Mark S. Mitchell

Pastor, Writer, Follower of Jesus

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The Pursuit of Glory

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” Romans 2:7

I’ve always been intrigued by this verse. The Apostle Paul, writing to the church at Rome, says that it’s a good thing for us to seek glory, honor and immortality! My first reaction to that is that it’s wrong and selfish for us to seek after such things. Do not these things belong to God alone? This MUST mean that we should seek glory and honor for God, not ourselves!

Images come to mind of the athlete who is driven towards personal achievement because of the glory, honor and immortality it will give him. He’ll stop at nothing to make himself better because his own sense of personal worth is found in his success. The same principle is what drives so many people, whether it be in the arena of sports, business or entertainment.

It seems we’re somehow wired to pursue glory, honor and immortality, not just for God, but for ourselves.

In this context I can’t help but think of what C.S. Lewis wrote in his book, The Weight of Glory, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are halfhearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Perhaps our problem isn’t that we desire glory and honor for ourselves, but rather that we seek to fulfill that desire in the wrong ways. This is consistent with what Paul says in the verse from Romans following the one quoted above, “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” We aren’t to seek glory, honor and immortality in “drink, sex and ambition,” but “by persistence in doing good. 

The Scriptures are clear that the glory God gives surpasses anything that this world can offer. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks of an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison (2 Cor. 4:17). The glory and honor that we’ll receive from God is far greater than any glory we can achieve here on earth. It’s greater in at least three ways:

First, it’s a greater glory in its ability to satisfy. Those who have achieved the glory they so diligently pursued through selfish pursuits almost unanimously testify that it didn’t really do for them what they thought it would do. Many of these people “crash and burn” after achieving the very thing they worked so hard for. Part of the reason for that is they still have to live with themselves! Their circumstances have changed, but they haven’t. The glory God promises us is greater because it will involve a change in our very selves, an inward moral transformation. This is what Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Second, it’s a greater glory in how long it lasts. The glory of our personal accomplishments is a fading glory; it comes and goes. We’re like an alcoholic who has a greater and greater tolerance to alcohol and needs increasingly more to be satisfied. Yet, Paul speaks of the “eternal weight of glory.” The glory that God will give us will never fade. It will never run out. It will endlessly satisfy.

Third, it’s a greater glory in what it took to achieve it. I think of the blood, sweat and tears people are willing to endure to find some kind of glory here on earth. There’s the blood-smeared boxer emerging victorious to win the title he dreamed about as a boy, or the scientist who has worked a lifetime in obscurity, finally winning a Nobel Prize. These are impressive achievements because of the sacrifice and dedication it took to achieve them. Yet, the glory God offers was earned through far greater sacrifice and dedication than we can imagine. The Lord of glory, Jesus Christ, offered himself to be nailed in humiliation to a Roman cross, so that we might share in his glory, honor and immortality!

In The Lord of the Rings, all members of the Fellowship of the Ring stake their lives on a future realization of the glory beyond the bounds of the world. Their devotion to their quest to destroy a magical yet seductive ring doesn’t depend on any certainty about their own success. Near the end of their journey Frodo and Sam are alone, deep within Mordor crawling like insects across the wilderness. All their efforts seem to have failed. Even if they succeed in destroying the Ring, there’s no likelihood they’ll survive, or that anyone will ever hear of their courageous deed. They seem doomed to oblivion. Yet amidst such apparent hopelessness, Sam sees a single star shimmering above the dark clouds of Mordor. The glory of it smote his heart and faith returned to him. He realized that in the end the darkness was only a small and passing thing: there was light and glory forever beyond its reach. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. Sam has never before allowed himself to sleep because he felt he was responsible for Frodo’s safety, but now he crawled back into the brambles and fell into a deep sleep; a sign of faith that their ultimate well-being lay beyond any evil that Gollum or Sauron could inflict on them. Sam has found faith in a glorious future that will last.

Sam’s faith reminds me of Abraham of whom it was said, “He was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). This is the call of every Christ-follower: to seek glory, honor and immortality for ourselves, not through the trivial pursuits of this world, but by faith investing our lives in that which will last.

