When the pastor was told that this meeting would be held tomorrow 9/8 after church, he immediately called his own meeting for Wednesday night, in place of our normally scheduled prayer meeting. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! I think he senses the handwriting on the wall. (2) how much of a surprise was the dismissal? This has been one of the most heart breaking situations of my life. In the United States, you are allowed to resign from a church whenever you wish to do so, no matter what your covenant, church constitution or designated church leader says, even if you are under church discipline. The separation package allows for the pastor to pull away from ministry so he can take stock of his life and begin the healing process. Well, time to get started on your ideas. I could give you a list of great Christians who struggled with their anger and we revere them today. I am awaiting a copy to be emailed to me and I would be happy to send it to you as well. If I’m going to be involuntarily terminated, I want to see it coming a mile away. She was actually telling the truth about his outbursts, lack of sensitivity and insatiable desire for control . He had been in his church for more than two decades, but for some unknown reason, attendance suddenly began declining at a rate where nothing he tried worked anymore. Maybe he came to the church expecting that kind of authority and was surprised that your church didn’t go along with that arrangement. Heritage Presbyterian Church. They are greatly appreciated. As the business administrator, I denied the request as I believe most employees in America do not receive vacation pay until they have been in their position for at least 6 months. I am out-of-state but will get back to you in 2 days. The wives of terminated pastors go from being somebodies to nobodies overnight. The key to the meeting is to pray and request that everyone (a) speak their mind in love, but (b) remain calm. If they have a problem with his performance or behavior, they need to tell him directly so he has time to fix any problem. I do not know what happened to their membership when they left or if they were notified that they were dropped. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. If your church doesn’t have any governing documents, then yes, the board can do whatever they want, and they know it. When they tried to do it in a church business meeting, the mother in law of the pastor tried to physically attack one of the trustees, an 89 year old woman whose family helped found the church in 1929. *Those who know you probably won’t believe any lies the pastor tells about you. Or do I not bring those things out? This is a no-win situation all around, so the quicker you can bring in a professional, the quicker you can get this resolved. Do not overreact. Believe me, the things that are said in those meetings have a way of filtering back to the pastor and his family, and they can be devastating to their future … and the future of your church. Change ). The Foundations of Presbyterian Polity The Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ 5 The Mission of the Presbyterian Church 6 Responsibilities of Teaching and Ruling Elders, Sessions, Congregations Ruling Elders 6 Teaching Elders 7 The Session 8 Meetings 9 Typical Agenda 9 Membership Rolls 10 Session Organization—Manual of Operations 10 Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. We need to shine a light on this problem and expose the deceivers for who they are … and they are everywhere. He eventually reached a settlement with the church board and resigned. We began a search for a new pastor in January 2013, thought we found a “great guy” to lead us, but in retrospect we really did not vet him thoroughly and the drama began. If he was blindsided, he’ll need more severance, not less. It is really a tragedy. How does the rest of the church feel about removing the pastor from office? From what you wrote, I do have some ideas that I think can be helpful. Neurotics take too much responsibility for what happens in their lives, blaming themselves for everything. Most people working for the church generally address their resignation letters to their direct pastor or superior reverend. is any of this right and is there anything I can do about it? 2. What was done to you was unchristian, unbiblical, cowardly, wrong and evil … and far too common. They relied on visiting ministers or members of what was left of the congregation. Last fall, I had lunch with a former mega church pastor. Kathy, I’m sorry for your situation. However, I need additional information and would like to ask you some questions first: *What is your average attendance on Sundays – counting everybody on the campus? I hope the board isn’t asking you to do this because they are too cowardly to do it themselves. The board may have a legitimate reason for dismissing the pastor, but you want to find out what it is. (This is why pastors often hang on at a church long after they should leave.). While some pastors do need to be removed from office, it needs to be done biblically, justly, graciously, and honestly. We were a Baptist church before the new pastor came in and he recommended that we change our name from “Blank Baptist” to “Blank Bible”. Although I advocate giving pastors a minimal 6-month severance package, that’s for pastors who have been in their churches for a few years, not a few months. If you can find that pattern, you’ll know better how to handle matters. The term I would use is “leave of absence.” The official board of the church could ask the pastor to take a leave of absence to receive counseling/treatment for any major issues in his life that are negatively