A male believer M (pseudonym) and his wife have both served full-time in a church located in an economically disadvantaged area for quite a several years, for which they can be called “senior leaders”. After getting married a few years ago, now they have a child who’s over a year old.
One day, a person from the church leadership team said to M’s wife， “From now on, you can continue to serve, but the team will no longer provide for you.” In other words, she was dismissed from her current position. Therefore, in the future, she could no longer serve as a full-time pastor, but as a volunteer.
The same as M's wife, another female Christian who is also a mother and needs to take care of her child was let go as well.
With regards to the reason for the dismissal, M claimed that they were told that these female church staff could not work outside for they had to look after children, that is to say, they could not go to the threshing floor outside the church to work, so they persuaded his wife to resign.
This church has meeting points in several places. M remarked that after they got married, their newborn baby needed daycare. If both of them went to work in other locations, the child would be left unattended. As a result, the wife stayed to serve in the local church, which meant that her responsibilities changed from frequent mission tours that she used to take to regularly pastoring local church members now.
After being dismissed, M's wife felt very sad. Meanwhile, M considered more realistic issues. "My wife being dismissed really affected us a lot. As we both served full-time before, we had more living allowances that could primarily meet the basic needs of the family. But now my wife has been given the notice, so I am the only one serving full-time, which means that I have to provide for the family by myself. Because the financial capacity of the church is also limited, it will not give me extra subsidies because I have a child in the family.”
M commented that such a thing had never happened before. It was not clear whether the pandemic caused the current situation, or the church actually had funding problems, or rather decision-making and management issues. "In the past few years, such a thing never occurred. Another female believer serving in the team also did ministries in the local church after getting married and having a child that she had to take care of. After her child grew up and went to school, she resumed her original position."
M found that not only married female co-workers with children were dismissed, but also some single female co-workers began to quit just because of the treatment that the married ones were receiving. "As they were also worried that they would be persuaded to resign one day without a new job or knowing what to do. Then, they took the initiative to make a backup plan for themselves in advance, which was to resign after finding a new job. They felt that leaving on their own sounded better, at least not as embarrassing as being discharged.“
"One female believer left our service team in April or May this year to work in a shopping mall. Most of the church staff who left were single females. Co-workers actually start serving as Christian singles. After they get married, they will continue serving in the church. At least we have always followed this way before,” M added with concern.
Female co-workers have been dismissed or voluntarily resigned and the situation of young male co-workers is not good either. “At the moment, there are only a few young male believers in our team. Very few have stayed. If these people are picked on, they may also leave in the future."
- Translated by Shuya Wang