Friday, September 07, 2007

staff sustainability

i worry about my staff these days.

there is still plenty of laughter and enthusiasm around the office, but everyone is working so hard and so long to make things happen that i can't help but feel like burn out is either already occurring or just around the corner.

they truly are a tremendous bunch of people - having lived through remarkable job-related stress, the upheavals of change, and a welcome turn to relational health, our staff have now been beset by significant financial woes and the effects those limitations have on their ministry areas and their personal lives.

sadly, the money has been so limited we had to let 5 of our staff members go.
this is something i've not previously spoken of, or blogged about.
to be honest, it's simply been too painful - they are my friends, have been my companions and my trusted peers. when we had to let them go i sobbed in every private moment.

i've never felt so horrible or so angry with god.

cognitively, i understand that his goodness has nothing to do with the impoverished circumstances of their departure; but it was hard to let them go after they had stuck by jvo, randy, and myself for the past two years - through an insane amount of mudslinging, half-truths, suspicion, and doubt [if those adjectives need explaining, be grateful to god. our recent history at westwinds has left something to be desired].

the church, now, is healthy in many ways - and is getting healthier by the second!

but the cost is so high - how can we possibly continue to do so much with so little? we're under-staffed by at least 2 full timers, and if there was any justice in the universe for vocational ministers we'd also have a few additional admin staff.

still, our struggle remains financial.

those who are new to faith or new to westwinds simply have not yet cultivated a sacrifical ethic of giving. this is to be expected, but given that almost half of our congregation fall into this category it makes us aware that the financial future will be one hard-fought and heavily labored.

here's a funny story, though - despite our financial dips we've remained faithful in giving 10% of our church budget to missions. some of that support goes to missionaries. well, i got a nasty note from a child of one of those missionaries complaining about how much we talk about money at westwinds [which, as a rule, is less than 3min per week].

isn't that bitter?

this kid complains that i talk 3min about money after years of giving money to his/her family.

that really shouldn't bother me - in fact, that it does bother me if proof that my concerns for the sustainability of my staff output should also be echoed for myself.

i am wonderfully proud of everyone who works at westwinds - they are champions all.
randy for courageously fighting a public battle with cancer
lori for tackling the single, most invested ministry initiative of her career
ben for leading our students on 2 life-changing missions in less than two years
angie for her incredible efficiency and warm devotion to jvo and i
norma for her wisdom, faithfulness, and goodness[she's a pro at overlooking my flaws]
and jvo - for being the best damn companion any hellfighter could ever wish for

cheers, folks - our reality hasn't caught up with us yet
but when it does, let's hope that our passion for jesus overwhelms our exhaustion


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