FIDDLIN' WITH THE STAFF

It's not easy to keep the music going when all eyes are on first chair.

It was George Bernard Shaw who said the most difficult instrument to master is second fiddle.

I confess a love of symphony but a rustic understanding of orchestras. Violins are the stuff of orchestras, but fiddles? Isn't a fiddle a violin that thinks too little of itself—a Stradivarius with low self-esteem? Violins are singing strings urged by the gentle bow of art to seduce the ear of gods. Fiddles, they say, are cat intestines rasped over by horse tail.

Sometimes there is more fiddle than violin in church-staff relationships. Excellence is the goal, but the unsettled feelings that keep some church staffers unhappy (and frequently resigning) make fiddles out of violins.

I am writing the morning after the sudden resignation of a three-year staffer. I felt we were good friends, and I have been ever pleased—as has the whole congregation—with his work. But he's leaving.

In our denomination average staff tenure is better measured in months than year—fifteen to be exact. ...

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