Stickler For Rules

I have a confession: I think rules are meant to be bent. Some are meant to be broken. And others are meant to be followed. I recently learned about a new rule that would require a change in the way I work in my ministry job. It is a rule that I had never really followed before. I’m not sure how it will effect me or the people I work with. But it is a new rule.

In a meeting, I encountered someone who was really passionate about following the rule immediately and making sure that we were in compliance. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was ready to make the change. Sure, change takes times, but change wasn’t the issue. I’m finding myself resistant. Resistant to the rule and to the person who was so passionate about following the rule.

Now, I’m not a rule breaker by any stretch of the imagination. I’m a pretty good boy and I don’t rock the boat when it is not necessary. But still, I had to ask myself: is this a rule that is meant to be bent, broken, or followed? How do I determine what kind of rule it is?

So, I asked myself a few questions to help me figure this out:

  • Is it the law? If so, I should probably follow it.
  • Is it good for my team? If it is, then I can certainly follow it. However, I’m not sure this particular rule is good for my team. Does that mean I need to bend or break it? If it’s not good for my team, then it could cause low morale and disrupt productivity and efficiency. After all, I try to remove as many obstacles as I can to help my team.
  • Does the rule make sense? Sometimes rules make sense, like don’t cross the double yellow lines while driving. It’s a safety issue. Some rules don’t make sense, like the U.S. tax code. I joke… sort of.
  • Does the rule-maker have a bigger picture in mind? People in leadership positions tend to have a better understanding of the bigger picture then those that are “lower on the totem pole.” Before I dismiss a rule, it’s important for me to spend some time investigating the reasoning behind the rule and what the leader has in mind. I need to find out what the big picture is.
  • Does the rule fall in line with my values? Values are an important aspect of our ministry. The rule needs to match my values and the values of the church.

To be honest, I’m still not sure where I stand on this new rule that has been implemented. But I’m going to be asking myself these questions until I come to some sort of conclusion.

John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.


John Rinaldo


As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.



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