Non-compete in ministry

First I have to come right out and say I only have myself to blame for being bit by a non- compete since I was the one who suggested to the church leadership were I was employed that it should be implemented.

I WAS WRONG!

If ministry is truly about building the Body of Christ it should not matter if an employee’s talents are used at the church down the road. A church leadership that implements a non-compete is 100% thinking about their own growth and not God’s people. It is a selfish action based on fear.

I have also seen church leadership carefully select who in the organization is asked to sign a non-compete agreement. If your co-workers are being asked to sign a non-compete and you are not asked it is an indication that leadership wants you to leave. This should be common sense. Leadership values the people it is concerned will leave and/or leave to help a nearby church grow and therefore requires a non-compete. One purposes of such an agreement is a scare tactic to get a valued employee to stick around. For those employees leadership does not value and actually wants to leave a non-compete may prolong their exit.

Employers rely on fear to get you to sign, and ignorance that you won’t check the laws in your state to see if a non-compete is enforceable. Some employers know, but don’t care, that their non-compete agreements are not enforceable. Each state has different labor laws and you need to do a little research before you sign anything! A non-compete is binding only if it’s reasonable in scope and necessary to protect the company’s interests. For example, it might be enforceable if it restricts you from working for a competitor for six months within a 25-mile radius, but not beyond that scope or if you can prove it will seriously impact your right to make a living. Remember – that state you live in wants you to be employed!

You should also be compensated for signing a non-compete. If you’re a new-hire at the time your employer asks you to sign, then employment alone might be compensation enough, at least for a court. But if you’ve already worked there for awhile and your employer doesn’t offer you an incentive to sign it, other than termination if you don’t, then a court might be on your side if you refused to sign and your employer retaliated.

The bottom line is this. Even though an employer gives a healthy Christmas bonus it still does not mean they don’t abuse employees with covert employment policies such as shunning. It is not right for any company or organization to abuse their workers and the church must elevate above all this mess and lead by example. This week I had several conversations with people who were deeply hurt by the ministry they worked for. These people are not victims because they worked through the hurt and continue to work for God. Telling the truth does not make you a victim, staying down does and without the truth people will continue to abuse people.

A preacher will stand behind the pulpit and claim we are not of the world, yet have their HR department implement a non-compete agreement. Please take a long hard honest look at yourself. Are the actions you are taking today motivated to help people, truly help ALL people, or just to keep you in control of the kingdom you created?

Please forgive the duplicate but I felt the following statement needed to be repeated:

If ministry is truly about building the Body of Christ it should not matter if an employee’s talents are used at the church down the road. A church leadership that implements a non-compete is 100% thinking about their own growth and not God’s people. It is a selfish action based on fear.

 

[Ask] [Bloglines] [del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Fark] [Faves] [Furl] [Google] [Hugg] [LinkedIn] [Ma.gnolia] [Mixx] [MySpace] [MyWeb] [Newsvine] [Reddit] [Squidoo] [StumbleUpon] [Technorati] [Twitter] [Windows Live] [Yahoo!] [Email]

Tags: , , ,

  • Good post and timely I was just considering a non-compete for my west coast rep.

    I have thought about non-competes when working with freelancers, after all I don’t want to alert them to a potential client…good words to chew on so I’ll repeat them too:

    A church leadership that implements a non-compete is 100% thinking about their own growth and not God’s people. It is a selfish action based on fear.

  • Lepayton

    I see your point and agree with it in principle. I do tend to believe that a non-compete agreement is beneficial to a church when a popular Pastor resigns without notice. My church is involved in this now. The Pastor said he quitting because “someone” told him that he stayed the church would split. I believe we are in danger of just the opposite happening if he accepts another church nearby. Our church is a family of members worshiping the Lord. A split is tantamount to tearing the family apart.