Vol.II No.XI Pg.5
December 1965

If You Owned The Church

Robert F. Turner

(In this article we take some figurative license with terms. rft)

IF YOU OWNED THE CHURCH, would you be satisfied with the way your business is being conducted by your employees?? (Compare Matt.21:33-46)

The principle purpose of your institution is set aside in favor of purposes which better suit the sales force. "We have difficulty 'selling' this 'save souls in heaven' stuff," they say; "but 'social fellowship sells like hot-cakes and coffee."

You set up a "company-maintenance" fund: sick-leave and emergency relief benefits for employees, with a special 'widow indeed' clause. (Acts 4: 34-f. 1 Tim. 5:16) Your employees not only draw from this fund for themselves, but they use this fund and much of your regular operating capital for a general welfare program. When community or world conditions place individual obligations upon them, they "meet the need" by use of company funds. Their free hand, with your money, does attract more traffic -- for the hot-cakes and coffee - but it greatly reduces the time and inclination of your sales force to push your "soul saving" program. (They say, "just look at the 'business'!!")

You are paying your employees high salaries, at a very great cost to yourself, but they "take off" whenever they feel like going hunting, fishing, or 'just visiting the folks'. Their idea of "working for the company" is to attend one of the tri-weekly sales-force meetings - and many only come then to get their check. The regular seven-days-per-week work schedule to which they agreed, and on which basis you promised their pay, has been ignored for so long many scarcely know this is expected. They are surprised, and just a little bit hurt, if you mention it. Your plans for expansion via the "leaven" process, with independent and self-sufficient stores operating under local overseers, gets lip-service only. A few ambitious employees have decided that nation-wide interstore planning and operation is "more productive" -- at least, of the kind of results the employees want -- so they have made "independent" about as realistic as a "Home Cooking" sign on a chain restaurant in a big city.

Remember that time you sent portions of the abundance of some stores to supply a store in need? (2 Cor. 8: 1-14-f) Your employees now use that to justify inter-store funds and projects directed by a "sponsor" store.

The "manual of policy and operation" which you wrote, gathers dust -- seldom read and rarely studied. On their own the employees organized a training school which has developed its own brand of policy and operation. Company funds are solicited and used to support this school. Of course you didn't authorize this, but your employees think it is a "good thing."

And a few have taken your "every man a sales force" slogan to mean you didn't want a store in the first place.

Lord, be merciful in judgement!!