New Pastors who "Clean House" of Staff

Discussion in '2006 Archive' started by scubablt, Feb 7, 2006.

  1. scubablt

    scubablt
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    Hello fellow Baptists and Believers,

    ~ I am a pastor of a Baptist church in South Texas. I have a close friend who is the full-time Minister of Music & Sr. Adults in a church in N.E. Texas. Well, his pastor just resigned to go to another ministry postion. After he left, he and the other three full-time staff members got toghether and talked about the possibility of the church's Pastor Search Committee calling a new pastor who would want to come in and "clean house," which means he would want, expect, require, and ask all the current staff members to resign or leave the church within a certain amount of time. For example, he might tell them all they had six months to leave, so he could bring his own men and staff into the church to serve with him! You know, kind of like the USA Presidnet appointing his own Cabinet members.

    ~ Since one of the staff members had been thru this before, they actually talked to the Deacon Chairman about it, and he did not think that should ever happen at their church. The Deacon body even went so far as to vote 100% to let the Search Committee know they did NOT want them to consider calling any pastor who would "clean house."

    They felt like God called all the staff there, and it should NOT be the pastor to make them leave. That decision should be up to God.

    ** That leads me to ask the following questions I would love for you to comment on:

    1) Is it moral, ethical, or theologically acceptable for a new pastor to come in to a new church and "clean house?"
    2) What approach should a church take as far as a pastor coming in and wanting to do that? Should a Search Committee consider and/or call a man with that ministerial philosophy? Why or Why Not?
    3) Is it fair, and if it does happen, what kind of severance package should be offered?
    4) How much time should the staff be allowed to have to find another church position?
    5) Have any of you ever been thru this difficult ordeal, and if so, how did you handle it? What kind of severance package did you recieve? How did the church members react to it?
    6) What kind of long-term minstry could a new pastor have if he started his ministry under such difficult circumstances?

    Or, if you have any other isnight to share, thatr would be great.

    As for me, I adhere to the philosopy that "God called them, and it should be God to take them away" ... not the new pastor." I know it can be difficult sometimes working with staff that has been in the church awhile, but surely men can pray about it, seek God's power and help, and make it work? What do you think?

    Your fellow servant,
    Lee
     
  2. NateT

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    I disagree with the sentiment of a pastor coming in a cleaning house. I think that the church is a body of believers that have come together and decided these men are the men they want for the pastorate.

    Perhaps the exception to this would be if a church and/or search committee agreed with the perspective pastor that he was coming there to reform their church. But even then, I don't think it would neccessarily mean he would clean house.

    I don't have a problem with a pastor plugging his own men when an opening becomes available, but I don't think it should be solely the pastor's decision.
     
  3. Don

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    My two cents, which ain't worth a plug nickel:

    Pastor's supposed to be an "under shepherd."

    Any pastor who "cleans house" is analogous to culling a sheep herd.

    If I follow the analogy, the pastor has been "assigned" by God to take care of His flock.

    Thus, I don't think the sheepherder is supposed to be deciding which sheep he does or doesn't like, or which ones he thinks should be going off to other herds or out on their own.

    But that's just me, and I've been known to be off the wall before.
     
  4. Rhetorician

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    To all who have and ear:

    This is not just an IBF "thang" it is also an SBC "thang."

    One usually hears it more in the larger churches rather than the smaller ones. (Whatever one might call "large" or "small"). Where I am a member we are a "mega-church" running in the thousands.

    When we called our last pastor, he has been with us now 8 years, we asked this very thing of him. He said, and he made good on his word, that he would not "run anybody off" per se. He ended up being an honorable man and making good on his word.

    Nevertheless, some did not fit his "philosophy of ministry" as it were. They moved on under their own power. Some even went to start other churches and ministries that God has blessed (it seems from our perspective). All without much rancor or controversy.

    Whatever might be the answer, I would say this: if the deacon body and the church feel that the new pastor should not "clean house" as you have said; then this needs to be told to all of the candidates on the "git go." Then there will be a minimum of confusion.

    One caveat may need to be interjected here! There is no accusation intended just my longtime observations of the IFB churches.

    You may even want to get this in writing b/f the new guy comes to minister. Many is the time when the IBF pastor sees himself as a "mini-Pope" as it were. A "one-man one-plan" sort of leadership style. If this is the case, and you do not know it in the beginning, then things can change quickly after he comes. Then "all bets are off!"

