a bad testimony for the school (in other words, people might think I was normal! haha).

  6. This is exactly how you’d be treated in just about any IFB school/church setting. It kills me and is a large part of why I couldn’t go into “full time Christian service.” I wasn’t willing to be treated like an adolescent for the rest of my life. I’m so glad I got out of it when I did.

  7. My personal favorite are the swimming rules, like, “Women can wear a modest swimsuit and shorts when swimming with other women, but if a man from the church is present or could possibly pass by the pool/beach, then the woman must wear a t-shirt and knee-length shorts.” So, if a guy is NOT from our church, it doesn’t matter what we do to his thought life, but if he IS in our church, we’d better get out our scuba gear???

        1. At my age, any of the modest suits would be good… but I’ll take the Modest Swimwear over Wholesomewear anyday.

        2. “The suit snaps between the legs for in water use and unsnaps for a modest out of water look.”


        3. I’d think the snap would draw unwanted attention instead of prevent it.

          The Mormons have their own modest swimwear. Some of it makes a lot more sense than the Fundy version. Unfortunately, some of their newer offerings are now the same old blah you can find at Sears.

  8. Unintentionally accurate phrase:
    “We donÒ€ℒt want people to have to go through the pain of deciding for what to do themselves …”

    Darrell, you have the best illustrations (I mean pictures, not “sermon illustrations”) on the whole Internet.

    1. The longer you stare at that woman the creepier she gets.

      Seriously, try it. Stare at her for 30 seconds and watch how your perception of her face changes from pleasant to evil. (or perhaps I need to not take quite so much cough medicine in the future)

      1. OOOooooooo, you’re right.
        The longer you look at her, the more sinister her face becomes. Especially those eyebrows.
        And the objects surrounding her start to look ominous. For example, that dagger in front of her steno pad. …

        1. Did anyone notice the interrogation lamp in the background?

          “Ve have vays to make your tok! Ja? Now, tell us who it vas dat schmuggled a copy of the NASB disguised as a King James onto campus? Hummmm?”

          “Someone in your group allzo has been listening to John Piper… you vill tell us who no?”

          “It is rumored that you have been seen in town wearing Blue-jeans! Ist dat zo?”

          O, If that lamp could talk what tales it’d tell!

  9. Fundies, fundies, fundies! When will you ever understand what sets true believers apart from the world. It is not about what we do or do not do but who we are in the inside. It’s about the inner man. You can come up with all the rules and regulations you want but YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO CHANGE the inner man. All you are doing is supressing the true you.
    Too be honest, you’re not doing a good job of supressing your true self. Once your mouth opens, the true condition of your heart shows….and it’s not pretty πŸ˜₯

    1. Sandra,
      Thank you for clarifying that it is the inner man that needs changing. I can’t imagine how much change would go undone if there were no rules to follow! How would we measure our growth as Christians?! Keep the faith, sister!

  10. If it weren’t so sad, it would be funny. My family and I were part of IFB churches for around 30 years, and I cannot say how grateful to God that He used an extremely hurtful situation to get us completely OUT. All that Darrell said was, unfortunately, true. It’s hard for me to mock, because when all is said and done, it’s another “works” deception that could be sending people to HELL, because they have been following a man’s rules rather than knowing Christ personally. I came out of a Roman Catholic background, and for years I sarcastically thought of the pastor as a “Baptist Pope”. Anathema! When are we going to wake up and walk before God Himself with pure hearts? Stop pleasing men! Thanks for the good stuff, Darrell. πŸ˜•

  11. This brings back so many memories of church and work. I didn’t work for a Christian organization, but I remember hour-long debates with HR over what constituted a “sandal” and what constituted a “flip-flop.” Also exactly how wide shoulder straps had to be to not be considered “spaghetti” and just how low was “low-cut”. I don’t think fundies could have done better.

    1. Here at BJU they have been debating back and forth for the last 3 years about whether sandals with straps between the toes are acceptable. At first they were OK, then last year they were forbidden, now this year they are allowed again. Aaaaaaggghh.

      1. BJUgrad, that issue was going on during my time at BJU as well. In fact, one of my favorite BJU memories involves the Dean of Women telling an assembly of students that Dr. Berg preferred to refer to flip-flops as “thongs”.

