I am greatly seeking insight regarding a matter of cell phone theft at the church that my wife and I currently are on staff. The issue at hand has become more about our administrative response and not the actual theft. I will go into detail and I pray that anyone can read it and help provide some clarity of a situation that is truly causing us to question the pastoral staff. This being something that really upsets us because of our employment for the church. I am not searching for an EXACT answer but help, whether you disagree with me or not. Thank you in advance and I apologize if there is any misspelling or grammatical errors.
The issue at hand regards the theft of my wife's cell phone. My wife is the preschool director of our church and was having to change a student in the bathroom after having an accident. She and a fellow worker went to the bathroom to assist the girl who is a paraplegic. My wife left her phone on the counter while assisting the girl and then left forgetting the phone. My wife realized her phone was gone within 5 minutes of the time she was in the bathroom. When going to retrieve it she was unable to find it. This led to calling and searching for the phone for hours by multiple workers of the church.
We were able to activate a GPS tracking on her phone showing a location (no specific address) of the where the phone was. This prompted us to call the police, realizing the phone had actually been stolen during our Wednesday night service. The next morning we were able to locate phone at a different location, a local middle school. This again helped us to narrow down possible suspects in our theft. Our associate pastor provided my wife and I with a name of a student who lives in the first mentioned area and attends the school previously mentioned.
An important item to note is that my wife and I thoroughly explained to the police that there is NO intention to prosecute. For her job she has a lot of personally information on her phone both church and family. My Associate Pastor informed my wife and I that he wanted to discuss the matter with us the next day and not to take action until we discuss on that Friday. Reluctantly we respected our AP's decision. This resulted in us having to close the case with the frustration of the police officer asking for the name so he can do his job (which we refused to give to him per request of our AP).
The next day our AP was sick and the duties fell on our lead pastor's secretary. The first thing she explained to us was the APs decision he came to was to as she said it "Take the high road" and not pursue the matter any further. Further explanation and from my wife and I prompted her to discuss possible reconsideration. The factual evidence of the GPS reports and the address with attended school of the student was something she was not aware of. The second matter is that this student is a worker for my wife in the children's department. This prompted us to call the school and discuss the procedures that would occur if we were to search the girl for the phone.
The school thoroughly explained that the student would not be prosecuted, have a report filed, or have anything happened to them besides relinquishing the stolen property. The secretary seemed pleased with this information leading to a possible resolution to the situation. She wanted to discuss this with our lead pastor before moving forward. To our surprise after all the discuss he decided it best to not pursue anything because( and this is a quote not me acting facetious), "he did not want to be wrong and have someone leave the church."
This is where I am conflicted and need help.
First issue is that my wife and I are employees trusted as the body or the church. We were hired because our pastor saw as a benefit to the ministry of Jesus and are to be protected as a family in the body of Christ. We feel that the decision made has made us feel very belittled in the situation. The situation seems to be looked at not offending a family over a crime. The other side is that the student did not commit the crime, but now we are left with no resolution and my wife having this student work with her with this issue still at hand.
Secondly, We are left with no resolve in regards to the theft. The pastor has basically said that he does not want to offend this family at the expense of his staff members. We were left with factual evidence that was not acted upon as well as my wife and I having to pay $700 (with tax) to replace our phone with no assistance from our pastor. It hurts us as our respect to consider the church in the matter is going unnoticed. We are hurt that we are trusted employees of this church, and are pushed aside for the possible offense of churchgoer.
Thirdly, We are very confused about the lack of consideration for our situation. The pastor is worried about the offense of a (I do not mean this degrading AT ALL) common church going member, over the offense of two staff members who are required to plan and coordinate events and media to further advance the church.
I can provide more details if anyone wants to discuss. I appreciate ANYONE who can help and talk with me about this. Thank you all.