Employees

In general, workplaces are stressful. There’s pressure to perform, goals to meet, and office coffee that tastes like the pot was last washed during the Nixon administration. But working for a fundamentalist organization is a special kind of stressful environment of the type that makes manufacturers of blood pressure and ulcer medication chuckle with glee.

For the fundamentalist not only holds over you the normal power of an employer to determine salaries and titles but they also hold over their employees a spiritual club of letting you know that God is watching your work as well. And they’re not afraid to let you know when God is displeased with your performance.

Did you mistype a word on a report? Was that staple not perfectly parallel to the top edge of the page? That’s not just an unprofessional, it’s a sign of sloth. Let all things be done decently and in order!

Would Jesus spend six whole minutes on a bathroom break? No sir! He’d spend only four and use only half your consumption of paper towels too. You are brother to him that is a great waster! For shame!

Are you not meeting your quotas? Be sure to remember that not only are we checking up on you but the Holy Spirit is too. And we have it on good authority that He’s very concerned.

Come early. Stay late. Give of your best to the your fundy taskmasters and never, ever, ever complain lest your end be swift. There’s nothing like the joy of having an employer tell you that he can tell all about your spiritual condition by the discrepancies on your time sheet.

139 thoughts on “Employees”

  1. Sad part is, a Christian organization should want to treat their employees WELL.

    I always feel for Christian school teachers and secretaries who make under $20K a year. Naturally, the mog at the church is probably making 6 times what most of the staff is earning. Oh wait. . .I forgot. . his honorary doctorate from Old Pathes commands that salary.

    1. Nothing in life is free. There’s a price to be paid for being part of the only group of people with the fast track to Heaven. That price will be your salary, your autonomy and your self worth. Buyer beware.

  2. Ding Ding on the salary. Not only are you taking less than you would on the open market, but you get belittled as well. Where do I sign 😯

  3. Hate to say it, but my worst bosses have always been ones to identify themselves as Christians or otherwise very devout in their faith. The more devout they claimed to be, the creepier they were in reality. (One later apologized to me a few years later.)

    One of my friends tried to get me to go to work for an organization in town best described as neo-Fundy. Uh, no. Good thing, too, because I’d have had to quit when I could no longer sign their creed-that-isn’t-a-creed.

    1. Ditto. And the same applies not only to working for a “Christian”, but also having them as clients. For some reason, fundies always seem expect a “break” in pricing, especially if they are “in the ministry”. As a freelance computer consultant, I remember one gringo missionary who hired me to drive out to his house in the middle of nowhere (a 2 hour drive -each way-) to upgrade his computer and install some software. When I gave him the bill he was livid. Apparently he expected me do this for much less (free?) out of the goodness of my heart for a “fellow brother”. I explained to him that I can’t pay my rent or put gas in my car with “the goodness of my hear”. He paid it, begrudgingly, and never called me again. From that point forward, I made it a personal policy to refuse to do ANY kind of business with anyone associated with the Fundy movement.

      1. Anytime a fundy preacher or evangelist gets a break (i.e. guilt someone into doing it for free) they can use that as a powerful sermon illustration as to how God moves in their lives. The rest of us, not so much.

    1. Ditto. I worked (volunteered) at our Bearing Precius Seed every Tues night. Then i worked on the cutters an staplers to get ready for the next week. I fixed the vans, riding mowers, non-stop construction projects, ran the sound etc… The mog was a perfectionist. NOTHING was ever good enough and a thank you was verrrrry rare. Shut up and remember you are doing this for the Lord. 👿

  4. AMEN. I worked for a fundie non profit in college and several memories confirm this for me:
    – the really good employees stayed until midnight on New Year’s Eve to take last-minute donations. They were the ones who got recognized with a plaque and $50 for five years of service. I wanted my evening too badly.
    – the horrible discussion about how Christmas cards with Mary on them were too Catholic, how Christmas trees were too pagan. It was a controversy, and it made me want to shoot myself.
    – the mind numbing Christmas parties and how hard they tried to make them fun. They weren’t (no gifts, no drinks, just stupid skits -really!, and cafeteria food)

  5. When Christians was in Fundie land,
    Let My people go!
    Oppressed so hard they could not stand,
    Let My people go!

    Go down, Reader Moses,
    Way down in Fundie land;
    Tell the old Pharisee-o
    To let My people go!

    No more shall they in bondage toil,
    Let My people go!
    Let them come out clean’d from fundie soil,
    Let My people go!

    Oh, let us all from bondage flee,
    Let My people go!
    And let us all in Christ be free,
    Let My people go!

    You need not always weep and mourn,
    Let My people go!
    And wear these slav’ry chains forlorn,
    Let My people go!

    Your foes shall not before you stand,
    Let My people go!
    Now you’re free, list’n to praise bands,
    Let My peo-ple go!