  12. I taught in a Christian school that wouldn’t turn up the heat but also didn’t want the kids wearing their coats in class. I let them go get them anyway . . . I mean, I was wearing mine.

  13. HAHA! Classic!
    Darrell you so forgot 2 things though..
    1. The memos. We once got a memo with the entire section about modesty and the story of “Bad Bob” from Debi Pearl’s book Created to be His Helpmeat ( sp on purpose)
    2. The big raises we got…we would ge a memo how our pastor boss wanted us to know how much he appreciated us by giving us a raise. We felt so special until we realized our “raises” always coincided with the mandatory minimum wage raise.
    Good times!

    1. Our Christmas Bonus was someone going around the the sunday schools with a hat. People would put a few dollars and some loose change in it to show how much we were appreciated. Then that love offering was divided among the staff. Pastor, Youth, CHildren, music and the boy who ran the sound equally. We got Something like $43 dollars. Blesses our souls!

      1. At one church, a deacon proposed giving the organist a Christmas bonus but not the pianist. I guess I didn’t count because they had given my husband, the youth pastor, a Christmas bonus. But I played along with the congregational singing just the same as the organist, and I played for choir. Every Sunday at 5:00 I was playing for rehearsal. I usually played for special music too and had to rehearse with them. But I wasn’t worthy of a bonus?

        I was really embarrassed to even bring it up because it made me look like a money-grubber, but I just didn’t understand how anyone could give a bonus to the organist and not the pianist. (I think the deacon tried to say that the Presby church paid their organist, but they didn’t HAVE a pianist!)

    2. One year all the ladies on our staff, single ladies included, were given a copy of that Helpmeet book as a Christmas gift from the ministry. All of us single ladies were, like, what’s this? A subtle hint or something? Are we all now the pastor’s helpmeets?

  14. “…youÒ€ℒll never have to worry about someone cursing in front of you or telling an off-color joke…”

    Racist jokes are okay, though, right? If you’re bothered by racist jokes then you need to lighten up, sister!

  15. Thou shalt not make reference to Santa Claus (he’s only Satan in disguise, after all), the Easter Bunny (a fertility god), or leprechauns (demons of Satan) as they are (at best) fanciful tales or (at worst) perversions created by Satan and used by the liberal media to detract from the “true” meaning of holidays. In fact, we must preach against these holidays and expose those who hold to them as heretics, even if it means we tell our Kindergarten class that Mommy and Daddy are lying to them.

    We hold Halloween to be especially evil. Thou shalt not carve a pumpkin, participate in dressing up, or give out candy (tracts are acceptable) as this will cause you to lose your testimony to the children of your neighborhood; they will subsequently reject Christ and go to hell. This will be YOUR fault.

    We will, however, continue to celebrate Christmas on December 25 (Feast of the Unconquered Sun) and Easter (Festival to the Goddess of Spring)despite historical and/or zoological evidence to the contrary. Harvest Festivals are acceptable alternatives to Halloween we are simply giving thanks to God for what he has done for us. (Despite the fact that the Pagans who originated Halloween were doing the same thing). These are established Church-sanctioned holidays that happen to fall on Pagan holidays, which is yet further evidence of God’s grand design to eliminate false religions.

    1. Oh my word. Every year the neighborhood kids would egg our house on Holloween night because we would turn off all our lights and hide in the back room so no one would think we were home. Apparently everyone knew we were. We were pretty blatant about the evil of Halloween to the neighbors.

      We also lived in fear that someone would steal our pets to sacrifice on that night.

    2. The Harvest Festival thing really gets me. You can have a carnival at the church, where you give out candy and the kids dress in costume, but since it’s not on October 31, it’s not a bad thing. If you did the same thing on October 31, all of a sudden you are sinning.

      My mom used to keep me home from school on Halloween because (gasp!) I went to a public school and she didn’t want me to be influenced by all the costumed heathens around me.

  16. This brings memories. All sorts of memories, mostly negative, but memories nonetheless.

    Once I realized my employer’s staff handbook was NOT a contract (though you did have to sign the inside front page and return it to indicate you’d read it) and that all the ones that really would have lit my fire were suggestions and not rules, I stopped reading it. Expected to attend this, that, or the other? DENIED. I can expect gravity to stop working at 7:42am tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean it will. You ask that I not go to movies? I ask you not to interfere in my private life. No? Then at least we understand each other.

