The "Previous Pastor" won't leave..

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by MojoTurbo, Jul 23, 2011.

  1. MojoTurbo

    MojoTurbo
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    So have any of you experienced the issue of having the previous pastor still in attendance and still "teaching" at their church?

    I have a very interesting situation and I may reveal more as the discussion continues.

    In a nuthsell he is the founding pastor, the church is only about 25 years old and he retired back in the 90's. He still teaches a sunday school class (for the seniors) and he receives a pension. There have been 3 full-time pastors since him and he has been here every day.

    Now that's not the whole story... but I'd be curious as to your "so far" thoughts.
     
  2. exscentric

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    I was interim for a year in a church where the pastor had just retired. He founded the church in a small town, built his own home in town and had no intention of moving on.

    It worked well though I would guess there was restraint on his lips when things didn't go the way he would have liked, but there was no problem.

    When I left he took us to dinner and we had a nice visit, he seemed to be at peace with his situation.

    In many cases there is not other church for a person to go to in small towns and why should they have to move from their home of many years?

    Now, if he causes waves -- well that is quite another thing :-(
     
  3. glfredrick

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    I have seen it as well. Sometimes it works out, more often it doesn't, as the most elder pastor often is the key influencer of the people, robbing the authority of the new man.

    Perhaps the most famous national case is where Bob Russell of Southeast Christian Church remains at the church while the pastoral reins are handed over to Dave Stone. I mention this church because it is the 5th largest congregation in the United States, so it is a well known example. Also, Bob Russell wrote a great book detailing pastoral succession that could be used as a model program in many a church.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/0982720491/?tag=baptis04-20

    Oh, and yes, I well understand the theological issues with the Christian Church. I don't intend for my remarks to generate that discussion, as this thread is about transition of leadership.
     
  4. Tom Bryant

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    Is he a source of trouble for you? If he is, you need to speak to him with respect because he probably had the respect of a class of sr adults who are influential in the church.

    Why have the previous pastors left? Did they leave because of him? In Baptist life, probably the FBC, Dallas where they called a few "future pastors" but with ol' Wally Criswell still there, they were doomed to failure.

    There is very little other that anyone can say w/o knowledge of more facts.
     
  5. preacher4truth

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    "Previous Pastor" won't leave.

    Put that way, it makes one think.

    Was he asked to leave? Does the church want him out of there?

    If so, why?

    I was in a church in my hometown, and I remember the pastor emeritus there, and I would have never known he was the founding pastor unless another told me. He was a most gracious man, filled with the Spirit, and a real blessing. He was contemporaneous with G. B. Vick, and mightily used of God. When I got saved, he came to me and shared 1 John 4:4 with me and I've never forgotten that to this day.

    The situation worked out well with him there, not a bit of trouble. I don't think anyone felt like "previous pastor won't leave."

    There are too many questions that the OP leaves. Very hard to make a decision or give advice on that level.

    - Peace
     
  6. MichaelBuckingham

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    You can learn a lot from having an older pastor there, make him useful ,ask his opinion on things, we all need a little support from time to time, but just make it clear to him that you are THE pastor now, and the church is your ultimate responsibility. The worst thing you can do is start a feud with another Christian, you should lead by example to others that although you and the former pastor have differences, with Christian love you can overcome them.

    That's just my 2 cents, you will need to pray to God for real guidance!
     
  7. MojoTurbo

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    When I first heard about it, I was kind of stoked. I was looking forward to giving him some authority back - instead of "Pastor Emeritus" I was hoping to upgrade him to "Pastor to Seniors" and bring him onto my team. I was going to be the guy who worked with him - instead of against him.... and then... I started to hear the rumors.

    He undermines authority
    He becomes an ear to people who want to complain about the current leadership
    He is still a "paid" staff member by receiving a pension...

    and then worse yet....

    He and his "lady friend" claim to be married in the eyes of God, they had a religious ceremony, but no state recognized ceremony. He and his wife consider themselves "married in the eyes of God" but not in the eyes of the state.

    Reason? So his wife can still receive her ex husbands pension.

    Is this a source of contention for the church? Yes. Even members who have been here since day one have told me that they don't approve. The previous interim pastor told me that when it happened, the church lost members.

    His name is on the back of the bulletin as Pastor Emeritus
    He teaches a class as a pastor
    and yet...
    He is living a life that is the very example of hypocrisy.

    Before I took the calling, I asked the church to remove him before I took the call. They talked about it, and decided that 2 major changes would not be good for the congregation and decided to leave it to me to handle.

    I have a course of action.... but I will save that for the next time...

    Your thoughts?
     
  8. preacher4truth

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    You know your next step.

    Church discipline is in order. They left it to you to handle, do it.

    - Peace
     
  9. MojoTurbo

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    the second pastor was a HUGE John MacArthur "Lordship Salvation" Church discipline dude. The church got rid of him in 15 months.

    Heavy handed is not the approach in this congregation of less than a 100
     
  10. preacher4truth

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    Perhaps the other was heavy handed. With His leadership, you won't be.

    I've been there bro. I know how it feels.

