Pastoral difficulties

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Jeff Weaver, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. Jeff Weaver

    Jeff Weaver
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    Howdy folks

    I am looking for some advice s'il vous plait?

    I serve as the junior pastor of a small church. A couple of months ago, the senior pastor during church conference basically called me a liar during the business meeting. Turns out I was right and he was wrong. I went to him as per Matt. 18 and he apologized to me, and as far as I was concerned that settled it. I had planned on resigning and moving my membership. From what I learned later from the deacons, he had no intentions of apologizing to me, but they went to him and told him that I was right and he was not, so it was a forced apology. I don't put much stock in forced apologies.

    Some of the members of the church, actually the majority feel that because of the senior pastor's outburst (it isnt the first time he has done it), he should resign and have presented him a petition asking for his resignation, signed by 2/3rds of the church members. He has refused to resign, and next conference there is going to be a fight I fear. He has been in the ministry for 43 years, and pastor of this church for 15. I have been co-pastor for 3, and been in the ministry for 27. The senior pastor and I have known each other and been friendly for 30 years, until this year.

    Both sides have been coming to me to be the broker of how things go, and I have tried to be and make arrangements for everything to be fair. I have also investigated the situation, as I was invited to do by both sides of the question. I have discovered that one side has been much less than honest about what has gone on behind the scenes. I don't run about after gossip, and most of this stuff was news to me.

    At any rate, here is the plan and the question.

    Next business meeting time, have the senior pastor and the fellow (deacon) who organized the petition sit together privately to see if they can work it out.

    If not, take some witnesses into the room, to listen to the discussion, and still if there is no resolution,

    Bring it to the church for resolution.

    Have a minister from another church moderate the conference.

    Is this a reasonable course of action?

    What would you do differently, if anything?

    Like I said before the principal offense was against me, and I forgave it, but there are others. The senior pastor basically ran off a couple of members in the last couple of months who didn't want to listen to his accusations.

    I plan to abstain on the vote, if it comes to that, since I forgave him in private, and if he loses the vote I will become senior and sole pastor and might be viewed as having a vested interest in the outcome.

    I have become obsessed with the fairness of the process.

    Is this course fair?
     
  2. Shiloh

    Shiloh
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    quote, Like I said before the principal offense was against me, and I forgave it, "but"
    -------------------------------------------------
    There is your problem. If you did forgive him you would be on his side. My advice to you would be your own, LEAVE!
     
  3. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    Jeff:

    It sounds to me like God has you there for a reason. I would not resign yet, you can always quit later. It sounds like you are in a good position to moderate the situation, unless:

    Are the Senior Pastor and you still friends or has his calling you a liar ruined that?

    Do you have a vested interest in either party? Have they offered you the job of Senior Pastor if he resigns?

    What did he say you had lied about? Is it a personal integrity or sin issue or was it no big deal?

    Depending on these issues you may wish to have an outside minister there to moderate and witness what goes on. We will be in prayer for you and your church.
     
  4. StefanM

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    That's not the case always. If a man's pastor slept with that man's wife, would that individual, even though he may forgive the pastor, want the pastor to remain as pastor of the church? I say not!
     
  5. Shiloh

    Shiloh
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    Jeff, I am familiar with the area you are in. My advice to you would still be "get out". If you have no "kin" in that area you will be in trouble no matter how many people are on your side now. Believe me brother you would be fighting for a "principle". How much is a principle worth? Is it worth all the aggravation you will have to put your family through? I am not one to cut and run, brother I am a fighter!! However you need to think of your family.
     
  6. standingfirminChrist

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    When matters got out of control in the Corinthian church, a letter was written to Paul in Ephesus. Paul wrote back a lengthy letter of rebuke, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.

    I believe another minister from an outside church, an impartial judge, should be brought in.

    The fact that more than 66% of the congregation asked the senior to stand down and he did not shows some pride and stubbornness on the part of the pastor.

    I will be in much prayer for your congregation, but I would say that the best thing is to call in another minister to oversee the correction in the love of God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
     
  7. ccrobinson

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    Jeff,

    Let's say that the church essentially fires the senior pastor and you become senior pastor. It sounds as though 33% of the people there are on the side of the senior pastor. If you become pastor, you may have 33% of the people against you, or else 33% of the people will leave the church.

    I'm not a pastor, but it seems to me that you wouldn't want to be pastor where such a large majority would be against you. If the 33% leave, that's a huge "hit" to absorb.

    If the senior pastor somehow manages to stay on, then I think your choice becomes clearer.

    My advice is to leave in either case, but I'm not a pastor, so take my advice for what it's worth.
     
  8. Jeff Weaver

    Jeff Weaver
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    Thanks for all the comments.

    Perhaps some more information.

    I am from this area, but lived away for many years.

    I know it isn't going to please everyone no matter how it goes. The church is aware of that as well.

    I was faced with a situation similar to this years ago, soon after I was ordained, at my second church. Fellow minister was excluded from the fellowship, and the church immediately began to grow.

