Pastor Abusing Position

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by dh1948, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. dh1948

    dh1948
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    I would like to have your input and comments on a very real situation that a church is experiencing. I am not a member of the church, but I do have some very close connections in the church. There are a lot of details, so bear with me.

    It is a Baptist church in its theology, though not in name. The current pastor has been there for about 15 years. He is very intelligent and has a Ph.D. from an Ivy League college. In my opinion his speaking skills are rather weak, but he has evidently been a good pastor over the years. Over the past 15 years the church has a very impressive record of growth and ministry. Attendance climbed from 200 to around 1000-1100 on Sunday mornings.

    The church has a multiple staff...10 staffers in all...that is mostly full-time. Among these are four pastoral staffers, with the pastor being the lead pastor. The staff works with a church leadership council that serves as a sounding board, plus it serves as a mediator over any staff conflicts.

    About a year ago, the pastor began to insist that he was to never be questioned about anything he did or said by the staff. He began to accuse some of the staffers of not being loyal to him. He soon began to lie to the deacons and leadership council about various things some of the staff had allegedly said or done. He started monitoring all emails and social sites postings. It was like he was paranoid.

    To get to the point, over the past year he has fired five of the staff members, including the four pastoral staff members. No one suspected anything to be awry with the release of the first two staffers, because it was reported to the church by him that these people had felt God leading them to resign, though neither had a calling to any other church. When the next three were fired over the course of 4 months, people started to ask questions. No one would talk. Not even the fired people. Why?

    Here was the deal offered to each staff member...they were given severance packages with the stipulation that they not publicly say anything negative about the pastor or church. They could not tell anyong they had been fired or had been given the option of resigning or being fired. If they did, their severance packages would be negated. No one was given a lump sum as a severance. The packages were spread out over several weeks.

    One of the staffers was fired on the spot and not given any severance. Of course the pastor announced to the church that the person had resigned. This staffer had nothing to lose, so they told the truth to anyone who asked. This started a ground-swell of curiosity about what really happened to the other staffers who "resigned." By the way, the leadership council knew the truth long before the church found out. Because most of the council members were personal friends of the pastor, they blocked information from being given to the church and refused to hold the pastor accountable for his actions.

    Over the course of the past two months, the pastor agreed to meet with various church members who wanted to know what was going on. The only thing he would tell them was that the staffers resigned because there were things they did not agree with him on.

    Several members of the leadership council have resigned, but those who stayed on are the ones supportive of the pastor's actions. No one seems to be willing to get this matter brought before the church. They know that many families have left and more will be leaving if something is not done, but the pastor seems to know just what to do to keep the church from becoming involved in addressing the situation. In fact, recently the church gave a reception for one of the staffers who "resigned." Another "resigned" staffer wanted to attend the reception. When they arrived at the church they were met by two city police officers who informed them that they could not enter the building. They were given no reason other than they were following the orders of the pastor.

    One of the fired staffers told me they planned to publicly "face the giant" on a recent Sunday morning and ask him why he could not seem to get along with the staff. I advised this person to not do that. I felt it would have only hurt them and could cause chaos during the service.

    I have been told that around 700 people in the church are ready for the pastor to leave or they are going to leave. His response? "If it will further the kingdom, it will be best for them to leave." (Close to an exact quote). He has succeeded in shielding himself from any accountability, using the smokescreen of God's will. Nobody who is in a key leadership in the church has the courage to publicly confront the pastor.

    Things are in a mess. I usually side with the pastor in the event there is a conflict between him and the staff and/or church. I can't do it in this situation. I know a lot more than I am sharing with you. I have no doubt that he is wrong. Anytime a pastor sets himself up as the untouchable potentate in his church, he is wrong.

    I apologize for the length of this post. I am interested in your responses.
     
  2. annsni

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    From what you have said here, I would say that it's a man with too much power and influence and I would not have taken a severance and instead spoken the truth to the congregation along with evidence. It sounds like a VERY unhealthy situation.
     
  3. Mexdeaf

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    Wouldn't want to be in his sandals on judgment day. A godly man in the church needs to stand up to this tyrant.
     
