You may remember reading on my blog recently about Meaghan May, a young lady who worked as a customer service representative at Ligonier Ministries during the uproar caused by their unbiblical lawsuit against a professing Christian and subsequent cover-up. Meaghan was the only non-managerial employee at Ligonier who spoke publicly about the lawsuit, and she strongly defended Ligonier's management in comments on this blog.
Well, only a few weeks later, Meaghan is no longer defending Ligonier. In fact, she has left the organization under circumstances that provide the latest evidence of major mismanagement at Ligonier, with implications for all current Ligonier staff.
Meaghan's husband, currently studying for a Masters of Divinity and Counseling Degree at Reformed Theological Seminary, tells the story of her recent plight at Ligonier:
“So my wife got a new job (yay!) and gave her two weeks' notice today after three years of faithful work...and then two hours later they "terminated" her! God, however, showed us really quickly that he will provide for us through the mess left in our laps. Meaghan can start her new job earlier than originally planned, and her old employer agreed to at least pay her unused vacation. Here's to a few days off! It's hard to know how to respond to a situation like this when it's not you but your wife who's going through it. Feeling this desire to protect her and defend her honor, I may have been less gracious in my blog entry for today (in that I actually mentioned what these people did) than she was in hers today, and I want to make it clear that I am damn proud of her in how she's acted through all this!”Even though Ligonier's policy is for employees to give two weeks' notice of resignation, and even though Meaghan complied with the rules, Ligonier's management fired her for daring to quit! It's a good thing senior management was "generous" enough to pay her for her unused vacation time.
In her blog, Meaghan mentions the three years of trials she endured at Ligonier and how she has been praying about it for the last couple years. She says something about her new job, though, that would be rather puzzling if we were not familiar with the recent happenings on at Ligonier: "I keep waiting for them to be gruff with me if I did something incorrectly, but they are very patient and just excited to see me take on new tasks." I'd like to be able to interpret this comment charitably, but the only way I can understand it is that Meaghan had become so accustomed to verbal abuse at Ligonier that she had begun to think it normal and expected more of the same at her new job.
Ligonier's mistreatment of Meaghan while on the job and continuing as soon as she announced her departure is particularly significant given that she was, after Tim Dick and John Duncan, the most visible staff defender of both the organization and its senior management. Meaghan's loyalty to Ligonier was the strongest when they needed it most - at the height of public uproar over the lawsuit, when Ligonier issued the misleading statements by Tim Dick and Senior Management. In response to the critics, Meaghan posted some very strong comments all over the web defending her employer and identifying herself as the very customer service rep I spoke with at Ligonier. Meaghan did eventually apologize for "any confusion, for Ligonier's part in making the situation more difficult, and that her responses as a customer service representative were not as helpful as they had tried to be." She nevertheless insisted that Ligonier was not trying to lie, that they were all concerned about the situation for the Lord's sake, and that it was all just a matter of miscommunication.
You would think, given Meaghan's vocal public loyalty, that senior management at Ligonier would want to ensure that her last experience of the organization was positive, given that she was going to leave anyway. Instead, Ligonier management bizarrely chose to reward her loyalty ("I will not abandon His ministry, but only pray more earnestly for it") by instead insisting on firing her after she gave notice of quitting.
You will not be surprised to learn then that Meaghan is not the first employee Ligonier management has spurned and discarded. Reportedly, groups of nine and ten employees, some with decades of faithful service, were let go in 2004 and 2005 not long after Ligonier leadership purchased expensive trophy properties. Ligonier is also currently not paying Don Kistler, after he had a stroke and the doctor told him he couldn't go back to work for a few months -- although Tim Dick continues to be paid despite his own medical condition that severely reduces his ability to work productively. Is such behavior in conformity with Ligonier's HR policies? Is this kind of disparity in treatment legal?
And how about ethical treatment? We all know that God’s Word tells us at a minimum to be kind to one another, preferring one another in brotherly love, etc., but let’s get down to specifics. Paul talks about masters and bondservants in Ephesians, and the principles in those verses clearly also apply to employers and employees. Here is a short list of what God expects from purportedly Christian employers:
- Sincerity of heart, as to Christ
- Doing the will of God from the heart
- With goodwill doing service, as to the Lord
- Giving up threatening
Reportedly, the atmosphere at Ligonier these days is far from this biblical standard, with management threats being common. I'm sure that most Ligonier employees love the Lord and desire to do what is right in His sight, and that they love Ligonier and Dr. Sproul and want to see them both glorify God in all that they do. At the same time, it should be clear to any honest Ligonier employee the vast gulf between what Ligonier management teaches and what they practice, such as what the Bible teaches about handling disputes among believers.
Consequently, employees must be wondering what their obligations are as Christians. I suspect that many would love to speak out and help expose the truth to donors, but fear that doing so would cost them their jobs and possibly also their friends and church. Given the potentially high price, so far most have chosen to remain silent, many while quietly seeking other employment. But I have to ask all such employees: Is your job worth the price of your integrity? Didn't Jesus say that following him would be costly?
As we see by Meaghan's example, you should not expect Ligonier management to reward loyalty with loyalty, unless you're part of the Sproul, Dick or Duncan families. You should not expect that helping management cover up and defending them from critics will protect you from management wrath in the end. If you are "laid off" for "financial" reasons, how will you be able to prove if it was actually for any other reason?
Under the circumstances, it seems to me that, instead of trying to protect the Ligonier leadership, subordinates should help expose the internal scandals in the hopes of cleansing and restoring Ligonier. Fortunately, honorable Ligonier staff can do this discreetly and protect themselves by keeping a low profile at work while supplying information to those who have a genuine interest in seeing Ligonier restored - Ministry Watchman or myself or another trusted outsider - by setting up anonymous e-mail accounts accessed only at home and used only for this purpose. This would help put on public pressure for the replacement of senior management by those with track records that show more concern about glorifying God than gratifying their pocketbooks.
As a former long-time monthly Ligonier donor who loves the Ligonier that used to glorify God and hopes only to see them restored to the glory of God and the blessings of His people, I appeal to all Ligonier insiders who are willing to take a stand against management tyranny, even anonymously and confidentially, to help expose evil deeds of darkness for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, His Kingdom, and His Glory.