    This will be the fourth time the senior pastor has faced similiar charges, but has always gotten his letter and gone somewhere else.

    The church members are not asking that he be excluded or excommunicated, but only that he step down as pastor. He agreed in my investigation not to moderate the church conferences any longer and allow me to do it.
     
  9. Plain Old Bill

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    I see a no win for anybody here.Regardless of how this turns out there will be rancor and bitterness.
    My prayers are with you.
     
  10. Pastor J

    Pastor J
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    I agree with most of your plan. 2 Tim. 5 needs to also be applied. I would have unbiased witnesses in that meeting.
     
  11. buckster75

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    Ps. 133:1-3 Unity is needed with God's people. Then will follow the blessings of God. Trouble is too many want to "keep the peace" that they even will sacrifice unity and let things ride unresolved to keep it. I believe if we strive for unity the peace will follow then God's blessings.

    If this is this man's fourth goround. He needs to be the one to leave and with out a letter.
     
  12. GospelExplained.com

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    Whilst I am not commenting specifically on your situation, generally speaking I wouldn't be surprised that if you were to leave, the likelihood of him retiring/leaving within six months is highly probable. Possibly leaving the work to one of his allies (deacon?) that ought to be supporting the truth and innocent party, but has a vested interest themselves.

    Personally I would be asking the "quiet ones" if they have any ambitions - publically - of becoming a pastor one day. This is a ripe opportunity for the opportunist to "retire" into the ministry, and destroy... Often the final act of a deceitful pastor is to reward his friend(s), and give himself the deluded sense of accomplishment that he has passed on the ministry to a faithful Timothy.

    When you feel down about those who do wrong to you, remember they act according to the state of their heart. By nature snakes bite. Don't expect a snake not to. So is it with dishonest men. Don't expect them to be more than their nature. And in this do right, even for the sake of not tearing the church apart. You may be right in principle, but vehemiently WRONG in allowing the church to be ripped apart by the matter. This may be your time to lay down and earn the hurt of glory. You are not abandoning the church. The church can seek what they have voted for without your prompting. Let God, let go.
     
  13. MikeinGhana

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    Wow, how many times is this story repeated in churches these days? What a shame that carnailty and egotism is so rampant. My advice is do nothing rash, but do everything in God's time. God is not worried about this church, He is in control. Whatever you do, let God take revenge on those who sin against Him. Do not feel you must defend Him.
     
  14. Deacon

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  15. Jeff Weaver

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    Well it is over. The meeting was long and highly contentious. Our little church divided, and we were not big enough to sustain the loss, but the former senior pastor left, mad as a wet hen, and his backers left with him.

    We had independent witnesses, so that the rumours could be confronted if necessary.

    I was installed as sole pastor, and I fretted over it frightfully, but felt great liberty in Spirit Sunday. We pray that it is of the Lord. I am not sure I am healthy enough (severe diabetes/glaucoma) to be the kind of pastor they need right now, but I am it, for good or for bad.

    Our congregation was down quite a bit on Sunday, but emotions were high on Saturday night at our business meeting, when this happened.

    We are in the process of amending our rules of order to hopefully head off this dictatorial type rule in the future.

    I don't think anyone is out there wanting this pastorate. There is no salary, and one of the ones who left held the church funds, so we are broke for the time being, but the church is not in debt either. Our remaining deacon is 93, so not apt to have much competition from him for preaching.

    Our witnesses have attested to those who care to know that the business meeting was held in strict compliance to the rules, and was as fair as humanly possible to make it.

    I appreciate all the comments and suggestions. I did ask to be released as pastor, and let them find someone else, but the church declined to permit it. So apparently they have more faith in my abilities than I do.

    Pray for us, if you have the mind to do it.
     
  16. GospelExplained.com

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    Perhaps in a few months time with hindsight you may like to reflect on how things could have been done better/differently for us all to learn from.

    Allowing opportunities for the Senior pastor to put things right OR depart with some dignity after 43 years of ministry, 15 with you, is important. Regardless if he would not have done the same for you.
     
  17. Shiloh

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    You only think it's over. Believe me I know those people, it is far from over. You better get some support fellow. When they come back....and they will come back, they will come back with vengeance.
     
  18. Dr. Bob

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    If I were a "junior" pastor, I'd try to get a new job title first!! :rolleyes: That is the most degrading thing I've heard said of a pastor.

    And definitely realize that you serve at the will of the church, not the pastor. If the church body desires you to stay, stay.

    But caveat - if the pastor desires you to leave and the church is happy with HIS ministry, then leave and don't make waves (and don't look back).

    Causing division in the body is one of the most heinous sins committed regularly in our churches today. The Greek word is "heresy"
     
  19. Plain Old Bill

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    I wish you well.
     
  20. j_barner2000

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    Brother, I will be asking my congregation to remember yours in this time. If this is of the Lord, He will bless you and the congregation.
     

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