    Points to ponder!

    sdg!

    rd
     
  5. bapmom

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    Ive been through this "cleaning house" issue as a young child of one of the staff members who was asked to leave. Frankly, it still makes me a little angry to even think about it....something which I need to root out of my own heart, I know.

    But that was the best place we ever lived in during my childhood, and I don't think our family ever really recovered from that experience. The only reason my Dad was asked to leave was because the pastor had retired. To be fair, the new pastor did not ask us to leave, the pulpit committee did....BEFORE the church had called a new pastor, because they wanted to give the new pastor the chance to bring in all of "his own" people. My Dad was the youth pastor there for five years. He would gladly have stayed and held that position for any foreseeable future....he was not using that position as a "stepping stone" to a pastorate.

    I do not think we got any sort of severance package, although because of this we had to move several hours away and my Dad had to try to find another job pretty quickly. We had a rather large family, four kids and my youngest brother was only about a year old. My father felt that it would not be right to have the former youth pastor stay in the church when the new youth pastor came along, so it uprooted our family entirely.

    As you can probably tell, I do not like this practice in the least. God places people as individuals within a church's staff. It's already hugely disruptive for a church to go through a pastoral change. Why magnify that disruption by changing the entire staff all at once?
     
  6. exscentric

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    It is also a policy in the Conservative Baptist Association from what I have been told. I don't think all their churches necessarily practice it.

    There are some good features to it, but as has been pointed out where is God in all of it. Is only one man called?

    Since I minister in churches under fifty normally I don't think I will face the problem [​IMG]

    Can you imagine the pay package discussions facing a deacon board if the guy brings a full set of men with him :eek:
     
  7. shannonL

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    Scub,

    I agree with your post. The pastor should not always "clean house". I would like to know this though. Was the staff that is there now brought in by the pastor that left? Or were these staff positions needed because your church had grown and needed to add more staff?
    All I'm saying is it is a little disingenuous of the church to now take the position of not "cleaning house" if the staff that is there now was brought in by the pastor that just left.
    Just because a new pastor might want to bring in new people doesn't mean he dislikes the current staff etc.... God may have put a burden in his heart to lead the church in a particular direction that the current staff doesn't go for.
    I'm just saying that there are alot of variables in this situation. Some are valid some at times could be 100% wrong.
    I think Rhetorican has presented the most realistic of circumstances concerning these things. Sometimes situations are not pleasant no matter how upfront, spiritual or ethical they may be or so on and so forth.
    Depending on how your search committee goes about it you may be a while in finding a pastor if your already sending out signals that "hey this is how we do it around here".
    That kind of thing works both ways. Some preachers want to be dictators and sometimes churches don't want a leader they want a man they can lead.
    I believe that if you folk really look for a good man he will be a pastor that handles these things with wisdom and grace.
    Your friend is already assuming the worst before it happens. Tell him to take it before the Lord instead of whining to the deacons. He should allow God to do the manuvering instead of getting worried and trying to figure it out before it happens.
    God won't allow the staff and their families to be homeless living in the streets. They will land on their feet if they have to go.
    IF they stay the best may be yet to come for their ministry. Your friend needs to be optimistic and trust the Lord.

    That is my thoughts for whatever it is worth.
     
  8. blackbird

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    1. Unethical and not theologically acceptable

    2. Committee should be upfront with the prospective pastor---"We will not allow housecleaning!" If the prospective pastor doesn't like it---move on to the next prospective pastor and tell him the same thing!

    3. Severance package--certainly is fair. Not one dime less than a year's salary---he continues to receive his full salary and benefits for up to a year or until the moment he is hired by another church--whichever comes first!!

    4. Not one day less than a year---mercy--it takes at least 6 months for credentials to get "circulated" real good!!

    5. I've never been through it---and vow not to

    6. Long term?? HA!! I've known pastors who love to "clean house"---usually in my book I equate them with Binky and Bozo the clown--they come in---flex their spiritual flab and run their mouths from the get go--clean house cleaner than the Paint division over at Chevrolet assembly plant---hire "their own men"----and when its all said and done---Bozo and Binky will "hire on" at the next church running 10 more in SS than the church they're currently in!

    I have no respect for a pastor who insists that when he comes in--the house must be cleaned in order to bring his own men in---usually those he brings in---are either just like him--or puppets--"Yes" men who have suckered down to keeping their "Boss's" shoes shined!!!
     