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Parenting Skill #3: Discipline

The third and final skill is that of discipline. Proverbs says a lot about the discipline of our children. It clearly lays this responsibility upon the parent’s shoulders. When Proverbs talks about discipline it’s clearly talking about somehow creating consequences for our children when they willfully disobey. This includes spanking, what Proverbs refers to as “the rod of discipline.” But as a child gets older and spanking is no longer appropriate it should include other forms of punishment such as taking away a privilege or assigning an unpleasant task or even allowing a child to suffer the natural consequences of his or her actions.

I realize that what I’m saying here isn’t very popular these days. Part of the reason for that is we have a tremendous problem in our society with out-of-control parents and child abuse. The discipline I’m talking about should only be done by a loving parent who is completely in control of his faculties. When done properly, it’s painful for a child, but it doesn’t injure a child. If there are parents who can’t control their own anger and are at all prone to be abusive, then they should find some other form of discipline.

But look at Proverbs 13:24, He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” The motive behind all discipline is love. The one who doesn’t discipline his child hates him. Proverbs has a radically different view of discipline than we often do. Many would say that the reason they don’t discipline their children is because they love them too much to hurt them. Parents are rightly concerned about being abusive, but the parent who won’t discipline his child is the truly abusive parent. The parent who won’t discipline his child is creating a situation where the child is bound to fail in life.

Part of the reason for this is the reality of sin in every child’s heart.  Look at 22:15, Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” Proverbs has a very realistic view of children. It recognizes the presence of foolishness, sin, and self-will in every child’s heart. We might like to think that every child is born with kind of a clean slate or even a propensity towards good, but that’s not what the Scripture teaches. Yes, every child is of infinite worth to God, but they are born with a bent towards self will. It’s a parent’s job to train a child through discipline that he cannot always have his own way.  And this will pay off later on as that child grows up and learns to submit his will to God. I’ve seen many willful adults, even believers, whose was never broken and still insist on running their own lives.

But all of this is not negative. There’s a positive purpose and result in discipline. Proverbs talks about this in 29:17, Correct your son and he will give you comfort, he will also delight your soul.” The result of discipline is that a child will bring comfort and delight to his parents. In other words, he’ll be a joy to be around! One of the saddest things is to see a family with an undisciplined child that makes everyone, parents included, miserable. God wants us to enjoy being with our children, but that rarely happens automatically; it takes discipline. I see a profound psychology in this. In order to feel secure and happy, children need parents who are firm in their discipline. A disobedient child is often a child who is trying to find out where his parents stand. If his parents don’t take a stand, he’ll continue to test them until they blow up. Deep down, the child just wants to know that someone cares enough about him to enforce limits.

How do we train our children? We start by knowing them, being students of them. Then we seek to train them by being models to them of authenticity in our own walk with God. We also intentionally impart the truth to them with confidence, with clarity, and by sharing our own story with them. And finally we discipline them in love.

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Parenting Skill #2: Teaching

The second skill which is needed in training our kids is the skill of teaching and communicating truth to our kids. As crucial as it is, it’s not enough to be a model; there needs to be an intentional transmission of truth to our kids. Look at Proverbs 4:1-9 .

Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father,
And give attention that you may gain understanding,

For I give you sound teaching;
Do not abandon my instruction.

When I was a son to my father,
Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother,

Then he taught me and said to me,
Let your heart hold fast my words;
Keep my commandments and live;

Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding!
Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.

Do not forsake her, and she will guard you;
Love her, and she will watch over you.

The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom;
And with all your acquiring, get understanding.

Prize her, and she will exalt you;
She will honor you if you embrace her.

She will place on your head a garland of grace;
She will present you with a crown of beauty.

Here we have an inside look at a father teaching his son or daughter. He begins by urging his child to listen to his teaching. He goes on to reflect on how his own father taught him when he was just a young child. He actually recalls some of the things his father said to him. In this conversation we have a very helpful model on how to teach our kids. There are at least three things we can learn from this.