impacting his ability to lead/pastor. While the board may have the legal and ecclesiastical right to remove the pastor from office (and in most congregational churches, they don’t have that right – only the congregation does), blindsiding a pastor with termination may be considered a destructive act that results in ripping apart both the pastor’s family and the church family. The board wants more control, the pastor resists, and the board pushes him out. Sadly, there is a lot of truth to this fear … I’ve seen it happen all too many times. After several months of prayer, I was lead to accept. It should be someone who witnessed one or two incidents … and the pastor should be confronted as soon after he gets angry as possible. Thanks again for writing. Dear Kevin: We are rural. If your family is being decimated at an alarming rate — why wait? *Do you and your co-pastor have equal authority in the church? Why do his supporters think that his leadership will be different at your church? With or without stating your reasons, always be polite in expressing everything in your letter. Is he trying to clear out the seniors and reach younger people? Easier said than done under these circumstances, but I am committed to following your advice for the godly removal of our pastor. You need help from the wider Body of Christ. The biggest lesson I’m learning through all of this is how much God loves us and continues to pursue. I believe his previous church folded, but our search committee must have felt he was able to explain how that happened. As far as not being around, my guess is that the pastor is putting his energies into looking for another ministry. He may not be the right person for your church at this time, but God may work in his life and use him in a mighty way someday. I can’t understand why the pastor would refuse counseling. The "Session House" of the Edisto Island Presbyterian Church was used by the Session and for small meetings. The deacons, the trustees and pastor had a meeting and he said he would take a buy out and leave. He is constantly attacking the Asst. My guess is that he wants to leave and that he just wants to save face. But if both the pastor and the board announce that the pastor resigned voluntarily, it takes the heat off the board and allows the pastor to leave with dignity. The CEO of a company might suggest how it’s done in business. So, the Godly move is to play along, write your letter, sign the contract, get the severance and move on with your life. I do not know the polity that your denomination/church organization has. You don’t know if any of these possibilities are true, so please don’t share them with others. (Please see some of my previous blogs on these topics.). The trustees in the church have been handling it God’s way and he has not been responding.We have been accused of trying to split the church. I’m just speculating right now. Is he afraid he’ll never find another church? I hear this refrain of pastors making abrupt changes all the time, and it’s usually a sign of anxiety on the part of the pastor. After he’s gone, you should be able to deal with any mistruths told about you. You can join a group and try and vote out the board, but that rarely works. The leaders took some responsibility for miscommunicating or using the same words but each thinking it meant something different. I don’t have an ounce of your experience and I am in continual prayer about how to handle his dismissal. 3. I just want to see Christian churches handle these situations in a more biblical and redemptive way. The board should not convene and decide to fire the pastor immediately. But you can’t insist that people follow you anywhere when you first come to a church. But we need help. In the great majority of cases, they will leave one church for another. Our pastor is too sick. The church voted to give him six months’ severance and benefits. I’m glad your website was here. Your church has a future. Thanks so much for the response. While you’ll usually lose some people when a pastor is removed, there’s no sense in losing people who are recoverable with just a little TLC. We are outside of a major U.S. city, however I would characterize the area as being a mix of suburban & rural. Should you wish to add any requests, briefly add it in the last part of your letter. We are calm, rational people, that is for certain. This whole debacle is very sad. Great with seniors? Even heard accusations of being abandoned. The average age of our members is 70-80 and I just don’t want these 40-50 year old guys coming in to steal their church from them. How do you do that? I’ll be praying for you and your church. The truth will set your church free … but just make sure to tell the truth in love. All my co-pastor and I and our families want to do is serve God and be able to restore this church. Currently 70% of all seminary graduates are not lasting 5 years in church ministry, and your pastor sounds like he might feel entitled to certain privileges that pastors once had to earn over time. I was just called in to what was supposed to be a “regular” meeting of the elders and asked to resign. Hurts on the inside and the leadership that fired you still looked like saints. It would be SO much easier for me to just walk away, but every time I have that thought God immediately puts Jonah in my mind and I know that I must stay in the game. But if the pastor had been confronted after the first incident, maybe he wouldn’t have become angry after that. Let me just encourage you: if you’re a board member involved in this, write up your process and be prepared … at the right time … to let everybody know what it is.

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