  9. paidagogos

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    No—a pastor should not clean house unless there is a compelling reason to do so. For example, if the reason for the turnover (i.e. his predecessor’s leaving and his coming) had something to do with the staff. If there should have been a moral problem, dissension, financial embezzlement, etc., it ought to have been handled before the new pastor came on board. However, there are a few cases, isolated I think, where house cleaning is imperative due to previous wrongdoing and the lack of proper church discipline or housecleaning. These situations, I think, are very, very rare.

    For most pastors who do housecleaning, it is a personal thing. They are trying to bring in their own following who are loyal to the individual rather than considering those beneficial for the ministry. I have always resisted this although my former employees offered to follow me. I have little respect for the man who feathers his own nest and strokes his own ego at the ministry’s expense. Only after several years have I hired a former employee and then only because it was useful for the ministry.

    On the other hand, there is a proper way for a new pastor to gain the loyalty and respect from his new staff that he inherited. A new leader should have high expectations of himself rather than expecting everyone in the ministry to conform to his style and he remain in his comfort zone. His attitude ought to be what can I do for you more than what you can do for me. The newbie should consider himself on a learning curve to achieve the status quo before reaching for new heights. A radical shift in direction often upsets the whole cart. After all, the ministry is not all about me.

    The wise leader will meet individually and collectively with his new staff and listen to them. Good staff members are invaluable for acclimating to a new ministry. He will seek to learn and know their strengths and weaknesses. He must listen to their ideas. After all, they have already invested a portion of their lives in the local ministry. Furthermore, he should communicate his philosophy, direction and vision for the ministry. If a staff member takes exception to the new leader’s beliefs or vision, the first step is an attempt for reconciliation. If there can be no reconciliation of both parties, the staff member should be given the opportunity for an amiable parting within a proscribed time frame.

    I do not accept the “new broom sweeps clean” mindset. This shows little regard for faithful servants of God who have invested their lives in a local ministry. It is poor leadership and has no Biblical warrant. The local ministry is not about the new leadership. This is the world’s model, not God’s. (Hint: Remember the leadership models of two pyramids—one inverted and the other upright?) In God’s economy, leadership is serving.
     
  10. Brother Ian

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    Well said Rhet and Blackbird.

    A former pastor I know keeps telling me to start my own church instead of going to an established work. His reasoning is if I started my own church, I can make up my own rules. I believe that the Lord has called me and I must learn to work with whoever God put in place before I get there. There are no perfect people, me included, so we have to learn to work together for the cause of Christ. Aren't we all on the same team?

    Of course there can be exceptions for doctrinal error, immorality, etc., but I belive the general rule should be work with what you have.

    In the military, we normally get a new commander every two to three years. Those in leadership cringe when the new boss comes in and emphatically states, "There are changes coming" when they haven't even taken the opportunity to check out how things work. The same can be said of a new pastor.
     
  11. saturneptune

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    In most Baptist churches, the authority to "clean house" rests with the congregation, not the new pastor or deacons.
     
  12. PastorSBC1303

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    Very good post. I agree.

    One of the things that grieves me in pastoral ministry is to see fellow pastors come into a church and turn things over immediately without taking any time to get to know people or build any kind of trust.
     
  13. shannonL

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    Like a old pastor told me one time
    "Son you got to bury a few of them folk, go through some dark waters with them before they will trust you"
    Personally I think you ought give it about 5 years before you make any big changes if those changes are needed. I think it takes about that long for folk to trust you.
    Some churches have been burnt by poor pastors so they are cautious when putting their trust in a fellow if they think he is there for just "stepping stone" purposes etc...
    OTOH, some churches don't even know how to function unless something is wrong in the chruch.

    I don't think it is wise to "clean house" unless there are serious reasons as to why you need to.
    Again, for some of you who think all church members think "we are all on the same team" you have never pastored a church before or not long I don't know which.
    My first pastorate I was pretty green. Well green as goose droppings when I think about it.
    At any rate one of the deacons there told me right off "Now son don't you worry about the money we will take care of that you just preach".
    He was also the chairman of the pulpit committee that had me come. As Holmer Lindsey once said and it is very true:
    "Beware of the one that picks you up at the station".
    I don't believe in any form or fashion that a pastor should be a dictator. However alot of little churches have been burned by pastors who have failed to lead.
    Some churches are like the walls of Jeruselem back in Nehemiah's days. Something needed to be done about the walls that had fallen down. God sent a man to get the job done. If he had not grabbed hold of the reigns and set the course those walls would never have been built. The folk got behind Nehemiah because he was sure of what he was going to do.
    I love the book of Nehemiah. To me it is a perfect guide in leadership. It has been around long before John Maxwell came along or PDL etc..
    Not that all that is bad its just that its amazing what you will find in the Bible to help you grow a church.
    Well I'm rambling now. I'm just saying cleaning house is not a good thing but neither is being such a ninny of a pastor that you don't provide vision and direction for your people. Read the first 5 ch. of Nehemiah its good stuff.
     