First, we need to be bold. Both of the fathers represented here are not afraid to call their children to account. I see this in the number of commands here, as well as the fact that he seems to equate his own words with that of true wisdom. If we’re going to teach our children there needs to be a kind of godly confidence that we have something to say to them. We need to step up and accept the challenge to be grown ups in our kids’ lives and transmit to them truth that’s rooted in the Scripture. We need not apologize for this. We need not hem and haw.  We have something to say and we need to say it with confidence.

Second, we need to be specific. We need to be clear about what we’re trying to communicate to our kids. As I look at this father’s teaching I’m struck by the fact that he gives the child a very specific goal to pursue. We see it in v. 5 where he says, “Acquire wisdom!” To us wisdom is a nebulous concept, but to the Jewish mind it was a very concrete thing. It had to do with the truth embodied in God’s word. To acquire wisdom meant to revere God by embracing his truth. That’s the goal we must set before our kids—a life which values God’s word.

Third, we need to be personal. As he teaches his son, this father takes time to reminisce about his own childhood. He shares something of his own experience as a child. He recalls a very tender moment when he sat at his father and mother’s knees and learned from them. This isn’t just impersonal truth he is sharing with his son; it’s part of their family heritage. It’s something his own father had given to him and now he is giving it to his child. Our kids need to hear our stories! They need to hear how truth became a reality for us. If it’s part of your family heritage, tell them about that. If it’s not, tell them about how a relationship with God became a reality for you.

So these are three things we learn from the father of Proverbs about teaching our children. The best way to do this is simply as a part of everyday life. This doesn’t all take place in one half-hour you set aside to talk to your kids about God. That’s how a religious home operates. But you don’t want to have a religious home; you want to have a Christ-centered home. In a religious home, God is compartmentalized into one time of the day or week. In a Christ-centered home, He’s allowed to permeate everything we do.

How do we train our children while they are still young?  We model a life of authenticity. And we intentionally communicate the truth of God’s word to them as a part of our everyday lives.

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Parenting Skill #1: Modeling

The question remains how to train our kids. What are the skills we can develop as parents that will help us train our children in this way? The book of Proverbs gives us three such skills. I will discuss each one on my next three blog posts

The first is modeling. In Proverbs 20:7 it says, “A righteous man who walks in his integrity, how blessed are his sons after him.” This isn’t a promise but a statement that’s true most of the time. It describes a person who is righteous, who seeks to conduct his or her life with integrity. The idea here isn’t perfection, but it speaks of the overall pattern of a person’s life. The word that comes to mind for me is authenticity. When a parent lives a spiritually authentic life the result will be that his sons and daughters will be blessed. To be blessed means to be happy; to be fulfilled; to be content. Isn’t that what we want for our kids? We want them to live lives that are meaningful and fulfilling. We want for them a certain measure of happiness, joy and contentment.

The key to that is who WE are. This isn’t really a skill as much as it is a lifestyle. As we live lives of authenticity, as we engage the Lord with all of our hearts, as we allow the Spirit of God to have his way in our lives, the net result will be that our kids will be blessed. The biggest issue in parenting isn’t what we do but who we are. Nothing can happen through us that isn’t happening to us.

If we want our children to grow up to have a vital relationship with Jesus Christ, it starts with our own relationship with Christ. If we want our kids to be kind to others, it starts with our own kindness. If we want our kids to have a pure tongue, then our tongue had better be pure. If we want our kids to be able to forgive, then we had better be forgiving people. If we don’t really believe in the values we encourage our kids to live by, if those values don’t permeate our own lives, our kids will be the first to pick up on that.

We’re not talking about perfection here, but about authenticity. One of the most powerful things we can do for our kids is share our battles and even our sin with them. It’s a powerful thing to say to our kids, I know that I have been on you about how to speak to your mother. I know that I’m the worst culprit of this very thing. I’m sorry. Can we pray for each other in this?”

This verse recognizes the fact that truth is caught rather than taught. In other words, kids learn best as they simply watch you live your life. Parenting isn’t so much a set of skills but a living relationship; it’s life on life. One of the things we want to do as parents, one of our basic priorities, will be to simply spend time with our children. No lectures, just life on life; time to allow them in the natural course of life to “catch” what’s important to us.