  4. webdog

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    I agree. Those who took the severance in exchange for silence are also just as guilty as they put $ over Christ's church.

    That church has a plethora of problems :tear:
     
  5. Iconoclast

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    I agree something is wrong behind the scene. Is this Pastor undergoing a major doctrinal shift???? If so...it should have been him that stepped down!

    This covert pay off system reeks of something corrupt...and not of God.
     
  6. Zenas

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    It seems like everything went well at first and this pastor was successful in building a strong congregation. Then he started exhibiting these paranoid symptoms. I submit that he probably is experiencing a mental illness and he will bring the church down unless he is stopped.

    Not being privy to the church's bylaws, it's hard to say exactly what should be done or can be done. However, most Baptist churches will either directly or indirectly place the power of church governance in the hands of the congregation. Someone needs to review the church's bylaws and do whatever is necessary to call a business meeting for the purpose of removing the pastor, either temporarily or permanently. If the pastor is able to block such action, then the person or persons trying to call the business meeting should consider employing legal counsel to accomplish it.

    Does anyone other than the pastor have authority over the church bank account? If they do, then make it impossible for the pastor to sign checks or make withdrawals and stop paying him. That should make him very attentive.
     
  7. dh1948

    dh1948
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    I concluded months ago that the pastor had developed some mental illness. I know that at least one person has suggested that to him. Need I say how he responded to that?

    Don't ask me how it happened, but the pastor is in the process of revising the by-laws with the rubber stamp approval of the church council. From what I am told by an insider, he has given himself total control over the church staff and church council. Up until now, the council could meet staff members who have a grievance without the pastor being present. Not any more. Any member of the congregation who had a problem with the pastor or a staff member could meet with the council. Not any more. Total control is being transferred to the pastor, assuming the by-laws are approved by the council which is now controlled by his cronies. I am not sure if the church will have an opportunity to review the revisions or vote on them.

    As far as I know, the pastor has no control of the bank accounts....yet.
     
  8. dh1948

    dh1948
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    That is very easy to say, my friend. When your income is suddenly cut off and you have a family to take care of and a house note to pay, it takes on a different perspective. Besides, the acceptance of the severance money does not prevent the truth from coming out once the severance package has bee paid in full. I think that is the strategy of the dismissed staffers.

    It easy for us to stand on the outside and second guess what the fired ministers should have done.
     
  9. Zenas

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    Another thing the disenfranchised members could do is invite the Internal Revenue Service to review this church's management structure. They tend to frown on 501(c) status for organizations where all control is vested in one person. Lose your 501(c) status and no member will be able to claim a deduction for their contributions.
     
  10. Benjamin

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    I see little to nothing in the Op against the pastor but an objection by staff members to the pastor’s authority which frankly sounds more like an attempt of a power grab (while being told he grew the church by some 800 members) than anything else because at this point I really see no evidence of any kind of misconduct, doctrinal or otherwise, on the pastor’s part.

    If these same people were not gossiping and using their tongues of fire behind his back to achieve “whatever” the fact that the pastor was checking their email and social statements would have no significance and the fact that it does and may have led to their dismissals only goes to prove that they were indeed gossiping and the pastor was right to check and take action against it. If anything this is a mark against those opposed to the pastor.

    It seems the root of the problems is gossip and/or attempting to start it and I see this in giving a severance as little more than an effort to give some incentive to these people to shut their mouths (which BTW, they did take the $ for something that shouldn’t have to paid for) so by this account we do have even more evidence against the characters of those who would value $ over bringing what is supposedly bad enough to cause their gossiping behind the back behavior to light. This is yet another mark against those opposed to the pastor.

    We also hear of more than one attempt of some of those who have been removed from their position who had planned to “face the giant” (more evidence of a lack of respect for the pastors authority) and considering these attempts were being made with an effort to disrupt a reception and/or Sunday services. Yet, another mark against the character of those opposed to his authority.