  6. Wow. So true. I’m amazed, now that I work a secular job, how well I am treated as an employee. My bosses at both of my jobs have said that I can definitely have time off of work to go to church, as they believe my relationship with God is more important than my work. Too bad the Fundies didn’t think that.

  7. Say what you want about “no God in the workplace”, but secular institutions recognize that faith is a part of your and are absolutely willing to give you time off to go to Church (Ash Wed, Good Friday, even mass during the week).

    I think what they realize is that if they are flexible, you will be too and you will work that much harder (or even later) if they work with you. Novel concept 💡

  8. I always loved, when I was on staff at fundy u, how church was required because it was uber important to your spiritual growth (especially with the quality speakers they reeled in for us). Unless they needed us to work ot on a Wednesday night–then, suddenly, our spiritual growth would best be developed by serving God in our department office.

  9. I used to teach in a Christian school where the staff was treated as a “resource” to be used up. They cut benefits, required longer hours, stopped pay raises, and then constantly told us we weren’t working hard enough. We were treated like children in faculty meetings. At the same time the head of the school board kept telling us how much we were valued! 🙄 The school has since closed.

    1. That sounds like the Christian school my wife taught at. I give that school another 5 years before they shut down.

      You forgot to mention that most Christian schools don’t make you keep up to date with all your state and teacher certifications, so if you ever tried to leave you weren’t qualified to teach at pubic schools, therefore you were stuck working there.

      1. I considered working at the local Christian school (which called itself the local Christian school as if there weren’t, you know, a Catholic school about a mile away, but I digress). I was supposed to fill in the date I had been saved right there on the application. My first response was, “About 2,000 years ago and people argue all the time about the exact date,” but after I had thought it over for a while I got very angry. It felt as intrusive and creepy as a question about my private time with my husband. But then I’m a
        Lutheran who goes to an Anglican church, so what do I know?

        1. My first job interview after BJU, they asked if I knew the books of the Bible and then if I could recite the New Testament. Even then, with how into the koo-aid I was, I knew it was weird and thought about _The Crucible_.

  10. That doesn’t just go for working for a fundamentalist, because even if you have a secular employer, you are accountable to your fundamentalist accountability partners to live up to the same standards, ie., live up to standards that cannot be met.

    But I’m sure working for the fundamentalist directly would be worse, I’ve just never had that experience.

  11. Oh and how fundys rave against the godless workplace. Ya, I dont hang a rosary on my door, but I mention my faith and try to live the example Jesus set forth. It is amazing the respect you get if you live your life a certain way and dont beat up people that disagree with you.

    What is the old adage….You get more flies with honey than vinegar?

    1. “Oh and how fundys rave against the godless workplace.”

      That was the excuse I always heard why the preacher can’t work a regular job. He can’t be exposed to all that sin and still be holy enough to put together a 45 minute sermon.

      1. The last IFB pastor I had told me that once the church got bigger he’d hire me on as secretary so I didn’t have to go out into the godless world to work. Praise God that never happened!

  12. Dude, this was totally my last job. The head PM over me was a Christian and we got along fine before working there (I knew him that’s how he got me the job).

    He was the worst control freak ever. He would tell me what kind of wallpaper I could put on my computer. He would tell me I had to wear a certain type of boots to meetings.

    Anytime I showed any kind of frustration he would smuggle in a proverbs of the day and start humming, “In my heart there rings a melody.”

    And he weighed 425 lbs, not an exaggeration at all. His life verse must have been 1 Tim 4:8.

    If you questioned him or how he did something, it was disrespect.

    He had it in his mind that he had to make things harder than need be because only he could figure them out, it was a sick way of viewing job security I guess.

    And he was a terrible writer. I’m an English major and the big boss told me to look over a letter he was writing, I marked that thing up in red ink in the margins more than he actually wrote. And I gave it back to him and I heard him mutter, “Let me get back to this mess.”

    He always condemned people for having money and being greedy, when in reality, it was HIM who was the greedy one thinking about it all the time.

    Sorry, this brought back a lot of bad memories that I thought I’d share with you all.

    nicodemusatnite.com

  13. My mother-in-law once worked for a Christian radio station. It was horrible for her. They reached out to ‘hurting’ people all over the country but couldn’t reach out to one of their own employees. 😥

  14. When I started working at my church, I took a $4k/year pay cut (and had to fight for that much) for a more difficult job, worked 5 office hours for free each week, not to mention the volunteer work I did on my “days off” — Saturday and Sunday.

    Sure, the pastor’s wife made twice my salary and couldn’t be bothered to come in for 10 hours a week or to answer her phone calls. Sure, when the pastor started hiring his kids, they changed the vacation policy so they could go on a family vacation during their fist year. I was at church for over 8 hours, 7 days a week for a year before I was eligible for one measely vacation day! 😯

    Plus both my husband and I had to abide by the staff handbook, even though he wasn’t on staff.