Years ago I had the opportunity to take my eight-year-old daughter to a ball game. I was excited about our time together, and was praying for an opportunity to teach her something by my example at the game. About the eighth inning I began to worry because nothing much had happened. Finally, the game ended and still nothing had happened. We went home and I thought, “Why didn’t the Lord allow something to happen where I could be a model?” Soon it hit me that I had missed the point. The point was to just be with her and to be myself. Nothing unusual needed to happen for me to be a model to her. Being with her was enough.

How do we train our kids? We seek to be the kind of people we want them to become. As part of that, we give them access to our lives at the deepest level, allowing them to “catch” what’s important to us in the natural course of life.


Train up a Child

In my last post I mentioned Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” This is the best known of all the Proverbs on parenting, but it’s also one of the most difficult to understand, so I want to unpack this verse. There are three parts to look at here.

First, it says that we are to “train up a child…” The word for “train” here means to inaugurate or to dedicate. The word was used most often in the OT to describe something that was dedicated to God. The Jewish feast of Hanukkah is the noun form of this word because it involves the dedication of the altar. So to train a child in this way can mean to dedicate him to God. It can also mean to start him or to inaugurate him or to prepare him to go in a certain direction. HOW we’re to do that is something I’ll come back to in a minute.

The second thing to notice is that it says we should train a child “in the way he should go.” This is where the verse really gets ambiguous. Literally, this should read, “according to his way.” Some take this to mean that we should train up a child according to the proper or right way to live. This is how both the NIV and the NASB take it. But, the text does say, “his way,” i.e., the child’s way. For this reason, many scholars take this to mean that a child should be trained according to his own unique personality and stage in life. The emphasis here is on really knowing your child well and training him accordingly.

This means that before we can train our kids we have to be students of our kids. We have to know their stage of life as well as their unique characteristics. I have three kids who are each about five years apart. Growing up, they were always at very different stages of life. That means I treated each one differently. They’re also very different in their temperament and personality. Among the three we have an extrovert and an introvert. We have a mercy giver and a truth teller. We have a morning person and a night person. Recognizing these differences kept us from making the all too frequent mistake of comparing them with each other, “Why can’t you bring home the same grades as your sister?” Because they’re different we expected different things from them and taught them and disciplined them in different ways. Two went to a Christian school and the other to a public school. These are the kinds of things that go into knowing your children.

The third thing to notice about this verse is the last line, “…even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Does this mean that after a period of rebellion they will come around and find the right path? Although that might be true, that’s not what it means. Notice that it says, “EVEN when he is old…” The idea here is that, not only in his youth, but even in his old age he’ll not stray from the right path. The beginning determines the end. It’s as if the writer is saying that raising children is like pouring cement. The way you mold it and shape it when it’s newly poured, before it sets, will determine its shape for the rest of its life. Although it’s not a guarantee, this is what child development experts have been telling us for quite some time now: the first five years of life seem to determine so much of what that child is like. Proverbs has been saying that for a few thousand years!

Years ago there was a family in the San Francisco Bay Area. The father was a well known pastor and his son was named David. David grew up in a family where he was “trained up in the way he should go.” He grew up to love the Lord, felt a call into ministry, and went to seminary. David was a big, athletic young man. He was six feet two and 200 pounds. He worked with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. At age 32 he was diagnosed with cancer. It wracked his body and over time he went from 200 pounds to 80 pounds. When he was about ready to die he asked if his father could be brought to the hospital room. Lying there in bed, he looked up at his father and said, “Dad, do you remember when I was little how you used to hold me in your arms close to your chest?  Do you think you could do that again, Dad, one last time?” His father nodded and he picked up his 32—year—old son and held him close to his chest so that their faces were right next to each other. They were eyeball to eyeball, tears running down both faces, and the son looked up at his father and said to him, “Thank you for building the kind of character into my life that has enabled me to face even a moment like this.