    Students know the difference between a real person and a drone, despite the school’s attempts to confuse them.

    1. The beginning of the end for me was when my students – many of whom came from non-Christian homes – began asking me about the rules we had, and I COULDN’T ANSWER THEM. I had no idea why we didn’t go to movies or why the women had to wear skirts to teach in, even if they taught PE. It wasn’t biblical, it wasn’t a government rule, and it really didn’t make any sense. If I can’t explain it in a way that makes sense to a child or a teen, then there’s something wrong …

  17. My first teaching job straight out of Bible college in ’77 was in what I referred to as “Pensacola North” because Horton’s brother ran the joint in Oregon. My college buddy and I were both hired straight from graduation. We shared a small house on school property. Though I had not been in a movie theater since I was 12, we decided one weekend to sneak out to the old Elsinore theater downtown to see Star Wars. We were mesmerized and stayed for the next showing. After that, we would reward ourselves with getting grades done, papers graded, or Big Orange Book lesson plans copied verbatim into our spiral lesson plan books to turn in to supers (what a stupid exercise in time wasting). We saw Star Wars 11 times, then went to work on Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This kept us sane until we could pack up and flee in the spring. We were never caught. πŸ˜€

    1. I remember someone having to do that stupid lesson plan copying. I’m SO GLAD the Christian school I taught at used BJ Press so I could come up with my own lesson plans (and actually use the education I paid for not mindlessly follow someone else’s plan).

      1. I had to smile. You used the term “mindless”. My ed psych teacher was a bit of a “black sheep” of the faculty, and we loved him! He was always pointing out mindlessness in education. That made an impact on me and basically ruined me for being a sheep in fundy schools. I ended up my career in an awesome school! Such freedom to teach creatively! There are a few gems out there in Christian ed. God was SOOOO good to lead me to one and give me 8 good years there.

  18. As I was exiting the fundy church, I began feeling sorry for the staff. These people were totally under the boot of the dictator pastor. Some were content with their lot, but not all.

    I recall one staff wife complaining how her child was having trouble potty training because they were hardly ever home (busy, busy, busy). Another complained that her husband rarely was home for a family dinner…the pastor had him on so many important assignments. Yet another said they were not permitted to homeschool their child, even though they really wanted to.

    1. These women then get together for a Bible Study on “Contentment”. Usually they discuss women who’ve had it much worse (examples of missionary wives in third world countries are a must for this!) and congratulating themselves repeatedly that they have it “easy” here in the Good Ole’ USA.

      As always, the problem is with them, not the situation that they’re dealing with.

  19. Lizzy, you are so right! I remember a ladies’ retreat (blech!) when one woman gave a testimony about how she was resenting the amount of time her husband was spending in service to the church. She went on to say that attending the retreat made her realize how it was her attitude that was the real problem and that she should not stand in the way of his important ministry (bus mechanic and driver, mainly).



    1. Exactly! I had several teacher friends at Fundy Christian School where I used to teach – one of them seriously, literally would stay up all night long just to keep caught up on grading and lesson plans and the school’s yearbook and ghost writing articles for the pastor, etc. etc. She would work herself sick, and she wasn’t overdoing it on her own – this was the schedule the school gave her. Anyway, she went to the principal and the pastor and said, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m exhausted. I’m constantly sick. Can I please have some help?” Their response was to pull her out of all church ministries (choir, nursery, etc.) so she could spend more time in prayer. Seriously.

  20. People are always reminding me that they have super-strict rules because they want to take the “higher standard” as if being much stricter than anyone else makes you a better person. To me, taking the “higher standard” means having Christ-like character– being honest, standing up for what’s right, loving and respecting all people no matter who they are or what they’ve done. Having a bunch of rules is just legalism.

    1. I totally agree. I think it’s a much better testimony to be reasonable and tolerant of those around you. I have told a few of my close Fundy friends that I am dressing up for Halloween this year, and it has been interesting to see their reaction. The best one I got was from a friend who is the most unFundy Fundy I’ve ever met – clearly, she has not drunk the KoolAid. She said, “Awesome! Be sure to take pictures – I want to see it!”