    It seems to me the only charge against the pastor amounts to that in fact he is that he is in charge and this is being done while adding suspicion because of that he is attempting to avoid fueling the fire of gossip by simply giving the reason these people were dismissed as that they were in disagreement…well after all he is charge! If the disagreement were over something to merit condemnation then simple moral ethical principles would dictate that the only right thing to do would be to forget the $ and speak the truth.

    Regarding the info given I certainly wouldn't be jumping on the boat with those who have been disinfranchised.
     
    #10 Benjamin, Sep 18, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2012
  11. annsni

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    This is why we must be financially responsible - and go for unemployment. :)
     
  12. dh1948

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    I supposed I failed to emphasize that the pastor has been caught in numerous lies he has propogated about the staff he has fired. On more than one occasion he has lied from the pulpit. I think that is a pretty serious offense and character flaw that diminishes his "pastoral authority."

    After all the dust settles, I am thinking the pastor will remain. Many people will leave because they will not be a member of a church where the pastor is a bully and a liar. Many will stay because they do not, and may never know, the real issue, or they just don't care to get involved.

    Overall, it is a sad time for the entire church and staff. They need our prayers.

    Thanks for all the comments.
     
  13. glazer1972

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    Move to hold a vote of confidence. 700 out of 1000 is a majority. If there is no monthly business meeting and therefore no accountability then I wouldn't be attending anyways.
     
  14. Gregory Perry Sr.

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    Time To Go!

    If I was a member of that church and the conditions you have described became the norm there, I would have long ago moved on (after I took a spray can and wrote "Ichabod" over the door...just for effect) That is one sad and ungodly mess you have described there brother. You are right...the remaining members and staff need prayer.

    Bro.Greg
     
  15. Oldtimer

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    Once again, another situation where we don't have all the information. I'm not saying that's the fault of the OP, as he isn't a member of that particular church.

    At this point, we haven't heard the pastor's side, nor why there's apparently still support for him in the church.

    Yes, the pastor could be suffering from mental illness. (speculation). Yes, someone in a leadership role could be working to replace him, themself. (Speculation) Yes, someone may be seeing a fundamental church becoming a "seeker" church and is opposing the pastor's direction for their church. (Speculation) Someone, in leadership, may be trying to blackmail the pastor. The pastor may be trying to blackmail someone in leadership. (Speculation)

    Or, fill in the blank ___________ with the rest of the story as to why a church split is in progress. Did this start with a fight over the "color of the carpet" that has escalated this point.

    Is the pastor abusing his position or is he a man called by God who trying to save his church? :confused: Can we answer that without knowing all the facts?
     
  16. Aaron

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    Exactly.

    May I have the pastor's name and phone number? I would like to ask him about what you've posted here.
     
    #16 Aaron, Sep 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2012
  17. nodak

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    Aaron, if he gives you the pastor's name and number, THEN he is gossiping.

    Right now he is seeking input on handling a situation.

    I wish I had had more input in how to handle a situation I once faced.

    Pastor had made one of those "unless the vote to recall me as pastor is 100% I will resign immediately" statements.

    I was in sharp disagreement with him theologically, had witnessed personally verbal abuse of his wife by him, and suspected he was lying about a few things. I had come to the meeting expecting to vote against recalling him, but expecting also he would win recall by slightly over half.

    I voted no. I witnessed (we shared view of our ballots) as others voted no.

    And then the deacons came back and said the vote to recall him was unanimously yes.

    To this day I do NOT know if he was ever aware of the lie. Don't know if he was in on the fix or not.

    Do know I left and found a new church home, without badmouthing him.

    And I wonder if I should have spoken up?
     
  18. saturneptune

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    This is what I am not understanding. I assume your church is a local autonomous church with a congregational government. If that is so, the congregation could boot him with one vote. Also, what right does a pastor have to fire staff? Our staff is voted on by the congregation, therefore, it would take a congregational vote to fire them.
     
  19. saturneptune

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    I agree brother. I cannot figure out why the congregation is not standing up to nonsense like this. If it is an elder form of government, why are the elders letting this continue. All it takes is one vote to solve the problem.
     
  20. quantumfaith

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    :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
     

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