Adam McLane the tech guru at YS (and all round good guy) wrote a very interesting article about "What to Say When the Youth Pastor Leaves". He notes a behavior I'd never heard of before, folks being paid off to say they had quit when in fact they were being fired. It strikes me as an incredibly dishonest thing for a church to be doing and, as Adam notes, rather cowardly. Apparently the idea is that you're "sparing" the congregation and/or the youth pain if the pastor is leaving "voluntarily" and to ease the pain for the pastor you bribe him/her to lie.
I wrote the following in the comments then thought it might be appropriate for me to offer here on my own blog too. Here's what I said:
"Having said that let me note what happened in my last job (in the media not the church). I was offered the choice. I could quit or be fired. No mention of any penalty one way or the other. I chose to “quit” for the good of the staff. We’d lost several other key players (I left with 17 years experience and from a management post) within the last 6 months. Employee morale was in the toilet and in my considered opinion it would be better for the ongoing work environment if I “quit”. So I wrote my letter of resignation, packed my box, got hugged on and walked out. Was it a lie? From a plain reading of the situation yes. I did not leave voluntarily, I was out the door one way or the other (and in the long view thank God for that!).
So did I do wrong? I’m comfortable with what and why I did it. Be interested in other thoughts."
I have no doubt that my subterfuge was thin enough that everyone recognized it for what it was. My passion for my job and that company had in fact been the final straw that had pushed me out the door (note to self - don't tell consultants they're wrong, even when they are.) I was the "face" of my radio station and had been for over a decade. Unless I got a new and better gig I wasn't going anywhere. But I didn't think my co-workers, who had to remain behind, would be best served by having yet another long timer shown the door by management. Maybe I was wrong but as I said I'm comfortable with what I did.