    The worst part was that working there tied me to the church. Leave my church, leave my job. That kept me there for way too long!

  15. I worked at a fundy bookstore after graduation from high school. It was a bad place. There is all of this pressure to conform to these rules and the way he treated the women there was awful. I remember coming in to pick up my check and I was wearing shorts, I was told that I have no testimony for doing it. I had to work ridiculous hours and they often did not want to work with my school schedule. I would never work at a place like that again.

  16. My kids worked last year at a Christian camp. Nice it was set up as a ministry, the camp was no required to pay into the unemployment fund. So when they were laid off, they were not elibible for unemployment pay. This really hurts people – but of course it is a ministry so we are supposed to suck it up.

    All the comments about working for a ministry are true. I’d rather work in the secular field.

    1. We found out the hard way our church had no unemployement benefits either. A family of 6, jobless for almost a year no income or unemployment. We lost our house and lived on credit cards. It was awful and it will take years to crawl out of the debt hole.

    2. Lisa,

      Just because a non-profit does not pay unemployment to the state does not mean that you cannot collect unemployment. State unemployment is just that STATE not church. They were probably a reimbursing employer.

      1. I don’t know what state the people worked in. For example, in the state of SC, the employer pays ALL the unemployment. So, if you are laid off, and the employer either has not paid in, or doesn’t think the employee should get it….you are screwed.

        I live in PA now. In PA the employee also pays some $$$ with each check. So if the employee is laid off, the employee can still get something.

        Unemployment laws vary from state to state. Learned that the hard way, myself.

  17. Yes, but those who have worked their way up to the top…the cream of the crop, jet set, upper echelon can make quite an impressive salary. My favorite cowboy evangelist when I was a kid has his ranch in Montana on the market for 1.2 million dollars. He’s not Joel Osteen either…he’s a popular FUNDAMENTAL BAPTIST speaker. I remember him always driving up in the nicest car in the lot and always bragging to us about how good God was to him. “Look what God gave me” he’d say. Right… look what you took from the innocent people in bondage to supporting your greedy lifestye.

  18. At the IFB college I graduated from a friend of mine said he would love to get hired by the church that ran the college because they would only hire the cream of the crop. What an honor to be hired by them! I told him that guys that the church hired right after graduation were usually not well liked but their fellow students, girls that the church hired right after graduation would usually be gone within two years and students who interned for the summer said they would never do it again.

    The church would also work the interns sixty hours a week, paid them for forty and said the rest was ministry

    1. Yeah, they work the staff and interns like dogs.

      Of course, if one dared complain that not paying overtime is a violation of labor laws not only would they be considered selfish and unspiritual but they would end up blackballed in the SOTL arena.

      I always felt badly for most staff members…Those folks had no life. I remember staff wives complaining about their husbands not being home for dinner hardly at all…and one staff wife (who always had a bunch of unpaid “volunteer work” dumped on her) quietly complained that she was supposed to be a stay-at-home mom.

      But does that pastor live the good life!

  19. I put up with everything at PCC, but the work scholarship program is what broke me. If you work there, you are less than dirt. I have back problems to this day for the stuff they made me lift. The disdain, the narc on your neighbor atmosphere, the scowls. How in the world were we supposed to do our job cheerfully as unto the Lord? the people over us hated their job. Its stupid I know, but I still have deep insecurities because of my job in a piously christian environment.

  20. Posting on my phone, haven’t read the comments, but precisely that scenario is why I had to suppress baptist missionary overtures for programmers at job fairs at PCC. IDK how you can live with that much scrutiny

  21. Never worked in a Christian workplace, but I have to say that coming from an Abeka education, I have to say that I would have been set up really well for this kind of thing. They really emphasize doing everything perfectly, rounding it up with the basic admonishment that everything was related to God, ergo if you didn’t do something perfectly, it was between you and God.

    Making Pensacola-bots for later usage as teachers at the academy, no doubt.

  22. As a missionary I learned what it was like to be treated as a low class minister. We drove 4 hours to present our ministry at a church one Sunday morning. The mog told the congregation that a member had won the lottery and received millions of dollars. He had the tithe check in his hand and showed it to the congregation. After presenting our ministry we received an offering for $50, not even enough to pay the gas to get there.

      1. It was a ifb church. The pastor said there much difference between buying a lottery ticket and buying a cup of McDonald’s coffee every day.

        Amazing how they justify everything profitable to them.

    1. I guess he never read the story about Jesus’ sitting at the place where people gave their offerings. He condemned those who made spectacles of their giving large amounts while he praised a widow for giving her all–quietly. Funny how in fundyland it gets reversed.

