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Three Trustee Positions Now Open, Maybe.
By: Toni Tucker
Do You Trust Your Money-Heart with Others?
This is a make believe scenario, maybe:
Okay, you're a Pastor of an any-sized church anywhere in the USA.
You happen to fill out your Race as being, "white, Caucasian" not of Hispanic descent on the US Census Bureau's questionnaire when it arrives at your house. Your church is predominately white, with a notable growth in "people of color." The growth is mostly in that of blacks, Latinos, and Asians. For years your focus has been that of the Lord's. To win souls to Christ. Also, to actively participate in what the Bible clearly says that Jesus will ask of us at the Judgment Day. Did you feed the hungry, check. Did you visit those in prison, check. Did you take care of the Widows, check. Did you help shelter the homeless, check.
You have about 55 percent of your congregation who are faithful tithers and givers. You believe in tithing as a thing of today and not just of the past. For years, however long you've been in the ministry and a Pastor of an ever growing flock you've had a faithful, usher board, clean up crew, greeting members crew, choir, praise and worship leaders, audio and video team, missions leadership, youth ministry, children's ministry, singles ministry, married ministry, seniors ministry. etc...
You whole heartily trust your team of elders and intercessors. The trustees are men and women who have your church's back and they are filled with integrity and you trust them till the end with the growing flow of money from tithes as offerings. There is an excellent system of checks and balances, especially in the area of financial accountability.
Every-one's getting along for the most part, there are at times issues that come and go. These issues are addressed and handled spiritually and with prayer and resolved. After a number of years the top three trustee's are ready to retire and hand off their extremely important financial responsibility to some other trusted souls within the congregation. And if your church is a larger church or even considered to be a 'mega-church' with thousands of congregants, you have an 'outside' entity that helps account for the churches yearly budget and it's spending. For years, the 'inside' accountants have been, let's say, established Caucasian brethren. And if you do have an 'outside' bank or accounting firm that gives a triple stamp of approval on the going-on's of your church's income and the outcome spending, it's an trusted mostly all white firm or bank.
Now, remember, several spots have just opened up for 'inside' trustees. Three Trustee positions are now open. Three of the old regime of Trustee's are ready to retire for whatever reasons. Say you have exactly six members of the church who are aware of these openings and three of them have MBAs. Master of Business Administration Degrees.
The other three breakdown like this. One has some college education, but dropped out to help run a family business. The second has a GED, and the third is the son of the now retiring head trustee with a Bachelor's Degree in Business. Now the other three people all have post-graduate degrees, one from Brown University, the second from Stanford school of Business, and the third, from Moore-House, in Atlanta, GA. I think any savvy person reading this knows where this is going. The three MBA'ed people are all African Americans. The other three, are all Caucasians. Now keep in mind, none of the six have any musical gifts whatsoever. But, simultaneously when the three trustee positions opened up, there was also a position for a second lead praise and worship singer. Now in your interviewing, and given the recommendations of your former long term trustee's bid for his grandson to step in his place, and with the push of the three Highly educated MBA brothers, no pun intended; you as the Pastor and other church leaders find yourselves in an unexpected dilemma.
You love the Lord, love the ministry, but, there's something truthfully nagging at you. You don't know if you can justify hiring one, two, or even all three of your highly educated, and saved, African American, Brown, Stanford, or Moore House University members. Excuses rise. Maybe one of them could take the music position. No, he doesn't sing or play an instrument. But all black people at least can 'sing.' That would be more suitable for at least the Moore House kid, besides, his mom has been singing in the choir faithfully, for five years now. Only if this guy could sing, I'd have a place for him.
Wait a minute, stop, flip the script!...
What if this scenario were switched around?
Now, It's a predominately African American church with the same characters, just with different ethnic backgrounds. Would a black Pastor find himself in this same 'dilemma?' Would a black Pastor consider placing a 'top of his class MBA' white brother in the position of a choir leader, when his background and skills scream Financial Genius?
And how any people of color work at these prestigious accounting firms hired as a backup for checks and balances?
The point is...
How far have we really come? Can a white pastor without a blink of the eye hire three replacement MBA's who have all graduated at the top of their various university's with post grad degrees? Would he have resistance from the elders, the inner circle, the remaining trustee's, anyone from the congregation? Or would they feel better and safer and not 'fear' if maybe one of these people were hired to be a praise and worship leader, not withstanding the fact that the position would be flat out refused and considered an insult to the highly educated African American seeking placement where he feels and knows he would properly fit in his church ministry. It's hard enough for him to get job outside of the church let alone inside, even if he's volunteering his expertise.
Would an African American Pastor face the same inner turmoil and outside flack from his remaining trustees, elders, or any members of the congregation as well? Would he ever really even 'go there' about placing a Stanford or Brown University MBA top financial student in the role as a music leader, when that person has no musical inclinations other that his faithful mother singing in the choir for five years? Would he dare bring insult to injury, by not only not hiring the white brother rightfully so as a replacement trustee, but instead, throwing a curve ball at him and suggesting he lead the music or sing. Besides, all white people have rhythm and can sing, right?
The questions is blaring! 2010 and can we go outside of our box and comfort zone, and just hiring the right people for the right position without a lot of hullabaloo? And if in fact, the three brothers are hired to act as the new trustees at a predominately white church with a growing 'people of color' membership, would the rules of the game change? Would there be spies placed to look over their heads to check and recheck the books at every chance to the cent?
Keep in mind, in this made up scenario, the extra eyes weren't there prior to the replacements. It didn't happen before, so why the extra eyes, or new security if you will. Would the 'outside' accounting firm get the memo to 'step up' in their thorough accounting?' And to comb and re-comb the books with a tighter grip?
Fear, distrust, mistrust, years of growing up hearing negative things and thinking negative things in the back of one's mind about other people causes this. Ethno-centrism, lack of feeling at ease and comfortable, the making up of excuses when people are clearly, hands-down not only qualified but, over qualified to take over and account for the money, is a showing sign that perhaps; our churches haven't arrived as much as we'd like to put on the facade.
I pose this question to America's Pastors and other Christian Leaders, and members.
Dig deep inside and be honest with yourself, would you trust easily or not? Can you trust if this happened at your church?
If you can great! Praise the Lord and Hallelujah!
If not, black or white or whatever ethnicity you are, although you might be keeping in line with the scripture in other areas; your money heart may not be all that right, let alone, right with God.
Paraphrasing the Bible, God asks us all this question now, "How can you say you love me, when you don't love your brother whom you see everyday?"
Remember, this is all hypothetical. You can insert any ethnicity from your personal experience if you'd like in this probing and challenging hub. Say for instance, you are a Pastor at a mostly Korean Church, and a Hispanic with an MBA who is also a faithful member and tither at the church vys for the newly opened Trustee position, would it cause an issue of trust to be raised? Or vice-versa.
Really think about it.
Is this what God was trying to convey to the Church when he had the Apostle Paul say, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male nor female, for we are all one in Christ?"
If you are ever faced with this situation, how much would you rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit, despite any up-roar from faithful congregants.
Can and will the Church of Christ ever get it together at the core of its flesh and true-gut feelings about those whom we worship with and say we love, but when it gets down to the nitty-gritty we still don't trust them all the way to the place of where the money goes. Where hundreds of thousands of dollars flow.
And if you're blessed to be what's considered a "Mega-Church" with thousands upon thousands of members, with a flow of millions upon millions of dollars, can you safely say and act out on being totally color-blind and be free to hire different ethnicity's to govern those coveted church funds without fear? Fear that money will be stolen? Fear that you'll be cheated?
Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34 point out that, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."