The athletic director at a Christian high school in Alabama recently resigned because he refused to be a member of the school’s — in addition to his own — church, one of the requirements of the job.
Scott Phillips led the East Memorial Christian Academy boys football and basketball teams through successful sports seasons since he took the job as school athletic director last June.
But, as a member of the Church of the Highlands, Phillips did not want to keep forcing his family to be part of both Church of the Highlands and East Memorial Baptist Church, according to MSN.
School officials told Phillips when he first accepted the job that the athletic director must be a member of East Memorial Catholic Church, according to the Montgomery Adviser.
“I was 30 seconds from turning the job down because of the church issue,” Phillips said. “They wanted me to transition from the Church of the Highlands to East Memorial. I never really liked that, so I went back in my administrator’s office and told them I was willing to give this a try, but I don’t know how this will work out.”
After a year of going to both their own and the school’s churches every Sunday morning with his family, Phillips decided he and his family belonged at Church of the Highlands for “spiritual” reasons.
“We would go to the 9 a.m. service at East Memorial, then head over to Montgomery for the 11 a.m. service at Church of the Highlands,” he said. “It was just not working at all.”
So Phillips approached school officials about the requirement.
“I knew what was about to take place,” he said. “I knew they wanted the athletic director to be an advocate of the church, but it was never in my contract, and it was never talked about again — never.”
The church requirement for Phillips’s job is not written in his contract, but school administrators told Phillips that attending East Memorial Baptist Church was necessary for his job and for promoting unity between the school and its church.
“In a nutshell, I told them I miss my old church,” Phillips said. “I went in to share my heart to a pastor. Knowing what might happen, but kind of saying, ‘Maybe we can work something out?’ I knew that wasn’t going to be the end of it because it was going to be a process. It wasn’t received well.”
Phillips said he never felt fully spiritually connected at the school’s church, and that he may not have taken the job if the policy was written in his contract.
He said he thinks he did the job he was hired to complete for the school.
“I was an advocate of East Memorial as the athletic director,” Phillips said. “That’s what I thought my role was.”