      1. Reminds me of a halleluiah offering. Remember those? People stick in a dollar and the usher would yell “Amen!” Five dollars “Praise the Lord!” up and up. I thought it was embarassing. People who stuck in $100 did it just to see the usher go crazy and speak in tongues or something.

        Missionary, I feel for ya, that is dispicable.

        1. Of all the fundy weirdness I grew up in, I never saw that one. I have seen ushers selling books up and down the aisles during the service like peanuts at a ball game. And books sold off the “old-fashioned alter.” And 500 men yelling their prayers to God like He’s hard of hearing…but not that one. Not that I doubt it would happen, because I’m sure some Man O’Gid somewhere thought it was a good idea.

        2. No? You missed out. 🙄 It usually happened on old fashioned Sunday, but I saw it at Revival meetings too. Oh and an “Old fashioned stuff in” I think it was called. A poor member who was down on his luck would be called to the front of the church, the pastor would say how bad off the poor guy was and everyone needs to help him. Then all the men would file foward and and stuff dollars in his pockets and give him a hug. The sentiment was nice, but again, pretty embarassing.

  23. Frederick Douglass use to observe whenever his former owners would get more religious the beatings and mistreat would be worst. Generally the less religious a slave owner was, the less cruel they were to their slaves.

  24. i’m always shocked at how willing christians (of all stripes) in the southern U.S. are to sell out their God to make a few dollars. Christian coffee shops, Christian guitar stores, Christian taekwondo. it’s despicable. no other religion (sorry, “relationship with Jesus”) on earth is so willing to exploit itself for business purposes, and certainly not in such tacky ways.

  25. Oh, where to begin. I worked part time in our Christian church/school. Alongside my “paid” duties, I was expected to do many more tasks as a “volunteer.” This included things like organizing field trips that I was expected to attend and coordinate, administrating the annual standardized testing for grades K-12, monitoring the lunch room and basically plugging any hole that needed filled. Of course I had to abide by the dress code: below the knee length dresses or skirts only, no strapless shoes, nylons were mandatory regardless of temperature (building was not air conditioned), sleeveless shirts prohibited, etc. To say I was miserable would be markedly insufficient.

    One day, we took the students to the zoo for a field trip. As I watched a large cat pace back and forth in front of the window of his cage, a wave of empathy came over me. “There I am. That is me,” I thought. From that day forward I never ceased to ponder, “Is this Christianity? Is this what it means to be saved, to accept Christ’s precious gift of unconditional love?”

    Also of note is just how mean some of the on staff women were. One in particular comes to mind. She didn’t like one of the high school girls and I always expected it was because she was pretty and her daughter…well not so much. She was on that girl like a Gestapo agent looking for any reason to give her demerits. Honestly, it was bizarre. I always regret not calling her out on it or taking the matter to the principal. I apologized years later to the young lady that was victimized. She told me that another lady in the church/school took the matter to the principal and it only made matters worse for her.

    If a family pulled their children out to attend a public school, they were always the topic of discussion at staff meetings. Our pastor referred to one family’s children as “going to pot.” I know this family and this is not nor has ever been the case.

    One afternoon the pastor called a meeting for the female staff members only. Apparently the two elderly ladies on the maintenance staff were not wearing a dress to clean the toilets. Instead they would wear oversized long shorts. We were reminded that as staff, we were to be an example of appropriate dress etc. Are you kidding me?! A dress to get down on your hands and knees to clean! Again the cat paces in the cage and again I ask if this is what Christ wanted for me.

    Darrell you hit a nerve, because the whole experience of being on staff in fundyland was a series of revelations and major disappointments. PTL the gate is open and I am experiencing Christian liberty and the love of Christ like never before.

    1. Hmm, that story about the woman picking on the high school girl struck a nerve. I was the one being picked in by an “adult” also. My mom was going to a Baptist bible college in Southern California, and was getting a ride with a fellow student. He happened to be married, and his wife was apparently very jealous. Nevermind that my mom was not attracted to him in the least, and nothing untoward ever happened between them, the woman was still annoyed. Anyway, she used to take it out on me, much like you described in your story. Any little thing, and her kids were so VERY badly behaved…and always filthy dirty. It was like they lived in a dirt pile. I got blamed for anything her kids did, and they knew it, so they threw me under the bus all the time too. Well, it came to a head one day, and I just snapped. I remember standing in the church parking lot after being accused of something ridiculous. My mom standing by my side, and I just tore into this woman. Mind you, I was about 7 years old. I had enough, and in no uncertain terms told her what I though of her and her kids, and the fact she just picked on me because she was jealous. My mom stood there and didn’t say a word. She let me continue, and the woman was dumbfounded. After that, I was left alone and she never picked on me again. It was a huge relief, but I just couldn’t believe somebody supposedly so Godly would pick on a little kid for stupid, petty reasons.

