Teaching and fellowship principles

I have a friend of mine who is interested in attending our church and wants to know more about being WELS. Just one snag, she teaches 7-8 grade at a Roman Catholic school, but only the subjects of English and Math, and does not teach religion. If she joined the WELS, would she have to quit her job at the school? Thank you in advance!

This is something you and your friend will want to pursue with your pastor. He is in a position to receive more complete information and help you answer questions like these: Would that situation be wrong? Is it wise?

In the meantime, it would likely be helpful for you and your friend to study biblical fellowship principles. Church Fellowship—Working Together for the Truth is a book that can lead you through a study and application of those principles. The book is available from Northwestern Publishing House. Here is a pertinent section from that book: “Our members are sometimes employed by churches, religious schools, or institutions affiliated with a church. Many of these jobs, such as janitorial or secretarial work and food service jobs, usually involve no religious fellowship. Our churches and schools sometimes employ non-members in such positions. Civil rights laws requiring nondiscrimination in hiring may also come into play in some of these cases.

“Other jobs, such as teaching or musical leadership, may involve a worker in the religious ministry of the church or may require participation in worship. Accepting such a job would then involve a compromise of fellowship principles.

“Other cases may be unclear, such as some teaching or coaching positions. In such cases a person should examine each situation on its own merits or demerits. How does the employer define the job? What are the requirements of the job? We cannot necessarily assume that the requirements of the position are the same as they would be for a similar position in our churches.

“Ambiguous situations are sometimes a matter of judgment. Two Christians in very similar circumstances may come to different conclusions. As stated earlier, in such situations we should be cautious about judging the decisions made by others. Doubtful cases are not a wise place to exercise church discipline.”

The preceding thoughts can give you something to think about. Again, do contact your pastor.