It’s this kind of character that every parent wants for his child; the kind that will carry them through even the darkest storms. God, in his grace, can do that with or without us. But the fact is, he has entrusted us parents with the privilege of being a part of that process, a very important part. “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” By God’s grace we can do just that. In my next post, I will write about three skills parents must learn to do this well.


Parenting with Grace

Whenever I talk about parenting I feel a little bit like how Charlie Shedd describes himself in his book, Promises to Peter. Shedd tells how the title of his messages on parenting changed with his own experience of fatherhood. In his early years as a preacher before he was a father he entitled his message, “How to Raise Your Children.”  People came in droves to hear it. Then he had a child of his own, and it was a while before he gave that message again. When he did, he gave it a new name: “Some Suggestions to Parents.” Then he had two more children, and a number of years later he called it, “Feeble Hints to Fellow Strugglers.” Several years and children later, he seldom gave that talk, but when he did his title was, “Anyone got a Few Words of Wisdom?”

I can relate! As time has passed and my own kids have grown up I feel in many ways like I have less and less to say about parenting. Because of that, I give parenting advice with a certain amount of fear and trepidation. The Bible has a lot to say about parenting. Without embarrassment, it offers us some very pointed and specific wisdom on how to raise our kids. But, having been at this business of raising kids for a while, I know how difficult it can be to really do these things, and I’m very aware of areas in which I’ve failed to live up to these standards.

For this reason we should approach what the Bible says about parenting in the larger context of what we know about the gospel of Jesus Christ and specifically the grace of God. Before we DO anything as parents we need to know something of God’s grace at the core of our being. We need to know He loves us unconditionally; he’s not keeping score of our performance. We need to know that we’re very much in process as people, and that we need God’s love and grace every day of our lives.

If grace is not at the very core of our lives as individuals, then we’ll not be able to parent with grace; we won’t be able to parent without our issues getting in the way. Our relationship with our kids will be tainted with our own insecurities. We’ll place them on the performance treadmill we ourselves are on. We’ll look to them to fill the holes in our lives that only God can fill. Everything the Bible says presupposes a relationship with your kids that is rooted in grace and unconditional love. It presupposes an authenticity that flows from grace where you can laugh together and cry together and forgive together.

Part of this foundation of grace means that we recognize that we need God’s grace in our parenting. There is a pervasive lie floating around the Christian community that places all the responsibility for what our kids become on the shoulders of the parent. Often, a verse from Proverbs is used to support this myth. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” We take that as a blanket promise that if we just train our kids right they will turn out to be model Christians. But, Proverbs were never intended to be blanket promises. They were intended to be general statements of what happens most of the time. The fact is, we can’t do anything to guarantee the outcome of our child’s life.

Depending on how you look at it, that’s either very good news or very bad news. The bad news is that you can’t do anything that will absolutely determine the outcome of your child’s life. The good news is you can’t do anything that will absolutely determine the outcome of your child’s life. Do you catch my drift? If you’re a parent in need of grace, this is very good news. It frees us up as parents to know that everything does NOT depend upon us. That’s the law. But we don’t live under the law, we live under grace. As parents who’ve experienced the grace of God in our own lives, we’re free to live with the expectation that He’ll act in grace in our children’s lives as well! That’s very good news because none of us feel we have it all together; none of us want it all to depend on us.

With that foundation of grace intact, it’s true that God has entrusted parents with a tremendous responsibility.  And He offers us some very helpful instruction on how to be effective parents.  I will talk about that in an upcoming post.

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Family Business or Body of Christ?

The word “nepotism” originated in the Middle Ages, when some Catholic popes and bishops, who had taken vows of chastity and therefore usually had no children of their own, gave their nephews (sometimes illegitimate sons) positions of preference in the church. But this isn’t just an old problem in the Catholic Church; it’s also a problem in the Evangelical church. Many churches are rampant with nepotism. A brief look at the names of the staff on a church’s web site or Sunday bulletin reveals far too many people with the same last names!