      1. I went to a secular high school, but I was in band. In band kids tend to get the spillover from the parents’ feuds. The people I had give me the hardest time were the ones who made the biggest deal about being holy and God-fearing Christians.

    1. workman’s comp doesn’t work either. And a great benefit to the employeer is if they are not for profit so they don’t pay social security but you have to.

  26. Yes and then there are the contant threats of being fired over stupid personal things you did or didn’t do. Did you go to the movie theater? Yea we are going to have to let you go. Nothing is too private or too personal for them not to determine your eligibility as an employee.

    And of course lets not forget the pay. This is the Lord’s work right? And although God doesn’t operate on money we do and don’t have enough so. So do that job with a smile even though you are barely paid above minimum wage for work that would get you twice as much in the real world.

    1. I once attended a “christian school” that bragged about paying their first-year teachers minimum wage… like they were going the “extra mile” for these teachers.

  27. I used to work in a secular job at a clothing store; one of the coworkers attended the same IFBx church I did at the time. He was fundy; I was not. He was always nice to me when he saw me a church, yet in the working environment, he was a complete jackass to me.

  28. Don’t forget the fringe benefits:
    1. Free couseling with the ManOGawd.
    2. Brownie points with Gawd.
    3. First dibs in the prayer chain.
    4. Automatic Suffering for Gawd.
    5. Higher standards than non-staff members (You become more spiritual.)
    6. Great suggestions for personal improvement (Tips!).
    7. Be the first to know what is going on in your favorite NPO.
    8. Work for an organization that is going to please Gawd and ignore government safety regulations.
    9. An incredible pension waiting for you in heyvan.
    10. Free leftovers from the last church potluck.

  29. HAC grad and worked in the ministry for 13 years. Our last church we were at for ten years, and they started a college. That upped the ante. We now had to fill out weekly activity reports (like we were back in college). The questions were along the lines of did we attend all 3 services, which soulwinning meeting did we attend, how many hours had we visited, how many souls were saved, how many baptisms, etc. Then often we were asked to “hold” our paychecks and several times the paychecks bounced. This was just insult upon injury when you are at poverty level. Oh my. UGH!!!! Then the staff ladies had to start wearing pantyhose to work and church.

    Good post Darrell.

  30. Been there, done that. Promised myself and my wife I would never put myself in a position where my pastor was also my boss.

    I thought it was so cool the way you have to agree on every point of a 5 page doctrinal statement to keep your job…no matter how hard you work.

    Not sure anymore if the KJV is the only Bible – fired! Questions concerning the timing of last things? – fired! Don’t believe Melchisedek was an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ? Well, better just keep your mouth shut in church…..and work!

      1. And dont forget to tithe on your tax refund which you definitely get since you pull down a whopping 20k for a family of four. Never mind that you already tithed on your gross income before you paid the taxes in the first place. And also dont forget if you get free health care or a housin allotment you must tithe on what you would pay if you paid it….and your boss/pastor knows what you should be tithing since he signs your paychecks

  31. I’ve always found it interesting that while we were expected to “live by faith,” the deacons and pastor couldn’t give us a raise and trust that the funds would come in. Hmmmm. I guess we’re just more spiritual…

  32. Of all the posts I’ve ever read on SFL, this is the one that resonates the most with me. Read the list below and guess, if you can, which of the following things was NOT true at the school where I used to teach:

    1. Full time teachers had to be in the church every time the door was open. The deacons stood in the doorway with a clipboard to mark off who showed up.
    2. Full time teachers also had to be involved with some kind of ministry in the church, and it had to be a very active ministry. If your ministry was to help out in the nursery, then you had to be on the schedule for for twice a month instead of the once a month that other people could do, because once a month wasn’t frequent enough.
    3. When I was pregnant and had to wear sneakers instead of dress shoes, because my feet were so swollen, I actually had to bring a doctor’s note to get permission.
    4. Tithes were automatically deducted from our paychecks before we even saw the checks.
    5. Church membership was mandatory.
    6. Even on vacation, you had to attend church. You had to bring back the church bulletin from wherever you attended to prove it.
    7. No couple could work full time in the school and not have other jobs, too. There just wasn’t enough money to live off of. Everybody either had a spouse who worked somewhere else, or they worked in the day care, they drove a school bus, or did anything at all to make ends meet.
    8. My husband was told to mix two chemicals together to clean paint off of a railing. When he tried to refuse, they threatened his job. He ended up with carbon monoxide poisoning and had to stay off of work for three days, recovering. The school kept calling to tell him he needed to go back to work. His bosses did not apologize until we said the magic word: OSHA.
    9. The pastor secretly tapped a member’s phone and used what he recorded to accuse two female staff members of having a lesbian affair. They were both fired on the spot.
    10. Church members passed out big buttons that said, “I love my pastor” in the church lobby. Staff members who didn’t wear one got fired.
    11. When we hit financial hard times, the pastor called and asked if he could pray with us or help us out in any way.
    12. The church and school would not employ any divorced person full time because of the bad example it would set for the students. Part time, yes. Full time, no.

