Saturday, February 19, 2005

Everything has its place in JFJ

In JFJ everything had its place. Here's an interesting parallel:

One of my favorite Masterpiece Theater series is a series called UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS.

It is about the life of a household in England during the early part of the 20th Century.

The life of the servants and how they relate to their betters is the focus of the series. The head servant is Hudson, the butler. Hudson reminded me of a JFJ Branch leader. Servants had to get his permission to do about anything and everything and were expected to do so without question. Even permission to leave the household to take a short walk or run an errand had to go through Hudson.

The servants worked hard and long hours and received one half day off per week. Even what they did on their partial day off was sometimes questioned. All meals were eaten together and the servants became very close. Everyone knew anything and everything about each of the servant's private lives.

Senior servants directed lower servants. For example, the Head-Parlourmaid would train and direct the Under-Parlourmaid. The Cook supervised the Kitchen Maid and the Scullery Maid. Hudson reported to Lady Bellamy whose job was to run the household. Lord Bellamy only stepped in when manners with the servants needed special attention. Anything related to the servants was really Lady Bellamy's department.

Many, many times the item of "knowing one's place" was discussed in the series. The servants enjoyed knowing their place and who to report to. Children of the wealthy classes sometimes mixed with the servants when they were young, but were expected to take their place in society when they came of age. A very moving scene is when Rose, the Head-Parlourmaid and also sometimes Lady's Maid to Georgina, the niece of Lord Bellamy, explains to the young girl how important it is that everyone know their place so that order continues to exist in the household and also in British society.

In JFJ, everything and everyone also had a place. There were even ranks within the organization. Everyone knew who they had to report to. Everyone knew who their "betters" were.

Branch leaders and other people directing departments or teams dealt directly with the Executive Director. Missionaries reported directly to their Branch leader. Administrative staff reported to their department heads. Co-Laborers reported to the Co-Laborer Coordinator. Trainees reported to a trainer. Campaigners reported to a team leader. Volunteers usually were the contacts of a certain missionary and received direction on how to volunteer through that misssionary.

Fascinating that JFJ and the society of UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS is so similar!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really did like being a part of the branch family. The closeness we developed seemed like such a wonderful thing at the time. The English servants also had a great support system. If one of them was dismissed, not only did they lose their job, but they lost their family. When JFJ dismisses an individual, that individual loses much more than just his job: losing the support and friendships from those in his branch or team can be devastating.