How would you handle this?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by mike, Jul 9, 2006.

  1. mike

    mike
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    I know this problem is not unique in church life; but it is one I have not dealt with before. Here's the problem:

    I'm bivocational youth and education minister at my church. I've been here nearly four years and I'm 37 years old. Our pastor is 74 and has been here 32 years. It has been assumed and even hoped for by the folks that when he retires, I will be called as pastor. He has even brought up this possiblilty with me recently.

    He is a godly man who is very strong in the pulpit and is very supportive of what I do in the church. I do whatever I can to support him and to make his job easier. We truly work well together and are friends. I respect him a great deal.

    There is more and more talk of him needing to retire so we can move forward as a church. I don't agree with this. Even though I feel God's plan is for me to become pastor in the future, now is not the time. It needs to be in God's time. How would some of you handle this? If you've been in this situation before, how did you handle this?

    I told one person about two months ago that I would resign before allowing this to become a point of division in our church. At evening service tonight, one of my youth came forward visibly upset. She was troubled about this issue. She felt it harkened to The passage in 1 Corinthians where people were claiming to follow Paul or Apollos etc... and she's right! I had no idea that the students were hearing this garbage. Our pastor doesn't know what we were praying about because I do the one on one counseling at invitation time since he's hearing impaired.

    Tomorrow, I'm definitely going to discuss this with my pastor, however, any insight you may be able to offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Mike
     
  2. El_Guero

    El_Guero
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    Mike

    I will be praying for you as you seek out God's direction. It is difficult sometimes, but God still leads. I would not say that "I would quit before spliting the church" to loudly. Why? The folks have probably grown attached to you and God's ministry through you. Their desire for you to become their pastor may be just a simple human desire to let you know they care. (could be the devil causing trouble so don't be complacent).

    Remember that the Lord knows the plans He has for you - we just don't know them, yet.

    God bless

    Wayne
     
  3. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
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    Mike,
    You are wise to talk this over with your pastor.

    Let me give a word of warning though, many times the assumption and/or hope that people have that the associate will 'take over' doesn't come into reality.

    El Guero is right in that it could be that they are expressing their affection for you. I have just seen too many times that search teams look outside the church rather than to a staff member.

    This promises to be a difficult day for you, so we will be praying for godly wisdom and direction, as well as a receptive and productive conversation with your pastor.
     
  4. PrimePower7

    PrimePower7
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    Hi friend

    There is no question what I would do. Be loyal beyond any shadow of a doubt to that pastor. If he is right with God and doctrinally straight, you owe it to him until God moves him. Don't move too fast and don't feel like you have to address the issue. Don't do it. Let people see you as a Hur or and Aaron upholding the arms of the man of God and your day will come...and believe me, sowing in the spirit here could reap years and years of loyal following from your folks once the pastor moves on. Give yourself to this man as he follows Christ. Give no thought whatsoever to how "it could be if this guy would leave". Give no thought to the compliments of others and strongly rebuke anyone who talks of "dethroning" their pastor. He is to be counted worthy of double honor.

    I agree with not quitting before it would cause division. Then, you would have people trying to force him out or trying to follow you out to start another church somewhere.

    I speak from mistakes made. You will never go wrong to wait on the finger of God and be loyal to your pastor. Your people will follow you. Your wife will respect you and your kids will obey you.

    From my heart,
    Bill
     
  5. Karen

    Karen
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    Mike,

    It does not sound like the church is handling it right.
    But theoretically, God leads the church corporately as well as the pastor.
    What you seem to be saying is that the church will only really know when it is time for the pastor to retire, when he alone says God has told him to.

    Some older pastors stay when they should have retired. And they don't perceive things as well as they once did, but they think they do.

    Again, although it doesn't sound like the church is handling it great, I do think it is reasonable for people to have concern about transition.

    Karen
     
  6. bapmom

    bapmom
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    I think Prime hit it, too. The best way to combat this is to very strongly rebuke anyone who suggests to you that the pastor ought to retire. Whether they realize it or not, that starts to open their hearts to disloyalty against their pastor. If they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will not tolerate any sort of sentiment being expressed to you OR your wife, hopefully things would calm down.

    I think your wife ought to be put on notice of this as well. Very often us ladies try to do things through the wife.......this is wrong but it happens alot. Things that we know we cannot say to the husband, we think we can get across to him by mentioning it to the wife. I think she ought to be sweetly and firmly rebuking anyone who suggests resignation to her, as well. Then everyone knows you are both on the same page, and they can't get anything by her either. This will really help her in later years if it does turn out that you become pastor someday.
     
  7. PrimePower7

    PrimePower7
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    Good POint

    That's a well-overlooked point Bapmom. Koudos!:thumbs:
     
  8. mike

    mike
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    Thanks for the insights and opinions, everybody. They have been a blessing. Just for the sake of clarity, the only person I mentioned the possibility of my resignation to is a dear friend who I can confide in. The congregation at large never heard anything about it.

    My pastor and I are fully on the same page and he knows I support him 100%. I'll continue to be loyal and help him in any way I can. Prime, your advice not to address the issue went against what I wanted to do, but you were fully right. Thanks!

    Basically, we're going to continue what we've been doing and honor God in what we do for Him. Any time I hear retirement talk form the folks; I'll keep shutting it down and let God do what only He can do.

    Thanks everybody!


    Mike
     
  9. BaptistXenos

    BaptistXenos
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    Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart. Wait I say on the Lord.

    Please give us an update when it happens.
     
  10. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    I too agree with those who have asked you to be loyal, to refuse to buy into speculation, and to wait until things work through. I retired two years ago (at age 66); most of the pastoral work was taken on by our Assistant Pastor, and the church employed a part-time children/youth minister to alleviate some of the Assistant's responsibilities. As she preached nearly every Sunday and did a good bit of the pastoral work, it was assumed that she would be called as pastor. But, while it might look as though an incumbent has advantages, it is also true that s/he has had time to make mistakes and create enemies too! And so when the Pulpit Committee recommended someone else, a number of people who had developed strong loyalties to the Assistant Pastor became very upset. She resigned and left almost immediately, which some folks read as a statemanslike way to remove herself from the issues, but others read as leaving because she felt rejected and insulted. The position you are in, if you feed it, could become very divisive and could taint your ministry for a long time.
     

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