Among its ministers the church numbers a group of problem preachers, those middle-aged and older men who are just biding their time until they can draw retirement checks from Pension Boards and Social Security. Meantime they contribute little to local congregations and to the overall work of the church.
Perhaps the church can learn from large secular corporations. Listen to Mr. Johnston, for example, the personnel vice-president of a corporation as he talks to Mr. Hill, consultant from an outside management firm: “Here’s my problem. We have four division managers—all from 50 to 57 years of age—who are one level below vice-presidential rank. Top management has decided these men aren’t qualified to handle vice-presidential assignments, so they won’t be promoted.”
“Perhaps,” Mr. Johnston continued, “it’s significant that the men themselves seem to have reached the same decision. On the way up to their present positions they were good performers. Until recently, they were effective division managers. But now they have begun to coast. We’ll have to make other promotions around these men. In doing this we anticipate some trouble and friction. We also see problems in letting these division managers stay just to coast along eight or more years to retirement. We don’t want to discharge them, because each man has given the company some 30 years of loyal and effective service. What can we do?”
“What do you pay these men?” Hill asked.
“An average of $25,000 a year.”
“Then if they stay with you until retirement, the company actually faces a bill of at least a million dollars for what you fear will be increasingly unsatisfactory performance.”
“I hadn’t thought of it that way,” said Johnston, “but you’re right. And when you nail the figure down ...1
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