    Here is another scenario altogether; We once had a man, a fellow student, who desired to be Youth Director in the church I pastored. My wife and I went to visit he and his family. Brother, I say this with all truth and empathy; his home environment was incredibly abhorrent to say the least. How could I say no? How could I suggest that the deplorable conditions he lived in did not lend toward leadership? How could I turn Gods youth to him?

    I called my former pastor. He said "pray then that God would bring him and his family to understand they are disqualified." I prayed that, and they called me with this exact verdict. I praised God. What a relief.

    Are you Gods man where He wants you? If so, perhaps you should believe the same end, and I will pray for you my brother.

    May He bless you and show you.

    - Peace and Grace to you, your family, and to the flock He granted you
     
  11. Tom Bryant

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    I agree. But you need to move slowly and with the rest of the church leadership.

    Are you aall a part of a denomination or convention? Can they help you in this?

    Praying for you!
     
  12. preacher4truth

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    Amen for the praying for you part. We should pray for all the saints and share their burdens. God bless you Tom and all of your family and ministry.
     
  13. Tom Bryant

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    Thanks P4T, I am praying for you, your family and church. Praying for all of us to preach God's Word tomorrow!
     
  14. MojoTurbo

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    We're non-denominational, and so this Pastor Emeritus, he pretty much built this church with his bare hands.
     
  15. preacher4truth

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    No, you know who ultimately had built the church; Jesus Christ.

    Brother, you seem fixated more upon this man than Christ Himself as authority and Sovereign.

    Trust the latter, not the former.

    - Peace
     
  16. preacher4truth

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    Thanks for that brother Tom!
     
  17. MojoTurbo

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    not fixated in the least and I know who has authority, so I will tell you how I have decided to approach it.

    I am making him one of my regular weekly appointments. I told him as the "new guy" I would love to hear his stories. So Monday morning I go to his house (his turf) and we talk for an hour. I ask him about his family, his life, ask him to share the important stories and events he thinks I should know.

    I am bringing over old church documents and photos and asking him about them - just trying to get his side of things.

    I want him to know that to me, he is one of the members of this church and needs to be treated with the same love and care I would give anyone.

    He knows a little about how I feel about his situation and I am more than happy to discuss it further should he bring it up. This last Monday turned out to be the anniversary of his first wife's death, so I had the chance to take his hand and pray for him.

    When I first came here, my chief goal was to love these people. To be their pastor - their shepherd and I decided to treat this man in that same regard.

    Hopefully he will see that his "child" is in the hands of someone who loves it as much as he does and he will be able to do the right thing.
     
  18. TomVols

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    Here's the thing: does the church really want you to do something? If they bestowed upon him the emeritus title, they must hold him in high regard. If they haven't said anything to him, they must not be too bothered by it.

    I would really take the temperature of the church. You have the courage of your convictions, but if the church doesn't share them, you'll lose. No matter how much they say they don't like the situation, it's another matter altogether for the church to pull the "trigger," be it disciplinary or otherwise.

    I don't want to open a can of worms, but could he be right? Could they really be married in God's eyes without state sanction? We can't have it both ways. We can't say gays can't really be married in God's eyes if the state says they can, but say a heterosexual couple isn't because they didn't buy a marriage license but did everything else. I don't agree with this logic, but this may be what they're relying on (I've heard a similar argument made against divorced people who remarry).

    But to the basic question: I think it's a huge no-no for former pastors to stay at the church they leave. The church, the old pastor, and new pastor have extra burdens on them and a foggy set of roles and boundaries.
     
  19. Jerome

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    Similar situation discussed in this thread.

    You do know Texas is a common law marriage state?

    If there truly is a sin problem, is it your goal just to get him to leave [OP: he won't leave. . .he's still in attendance] or to disciple toward repentance?
     
  20. MojoTurbo

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    Texas is a common law state, but they live in different homes.... it was a marriage of convenience so that they would not feel guilty going on cruises together and sharing a room. The gossip mill says that they take turns sleeping over, but who knows if that is true.

    The P.E. title he bestowed upon himself.

    Nobody knows the agreement that was made when he stepped down. The current leadership doesn't have any paperwork on his current pension. So far as they know it's paid until his demise.

    His situation is a source of rumor and shaking heads. I have not met one person who agrees with it, but at the same time nobody is willing to do anything about it.

    He told the board at one time, "I'll leave if you tell me to" but the insinuation was that he would tell everyone he was "forced down" and he insists that he has supporters that would pull out. (but I have yet to meet them)

    Before my arrival he tried to start a wave of people to vote against me by finding all of the home bound people (who had never met me) and had them vote in by proxy. It obviously didn't work. He doesn't know I know that.

    He hasn't been a disruption for me yet, and if he ever is... it'll be a one warning situation. I've worked with pastors who have let discipline slip and slide and in the end it's hard to do something about it.

    Again, I am doing my best to know, understand and love this man. He isn't my pastor, to me he is a wealth of church history and a broken person who needs grace.

    The negative energy has mostly come from the elders and their stories, but nothing has happened so far since I have been here.
     

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