    1. I learned a few things from this whole experience. I learned that I will never again work in a school that is tied into one church, and that my husband and I will never work in the same Christian institution at the same time again. And I learned that I have no idea what evil a supposedly godly pastor is capable of. It’s a miracle that my husband and I are still believers.

      1. Yes, I feel surprised that we’re still Christians after all the junk our pastor put us through while on staff/church members, too.

        I think for us it was because we made a conscious decision that even though we were leaving fundy-land, we wouldn’t leave going to church or loving God behind. That and our family were the things that he couldn’t take from us.

    2. Holy Cow. That is just so terrible. Run as fast as you can away from there. My husband worked at his church/school right after he graduated from college. He came to the same conclusion, never again would he work at a school tied to a church. Ours was nothing like that, but there was a lot of junk going on there too.

      1. You are correct, #11 was not true. When we hit on financial hard times, we did call the church and ask for help from the food closet, and I have to say that they did give us some food. They left it in a shopping cart out in their lobby on a weekday afternoon. I came to the church to get it, and never saw a soul although the church office was fully staff with half a dozen people right then. Nobody expressed any concern or, heaven forbid, love for us. Not right then. Fast forward just over a year. We had been gone for six months when my husband became seriously ill, without any medical insurance, and was in the hospital. They had us listed in their prayer sheet as members all the sudden and sent a team or two to the hospital to pray with us. This was *after* they had already received our letter of transfer. Could it be because I had started writing a guest column for the local newspaper and they were hoping for good publicity? 😳 Nah, couldn’t be.

        1. Wow… This makes my fundie church/school seem perfect in comparison! I’m so glad you got out of there!!!

  33. I’m not a Fundy pastor, and I don’t intend to sound like I’m even close to the perfect pastor. However, I go out of my way to thank my staff, volunteers and members. I ensure they feel appreciated and enjoy their workplace. I feel a workman is deserving of his wages, so they are provided for with salary and benefits. I make sure they take vacations, and give them extra paid days off as a thank you, especially after Advent and Lent. Again, I’m not perfect, but I want to make sure to treat my staff as I want to be treated. At any rate, there are honorable pastor/supervisors out there.

    1. “I’m not a Fundy pastor”

      You hit it right there. Fundy pastors think their hotline to gawd gives them the right to treat their employees (and everyone else) like crap.

    2. Yes, I have seen the IFB side of things, and the ATI side of things. But the church where I currently attend is good. The pastors are caring and down to earth and don’t live high on the hog or impose legalistic rules on everyone. Most of the staff are friendly and hospitable, and treated with appreciation for the most part, as far as I’ve heard and seen.

      Thank God for those of you that are real people, too. That seek to capture the heart of Christ for others rather than the methods of the Pharisees.

  34. I’ve always beeen at small churches so I didn’t have to experience most of this. When I taught at two different Christian schools, they were not part of my home church so I escaped most of the pressure described in this post. I was annoyed at the Christian school that demanded that any time I was outside my home – ever – I had to be in a skirt or culottes. I guess their reputation would be tarnished if a parent saw their kids’ English teacher shopping at the grocery store while wearing a pair of pants.

      1. That would definitely be worse! No, we could wear them inside our own home, kind of like the way girls at BJU could wear sweatpants in their dorm.

        Were you allowed to wear pajamas to bed or did you have to wear nightgowns?

        1. I know of people – homeschoolers, maybe Gothardites or quiverfull folks – who won’t let their little girls wear pajamas to bed because “God can see you even at night.” Nighties only. I was pretty astounded when I heard that bit of lunacy. I’m sure they’re quite proud of their righteous standards; I only wonder how those little girls are ever going to feel unself-conscious enough to take a bath!

        2. Wow, we were Gothardites and I didn’t even hear that one!!! Then again, we were never “hard core” Gothardites–we didn’t homeschool, my dad was divorced and remarried, and we had no problem using birth control. Lots of women at his seminars wore jeans and makeup, too, and I don’t remember him ever teaching that women shouldn’t wear pants. That was all in the late 80’s. I wonder if his teachings became more extreme later on.

        3. A friend just told me recently that she knows Gothard personally. He was horrified at the extremes people had taken his teachings. He never preached against pants like you said. But somehow they took what he said and ran with it and made their own rules. News to me! I never went to his seminars but my parents were big time Gothardites but always left me at home to babysit when they went to the seminars. I always thought what my parents started doing to our family was straight from Gothard.

        4. I do not believe for a second that Gothard is shocked, shocked to learn the craziness he inspires. Fundies are the best BS & act ignorant & unaware players ever. You can’t spend decades profiting on crazy, and then act like you had no idea. I get why you wouldn’t want to admit to yourself the damage you’ve done, but it isn’t credible to anyone but those who don’t wanna admit the obvious.