Nepotism is favoritism shown by somebody in power to relatives and friends, especially in appointing them to good positions without regard to objective evaluation of skill or qualification. Nepotism is natural in that almost everyone wants to help out those close to them. Especially in a small, close knit operation, or a family business, it’s normal. There’s nothing wrong with the desire to help your family out, but what happens when there’s a better qualified candidate? What happens when that family member doesn’t carry his or her weight or commits an indiscretion? What happens if the job outgrows their skill and abilities?

Robert Cubillos, business administrator at Rolling Hills Covenant Church in, Rolling Hills Estates, CA writes, “The consideration and hiring of an employee who is closely connected—by a blood relation—to another employee can cause a great deal of concern for churches…Nepotism can create a group of people who are insular and self-referential; they are insulated from outside scrutiny and opinion and are allied together by powerful allegiances to each other.”

Some of the problems associated with nepotism are even seen in the Bible. The spirit of nepotism is seen in the mother of James and John who lobbied Jesus to let her two sons sit at his left and right in his kingdom. The dangers of nepotism are seen in Eli, a priest in Israel, who failed to deal with the incompetence and indiscretion of his two sons serving in the same position (2 Samuel 2). It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t appoint one family member to be among the Twelve. James, the Lord’s brother, did become a leader in the Jerusalem church, but not until after the ascension.

Certainly this isn’t a black and white issue. There are no clear biblical commands against hiring family members, although there are warnings against showing partiality (1 Timothy 5:21). Furthermore, spiritual gifts are not passed down through families but sovereignly distributed by the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:3-8). Paul encouraged Timothy to appoint elders according to godly character rather than family connections (1 Timothy 3:1-7).

Here are some of the problems associated with nepotism in churches: First, we could end up hiring someone who is unqualified for the job and therefore doesn’t perform well. When we do that, it certainly doesn’t help our relative! We should ask if they would be hired in a similar position at a similar church. Second, nepotism can create frustration and disrespect towards church leadership when they perceive that favoritism played a part in either hiring or advancement. Third, there can be a lack of freedom among coworkers to honestly express their opinions about the spouse or child of a senior leader or elder. Fourth, it’s human nature to favor our own family and it’s near impossible to be completely objective about your own spouse or child. Fifth, the perception of favoritism and/or a financial motive behind the hiring of a family member can hurt a leader’s credibility. At the very least, the practice of nepotism gives the appearance to outsiders that the pastor is building a family kingdom at the church’s expense. In regard to the stewardship of a financial offering, Paul wrote, “…taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration of this generous gift; for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men” (2 Cor. 8:20-21).

I believe it’s important for many churches to rethink their staffing policies. At the very least, they should establish clear policies at the elder level about fair hiring processes and operating procedures. They should avoid having family members report to family members. If they do hire a family member, they should start them at the bottom. There’s a story in Hollywood about a legendary talk show host who brought his son into the company, but he didn’t start him out in management. He started him out in the painting department as a set painter. That generated so much respect both for the host and his son, that story is still being talked about today.

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability has established a very helpful sample policy for churches regarding nepotism: “XYZ Ministry permits the employment of qualified relatives of employees, of the employee’s household, or immediate family as long as such employment does not, in the opinion of the Ministry, create actual conflicts of interest. For purposes of this policy, ‘qualified relative’ is defined as a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, first cousin, corresponding in-law, ‘step’ relation, or any member of the employee’s household. The Ministry will use sound judgment in the placement of related employees in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • Individuals who are related by blood, marriage, or reside in the same household are permitted to work in the same Ministry department, provided no direct reporting or supervisor to subordinate relationship exists. That is, no employee is permitted to work within ‘the chain of command’ when one relative’s work responsibilities, salary, hours, career progress, benefits, or other terms and conditions of employment could be influenced by the other relative.
  • Related employees may have no influence over the wages, hours, benefits, career progress and other terms and conditions of the other related staff members.
  • Employees who marry while employed, or become part of the same household are treated in accordance with these guidelines. That is, if in the opinion of the Ministry a conflict arises as a result of the relationship, one of the employees may be transferred at the earliest practicable time.”