  14. William Wallace

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    sadly, I have seen pastors operate ike they were CEO instead of the biblical term pastor. One yelled at 'one" of his secretaries "you can't do anything right- you don't do the bulletin right" blah blah blah. How eager do you think this family was to want to go to church there again? He's a piece of work. One member shouted at him that he (the pastor) was a liar for misleading him. This guy would do everybody a favor if he just left. but he won't. Maybe the pastoral staff should clean house on him....
     
  15. drfuss

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    We had a pastor that in effect cleaned out a very good staff. He froze them out. He was very insecure and didn't want anyone else to express any of their ideas. After a few years, he became intoleraint of anyone, both laymen and ministers, who dared have ideas different than his own.

    We have a large church and in order for the ministry to be effective, the senior pastor must do some management and encourage initiative of the other staff members. He didn't manage them, he bossed them.

    After the church attendance dropped by 40%, He was asked to resign. He resisted and we had to in effect bribe him to get him out. Our church constitution has been updated to handle this type of problem in case it happens in the future.

    I believe any pastor that intentionally "cleans house" is insecure and will cause the church problems in the future.
     
  16. shannonL

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    Not to pick on Hyles Anderson College but I have heard through the years from folk here and there that a "Hyles man" was one of the worst when it came to the practice of "cleaning house".
    Again, I'm not for cleaning house I let my wife do that.Sometimes I help her.
    Seriously, I'm not endorsing that practice at all.I'm simply saying that every pastor that has done that wasn't a low down dirty dog. There might have been good reasons.
    There are alot of insecure pastors out there. I've learned that being on deputation.
     
  17. MRCoon

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    I feel the Lord has called me to serve in a full-time capacity adn I have surrendered to His leading. I'm praying for open doors and letting God sort out the details. I would hope that any Church committee that feels the need to tell their new Pastor what to do or not do...is getting in front of God's leading, but I also think that any Pastor that intends to make changes in a personnel capacity without having time to observe and mentor the staff is failing in their role as Pastor, Teacher, Mentor.

    The Lord has shown His wisdom in providing the right "staff" for His people and His work...Gideon had to weed out his army but it was not his doing it was God's doing. Paul struggled with John Mark on his missions trip and God provided a replacement...and yet Mark was still able to be used and both men had a God honoring service.

    I know that there are always personality conflicts and even Biblical standards that may differ...but if both the Church committee and the Pastor (or Staff) are trusting in God for his leading then "job security" or "cleaning house" is not something to be afraid of because they are too focused on otehr things. As a Marine we often face the "unknown" when a new Commanding Officer is assigned...but for my 15 yrs experience I have found that as I have been a good Marine and good Christian (I don't think I can be one without the other!!) that I don't need to worry about this new boss because if I'm doing right and focused on doing what is right then I'm never need to worry about being replaced.
     
  18. rbell

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    God bless you in your calling MRC. I think your attitude in this matter is one that all pastors can learn from.
     
  19. genesis12

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    This "house cleaning" is the result of "The Purpose Driven Church" and the "Purpose Driven Life" in many instances. We've seen SB churches in our area not only clean house, but encourage those who don't get with the program to seek another congregation. Getting rid of the older folks seems to be a key to promoting the new agenda for TPDC, per Rick Warren. In one case in our area, a Pastor is regreting his decision to promote the books and their changes. Personally, I'll stick with keeping the staff AND the congregation if they are promoting sound doctrine, hymns, intercessory prayer, international and internal missions, Bible Study (Sunday School), the Pastor as a teacher .. you get the picture.
     
  20. mcdirector

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    But new pastors cleaning house has been around a lot longer than PDL and PDC. I've witnessed more than I've liked in my adulthood, and I've been around a few years more than Warren's books.
     

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