Characteristics of "Pastor Eating" Churches

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by tinytim, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. tinytim

    tinytim
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    Since the thread about churches to watch out for was closed out of fear of gossip, I thought we could just focus on the characteristics of these type churches.

    Please don't name names, either of churches or pastors, but let's focus on creating a list of characteristics, or "red flags" that pastors should look out for when interviewing with perspective churches.

    After we get a good idea of the characteristics, let's turn our focus onto getting rid of these traits in our own churches.
    IOWS let's pull out the log in our eyes before we get the toothpick out of our neighbor's church.

    By doing it this way, it will be edifying to us all.

    The first red flag I want to place up is Pastor tenure.
    If a church has a history of replacing their pastor after 18 months, watch out... That is just enough time for the Pastor to begin making progress, and the founding families to rebel.

    Second red flag: If there are only 3 last names in a church of 100... you may be eaten alive.

    What are some more?
     
  2. Lagardo

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    If a decon in the church brags about having sent one pastor out in an ambulance (I've heard this in a church...true, sad, story)

    And more common, if deacons can recall numerous times of taking the pastor two his office to line him out..you might be eaten alive.

    Red flag: Most of the members of the search team can remember the last two search teams they served on.
     
  3. rbell

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    Red flag: Compensation of staff..."What can we get by with?" rather than "What can we afford to do for them?"

    Red flag: Family expectations...Is the expectation for the pastor's wife & kids the normal expectation one would have of any faithful member...or is it that they will be at absolutely everything, fulfill every conceivable role, and essentially be a full-time freebie staff member?

    Red flag: How are concerns voiced? Our church was gaining a bad rep until a few years ago. Some of that reputation was deserved; some was not. But up until a few years ago, our church expressed concerns and questions by...
    • Putting anonymous notes in the offering plate(!)
    • "Ambushing" folks at business meeting with questions that were either inappropriate, should have been privately addressed, were not on topic, or the like. The wisest decision ever made at our church was to require one week's advanced notice to place a new business item on the agenda. That took care of our consistent troublemakers airing their dirty laundry at business meeting.
    • Gossip.
    • Asking people that they thought had the answer. This would be compounded by the "answer folks," who were really clueless, offering opinion rather than fact.
    Red flag: Racists and bigots in leadership. Thankful that it is not a problem in our church's leadership anymore. (It was on its way out when I got there. It is absolutely not tolerated anymore.)

    Red flag: "Why we can't" instead of "Why don't we..." I've served in churches before whose default setting was, "We can't do that because..." They could kill a God-given vision in a New York minute. It's so refreshing to be serving somewhere that looks for reasons to try the impossible, if it's a God thing.

    Red flag: Toxic staff...If there's a staff member on board who has had problems with the last four pastors, you'll be Problem Number Five.
     
  4. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    Good idea - I think Shiloh's thought was good as well. Maybe this will allow us to deal with the issue in a satisfactory way.
     
  5. Shiloh

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    Here are a few red flags:
    1. The last pastor we "hired".....
    2. Having a sign in the front yard of the church without a pastors name on it.
    3. Not willing to divulge the last pastors address or phone number.
    4. The former pastors kids holding all the official positions in the church.
     
  6. USN2Pulpit

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    1. A lack of any young to median age adults who have responsibilities in the church...I say this to point out that there are folks who for years have never passed on the mantle of leadership to anybody...not a bash against our seniors.

    2. Cobwebs in the baptistry...no baptisms in recent history

    3. Unsatisfactory or unsure answers on what the role of "deacon" is

    4. Only the power-brokers show up for business meetings - the others are either afraid, or think it's no use being there

    5. The WMU and Brotherhood have their own checkbooks, and they haven't written a check in over ten years...the checks still have a picture of the old bank on it...signs of meetings, but no real activity

    6. No effort to reach out to youth or young adults. (They know where we are - let them come here if they want to...)
     
  7. tinytim

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    Wow, some of these sound like experience talking.
     
  8. tinytim

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    Or when they offer to put the pastors name on a magnetic strip that can be removed from the sign.
     
  9. SBCPreacher

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    ...when they order new stationary just as the pastor arrives, and don't want to put the pastor's name on it "just in case."
     
  10. Lagardo

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    If the church's pastor termination policy is more percise and more recently updated than the church's missions policy
     
  11. Tom Bryant

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    If the average length of church membership for all leaders, SS teachers and Deacons is over 20 years.

    When a newcomer to the church has been a member for 5 years
     
  12. Disgruntled UK Baptist

    Disgruntled UK Baptist
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    20 years? I reckon in the church I just left the average was more like 40 years!

    D.
     
  13. tinytim

    tinytim
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    After reading this thread, I am going to thank God for the church He has placed me at.

    I've got it good.
    The previous pastor did a GREAT job of weeding the weeds.
     
  14. Tom Bryant

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    I know the feeling, Tim. Been here 9 years and what the previous pastor didn't weed out, have died.
     
  15. annsni

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    LOL - The length of time each of our pastors have been at our church:

    Sr. Pastor - 39 years
    Sr. Associate Pastor - 24 years
    Sr. Youth Pastor - 18 years
    Missions Pastor - 13 years
    Administrative Pastor - 15 years
    Children's Pastor - 14 years
    Youth Pastor - 9 years
    Worship Pastor - 5 years
    Associate Pastor of Recovery Ministries - 5 years

    Oh, and all but the Sr. Pastor and Sr. Youth Pastor were brought up through our own church (home grown!).

    It's so sad that there are such a thing as "pastor eating churches". If a church is seeking God's will, as is the staff, you will be able to have longevity of ministry - AND you will not get burn-out. I'm not a pastor (but a pastor's wife - the worship pastor is my DH), but I'm so grateful for the church that we're in and the ministry that I see. It's such a blessing.
     
  16. tinytim

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    It is impossible for a church to grow if it is changing leadership every 2 yrs.

    But that of course is what some churches want. They are glad to have the faithful few, the holy remnant, (actually the us 4 and no more crowd)
     
  17. Serving Him

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    Treasurer runs the church and has been treasurer for 20 years. Longest Pastors last is only 5 to 6 years or less. Too many old guard who are unwilling to change. Old guard has attitude of owning the church.
     
  18. Major B

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    A church in our county has a large mound of dirt behind its family life center/gym--it has been there several years. A friend of mine was conducting a wedding there and pointed this out to one of the deacons, who winked and said, "That's where we put our former pastors..."

    The truth about that church is toooooo close to that statement.
     
  19. Major B

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    Leading the church through a genuine revival is one of the things that got me fired.
     
  20. Carolina Baptist

    Carolina Baptist
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    How dare you? Didn't you notice the church theme song:"I Shall NOT Be moved":BangHead:
     

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