  35. Reminds me of my volunteer time with the last IFB church. No matter what you did, it was never enough. Pastor talked a good deal about support but whenever something happened he backtracked faster than a NASCAR driver in the Daytona 500. Husband was the church janitor and had to pay for supplies out of his own pocket (and don’t think he got compensated!). Now, at the new church, I get urges to volunteer every now and then but remembering my time in IFB is enough to squelch it.

    1. Rose,
      why would you bother attending an institution that your have zero trust in treating you fairly? I just don’t understand the board’s general “fundylite” stance in the face of all this abuse.

      1. @maybe gray-it is not so simple…for me i “woke up”, spiritually, in this environment.Almost as a child i began to take in the spiritual realities along with scripture. i didnt know any better. Desperately wanting to follow god…it seemded right, comparatively, to my past. You had to be there……

      2. I can understand. Maybe Gray, it’s hard to explain, but even when you’ve left the awfulness and gone to a really good church, it takes time to get over the trust issues. I couldn’t bring myself to volunteer for any significant ministry for a long time even though I believed my new church was good, because there’s a difference between believing things are different now and actually being able to act on that belief. It takes time to rebuild trust. Maybe it’s not fair to the good church that one has joined to have to wait so long for the person to build up that trust, but a good church won’t pressure you into volunteering for stuff until you’re ready. I really appreciate our pastor in that regard – he asked me to do a couple things when I either wasn’t ready to commit to a long-term ministry or just had schedule conflicts and he was totally fine when I said no – no backlash, no “you’re not in God’s Will”, just “Okay, that’s fine”. I’m very happy now with the volunteer ministry I’m involved in, but it took about 3 years.

      3. Maybe–When I left IFB I had zero interest in going back to church, ever again. It was my husband who talked me into giving this new church a chance.

        I have sworn to anyone who will listen that I will not set foot in a Baptist church of any stripe ever again.

        1. Rose,
          I apologize for my terse response to your post. It was really a general comment but I responded to your post because I see a common theme, although I spoke to soon. Sometimes this place makes me laugh, and sometimes it gives me flashbacks and PST! Good times! 🙁

  36. Well, I taught at a Christian school for three years. Worst choice I ever made. My first year everything was pretty good (besides the music director and his charming wife running the new principal out of the school.) Second year, is when things turned really crappy. They decided to hire the pastors soon to be Nephew in law. They moved him into the aparment on the church property, which when I was hired on, they told me it would be mine as soon as it opened up. That was the first thing that really opened my eyes to who they really were. Then, this same soon to be Nephew in law was in the church office one evening, and I caught him lookin at porn on the churches computer. He turned himself in, but nothing was done to him. He called one of the high school girls a bitch, and when I mentioned it to the pastor/principal/uncle in law, I was basically called a liar, and that it was never said. Then, to top it all off, the music director and his lovely wife decided to come after me (since I didnt really care for the nephew in law), and they started spying on me and following me where I went. The music directors wife (and fellow teacher) treated me like crap, and took offense to everything I did, and acted like a spoiled little brat…………..anyway, needless to say I am GONE!!!! and so glad I am! I am earn double of what I was making working for these idiots, and………..I dont have to deal with their spoiled brat attitude. 😆

  37. It looks as though everyone has a fundy horror story when it comes to working for an fundy church/organization. I will share a story of one of my friends when he was a youth pastor at a fundy church. The senior pastor never really seemed to trust him….that he was actually doing office work when he was at the office. One day the senior pastor took off early to go run an errand and promptly turned out the lights in the office (as a good steward 🙄 ). A half hour later, my friend went to go make some copies, turned on the lights and found the pastor and his wife hiding behind a desk and a table. Apparently, they snuck back into the office and were spying on my friend hoping to catch him not working, which my friend found quite 😯 .

    1. My husband served nearly five years as youth/music pastor at a church when the church got a new senior pastor. His primary request of my husband? Sit in the office during the day and answer the phone because people who call a church like hearing a real person instead of an answering machine. I thought, “Then hire a receptionist.” My husband had worked building a rapport with the teens, going to their ball games, playing ball with them, helping build the youth group, but the new pastor saw none of that: he wanted him sitting at a desk answering the phone. We stayed one year before moving on.

  38. So, I’ve totally been there, done that at two different Christian schools. The first one they were dishonest about their benefits package. When asked what I would change if I were principal, I said I would change the way the benefits worked so it was easier to understand. The principal replied that it wouldn’t work because it would be harder to recruit new teachers that way.

    Now, I’m out of fundamentalism and teaching in a Christian school. They pay at or above what I would make in the local public schools. I can go to whatever church I want in the area. If I do extra work beyond my 2 preps of 5 classes, I get paid more. It has been absolutely wonderful. I didn’t know schools like this existed.

