Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Contracts: Why? and How? #1

But why does a church and a preacher need a contract? We’re Christians aren’t we?  We’re honest aren’t we?  We trust each other don’t we?

My plan in the next few posts is to explain what I have learned from the University of Hard Knocks, whose school colors are black and blue and the school yell is: “OUCH!”  I have learned that contracts are not for dishonest people.  Contracts are to preserve and protect agreements made by dead people and forgetful people.

The first two congregations where I preached, I did not have a written agreement.  We talked about some things, omitted some important issues, and recorded nothing to which we could later refer.  When I took my first week off, to my dismay, I realized that we had not discussed vacations.  I assumed that every preacher received a week or two off each year with pay.   I returned from visiting family during Christmas and did not have a check for that week.  After some conversation, one elder said, “He didn’t do nothing.  Don’t give him nothing.”  The eldership remained united on that decision.

I discussed that with the next congregation and had a verbal agreement that I would have two weeks’ vacation each year with pay.  I had learned an important lesson:  don’t assume.

...to be continued...

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