  21. Ah yes. “Ministry.” πŸ™„ I’ve worked for several companies and the worst by far was PCC. They treat the staff abominably and the students worse. Not to mention the incompetence. If you kissed certain butts you’d get certain positions regardless of your lack of qualifications.

  22. I have been in IFB churches and have seen much of what the posts I read have described. Someone wrote earlier that they’re not all that way. TRUE!!! Many are but… The thing that saddened me was how much emphasis was placed on “it’s just the heart that matters” (true–God looks on our heart/motives/etc). The list of rules that I like to go by is God’s Word. Especially ones like limiting my liberties by not causing a weaker brother to stumble. Paul was very clear that we are free but to use it cautiously. If we’re truly concerned about our “hearts” we should look at our motives in condemning other believers. I’ll be the first to admit, some of the things I read are humorous and TRUE…unfortunately. But our Savior died for them, saved them, and is working in them too. Let’s be careful not to be too judgemental…WOW that’s what we accuse THEM of. Scary huh?

    1. The problem is that in the Fundie world the “Weaker Brother” argument has led to the “Weaker Brother” becoming the elitist ruling class.
      If something offends their sensitivities they play the “Weaker Brother” card.

      The problem is not in there being too much Liberty in Christ that might cause a WB to stumble… but there is too much bondage to man made traditions that binds believers to the point they are irrelevant to the world around them.

    2. Excellent points

      More scripture is ignored by not having rules than having “lists” that line up with God’s word. The problem is when thye are put on the same level–or higher.

      Many here refuse to recognize their rebellion as what it really is.

      1. Nice try at making an excuse for fundie legalism, but sorry, you fail. I have yet to meet a fundamentalist who does not in practice put their “lists” on par with or above God’s word in importance. One thing is true, I am absolutely rebelling against fundie legalism; however, this particular rebellion in no way constitutes rebellion against God.

  23. At the high school I went to (and if I named it, you’d know it TRUST ME) a teacher got in trouble for wearing pants OUTSIDE of school.

    All of us thought it was stupid.

    1. Yeah, my mom taught at 2 diff IFB schools: for about 3 years in Chattanooga when I was REALLY young that must’ve been an HAC style from the antics the a-hole preacher did. Def was tension with TTU. And for like 25 years at a more BOJO one in rural IL that was bizarrely kjvo w/o claiming any special reason to be so. Mark Rosedale went to that one as well, and I doubt anyoe but he and I know either. Both of them had codes of conduct and dress. The IL. One relaxed some of the rules over time, but they still have rules. Bet you can guess them in terms that few of your normal friends would recognize (mixed bathing, etc)

  24. I must tell you a great story about my Grandma (they actually told this at her funeral last year). Well, this preacher was visiting their house one afternoon. My Grandma was in the kitchen making my Grandfather’s lunch for work. This preacher made the really bad mistake of trying to talk to her about my Aunt who just had her hair dyed and how he thought it was wrong. My Grandmother picked up my Grandfather’s lunch, box and all, and threw it at him and ordered him out of the house. She told him that he needed to work on his own hypcrotical self and getting the hypocrites out of his church first, and after that happened, he’d be welcomed back in the house.

    I love that story. I always hoped I’d have the guts to do the same thing in the same situation.

  25. ^_^ The “Higher Standard” thing always reminds me of one of my teachers at my Fundy U (in a good way, actually). He obviously couldn’t say anything directly against the school, but I find a lot of the best Bible teachers had a way of subliminally suggesting “you might not want bring this practice with you” without actually saying it, and supporting it with Scripture.

    This teacher pointed out the danger of making one’s self the rule for all standards. He pointed out that it was wrong to view anyone with fewer standards than you as being a rank liberal, while accusing those with more/higher standards than you as being legalistic. So every time I hear a fundy speaking about their “higher standards” all I can think is “But, the Amish have even higher standards than you! Doesn’t that mean that, by your definition, you’re a rank liberal?” Nothing against the Amish people, of course. Just pointing out that tend to have even higher standards of dress and conduct than most fundies.

  26. It’s better to just call them different standards because by calling them “higher” you play into their illusion that their way is better or as my old fundy church loves to throw in at every description of what/how they do things, “God honoring…etc” πŸ™„

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.