    1. Dude – that sounds wonderful! Mark, where is this amazing school? I have been scared about going back into teaching because I’m afraid I’ll get stuck in another crazy-Fundy school where I taught six different classes a day with one maybe prep if I didn’t have to sub that hour …

      1. It’s in Highlands Ranch, CO. Valor Christian School.
        I came from fundy schools where one year I had 8 preps in an 8 hour day. I was the network administrator, web designer, coach, and everything else that could be piled on me. Here at Valor, my first year my department head apologized for sticking me with 3 preps in 5 classes total. Then this year they dropped me down to 2 preps with 5 classes. I teach Algebra 1 and Algebra 2. That’s all. If I want to do anything extra (like coaching, working crowd control at a football game, summer school) I get paid extra, either in cash or lunch account money and their cafeteria is amazing. Oh, and they’re hiring.

  39. Wow, I am stunned.

    Everyone of you has my deepest regards and respect.

    Your faith and your good will were used as weapons against you.

    These pastors and leaders are dangerous. They have authoritarian and narcissistic personalities.

    They behave like abusive husbands in abusive relationships. This is more true than a metaphor.

    Be safe.

  40. This hit home with me… one of the big eye-openers was hearing some poor married women who worked as secretaries to the staff.

    In my naivete, I always thought that working at the church would be the best job for the Christian fellowship and lack of the “bad things” in the secular world.

    I was shocked to hear the ladies discussing their stress-related health problems working for “Bro. So ‘n so”; when they quit, the symptoms went away.

    “My brethren, such things ought not so to be!”

    It was an early eye-opener.

  41. A certain pastor had separate pay rates and benefits for the male members of the school staff and for the female members of the school staff.

    Guess who was payed less?

    Guess whose benefits were less?

    Never mind that this is against the both federal and the state law in which the church/school is located. 😯

  42. Reading these comments was a real eye-opener for me that some people have really suffered at the hands of unethical IFB people. It is sad when the secular workforce has a greater degree of ethics and accountability and they do not have any respect for the Word of God and the truth. Then the IFB wackos come along and operate with no ethics in spite of their supposed belief in the Word of God which condemns lying, favoritism, etc. I have my own stories of hypocrisy after working in two IFB organizations, but there is not enough space to tell them. Suffice it to say, these stories are very sad and an indictment against the wacko part of the IFB movement.

    For the record I am still in an IFB church but it is not of the wacko variety!

  43. I’ve never worked for a fundie organization, but my dad made a career of it. Growing up, he was the principal of the Christian school who worked long hours and stressed over everything. I remember being about 8 or 9 and no one being home with me because it was “calling night” and everyone over a certain age was expected to be there…especially employees. Fast forward to my high school years and dad was working for a different organization–in sales, a couple hundred miles from the “home base”. He was required to go to an opening banquet for his annual sales meeting instead of being a few hours late and in turn missed escorting me at my high school’s homecoming court. It was clear to me then that work was a far higher calling than anything remotely family related.

    I didn’t work for the organizations he did, but it surely left an impression on me.

      1. It saddens me too. As a kid I didn’t know any better. As an adult I am sad and angry that I lived in a home that was so close to the truth, yet lived so far away from it.

  44. I worked for Fundy U over summer breaks to help cover tuition. I stayed because the chances of finding a job in my hometown were minimal. Two instances stand out in my memory:
    One summer I worked in their warehouse packing Christian school textbooks. Jean skirts. Flaming hot temperatures. Heaving lifting and drudgerous work. I signed on for a 40-hour work week at the beginning of the summer. By the end of the summer we were working 12 hour days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, plus 8 hours on Saturday. This was not optional; my choice was either to comply or to be fired (and since my job paid for my room and board over the summer, I would be not only jobless but homeless).
    Another summer I worked for a different department. One day at work, without explanation, the “summer dorm supervisor” drove up to my office building and demanded that I get in the car. She refused to tell me why-just drove me to the Dean’s office and left me there. That’s when I found out that the Dean had been reviewing the camera footage from the snack rooms in the dorms. I guess she got bored over the summer. Anyway, she was concerned by the fact that I was on camera on 2 separate occasions when going down to the snack machines at 2 and 3 in the morning to buy candy bars. Then (no joke) she pulled out a printout of my vending machine purchases for the past year (I bought stuff with my student ID card.) I was caught red-handed-I had been purchasing one diet soda every day for a year! She knew (somehow) that I am diabetic, and she lectured me on caring for my temple properly before letting me go back to work, after informing me that she would be checking in with the Dining Common every week to ensure that I had been scanning my cards at meals (to make sure I ate “healthy” food. Anyone who has ever eaten at that Dining Common can see the irony in that.)

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