Would you accept this church?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Trotter, Mar 22, 2009.

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Would you accept a church with a 76% "for" vote?

  1. Yes, I would accept it.

    4 vote(s)
    14.8%
  2. No, I would not accept it.

    15 vote(s)
    55.6%
  3. It would depend on the council I was given by trusted others.

    8 vote(s)
    29.6%
  1. Trotter

    Trotter
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    Would you accept a church where the vote to extend the call was 76%?

    That's the situation my church is in. We had the vote this morning (by secret ballot... baloney) and the result was 76% for, 24% against. The prospective pastor said he was going to be praying about it and seeking some wise council from others. This would be his first church.
     
  2. sag38

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    If 24% of a congregation did not sense that God was calling me to a church then I wouldn't go. This is clear sign that there is a vast lack of unity in the congregation. Plus, there may be a big problem with the church trusting the folks on the pulpit committee to do the job. Either way this is a recipe for disaster.
     
  3. tinytim

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    I would be worried.. but I can't say until I was in that situation...
     
  4. Dr. Timo

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    I did not vote yes or no, and it would not depend on the council of but ONE for me. If He said yes then that would be enough!!!:thumbsup::jesus:
     
  5. StefanM

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    No way, Jose. That would be walking into a trap.
     
  6. Tom Bryant

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    Personally, I wouldn't. But God may lead a man to do just that.

    Just an aside... why the comment "by secret ballot... baloney"? Not trying to side track and if you want you can just pm me the answer.
     
  7. Jim1999

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    The only church I competed for lasted 8 months and we parted company. In all my other churches I was invited to become pastor and I never asked for the vote results. No looking over the shoulder and free to lead.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  8. michaelbowe

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    I've only seen a few unanimous votes so I might, and it is not uncommon to have that percentage of nay's for a first time pastor.
     
  9. thegospelgeek

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    If God was leading me to, yes. If he wasn't no. But I guess that would be true no matter what the vote was.
     
  10. Baptist Believer

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    If I felt God was calling me to that church, I would. However, if I knew that nearly 1/4 of the church did not believe I was the right person to lead, I would take some time to ensure that I was understanding God's will correctly.

    There's all sorts of things that could be going on here. An obvious one is that a significant number of people in the church are exercising discernment are warning the rest of the church against rubber-stamping the search committee's work. A year or so ago, my wife voted against extending a call to a minister for our church staff, a person who happened to be one of my acquaintances from college. I had significant reservations regarding his gifts for the role we were offering him, but decided that he had somehow been successful in ministry up to that point, so the committee must know something I don't. Unfortunately, they didn't. He turned out to be a disaster, not because of any moral or theological issues, but because he did not possess the gifts to effectively minister in our congregation to that part of the congregation. My wife was one of only eight in the congregation to sound the alarm. So it could definitely be the Holy Spirit warning the rest of the congregation through them.

    It could also be a sign that 1/4 of the church is turning into a faction that will divide and split the church in the near future.

    My pastor trusts my discernment and brought a ministerial candidate to each lunch with us a couple of years ago. The personnel committee liked him and wanted to call him, but the pastor had some reservations. I met with the guy and got a "bad vibe" from him. The more I made conversation regarding deep issues in discipleship and devotion life, the more he wanted to talk about affirming the Bible as God's word and theological/political positions.

    I told the pastor that I thought he was hiding a lack of character behind the theological affirmations and political opinions he thought people would want to hear, the Baptist and "conservative" shibboleths of our age. The pastor went back the personnel committee and asked them to take a closer look. They had another meeting and then voted to extend a call. He was voted in nearly by acclamation.

    A little over a year later, he had alienated many members of the congregation, was discovered to be in an extramarital affair, and had made a mess of the ministry that was entrusted to him.
     
  11. thegospelgeek

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    OK. Lets say it indicates a split in the congregation. Should a Pastor turn down the call because of it? If accepted, what can be done to mend the split congregation? If the split comes from the "leadership" currently in place, does one make a different decision than if it is a split of less influential members?
     
  12. michaelbowe

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    I don't know of any church bylaws that would allow a church to continue to call a pastor on a split vote. In the churches I have worked there is a percent demeed acceptable.
     
  13. TomVols

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    I have some questions:

    1. How big is the church? If you have 100 people, and 24 are against you from the start, that's big.
    2. What's the requisite # of "yes" votes from the by-laws of the church? I find it hard to believe that this would pass muster there, unless it's 75%.
    3. What was the vote of the search committee to recommend, if they had one?

    On face value, this is a no. Nothing good comes from this.

    FWIW, my first three churches were unanimous. My last church was a 98% vote. All had divisions and some were very serious. The last church to vote on me was less than 80%. It, too had a division (I didn't accept because it fell short of the required pct). Sometimes the vote tells the story, sometimes it doesn't. On balance, at least a vote this poor for this chap says something.
     
  14. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    When I was called to a pastorate in 1986, I received an 80% affirmative vote. I took the "trusted counsel" (note spelling, by the way) of others, and then talked with the chair of the search committee to see if I could find out how serious the negative votes might be. She said she did not want to talk about that, she wanted to know only one thing: did I believe that God had called me to this church? And when I said Yes, we went ahead ... only three of the persons who voted no left the church, and I stayed there 18 years until retirement. A few of the other negatives identified themselves to me as time went by, and each in his or her own way said that they later understood that they were mistaken in their votes.

    The keys? Wise counsel, a sense of calling, and then just do the job lovingly and vigorously.
     
  15. Trotter

    Trotter
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    Good questions, Tom.

    1. 85 members were present and voted. 65 for, 20 against. That is not the whole congregation, but numbers are way down.

    2. The church constitution requires a 75% majority to extend a call.

    3. The search committe is unanimous for this man, as are the deacons.

    Our last pastor was here for over 18 years. he had planned on retiring in a couple more years, but a minority pushed him out. I won't get into the details of it other than to say they didn't get their way and so they launched a slander campaign against his wife. His heart and health are not in good condition, so he stepped down and left rather than stay under the stress that was killing him. Yes, most of that minority are still there, hence the 24% against.

    This man is the right man for the church, but I don't know if this church is ready for a pastor yet. We have been under an interim for less than a year. Our current situation is far from ideal (again things are best left unsaid), but the wounds are still fresh and there has been no repentance or reconciliation (or even church discipline) involved.

    Several have voiced the opinion that "we used to have several candidates come preach before we voted on which one." The search committee resolved to focus on one candidate at a time from the beginning, but some are still yammering on about only getting to see one man.

    You know, sometimes I would like to just chuck "church" and be done with people. :( Or at least be allowed to choose who can stay and who needs to get the $#&% out. Makes me glad I'm not the One who makes those decisions.

    This was one of the new changes brought about by the current leadership. It works fine for minor things, but it also lets those who want to twist things remain hidden safely behind their secret ballot. If I vote, I vote how God leads me and am not ashamed if I am the only one to stand. Seems that's something lacking in most today.
     
  16. gb93433

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    I know of a pastor who pastored a church where many were not Christians and they made his life rough. In fact some told him top leave. He returned that evening and they wondered why. His response ot them was that god was going to clean the house and he followed up with what he believed God told him would happen. God started cleaning house immediately and within a short time three of the deacons died and their wives came to know Christ. Over time that church changed and people came to know Christ. It took a pastor who was willing to stand.
     
  17. Bobby

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    I voted no to our new pastor, but now he has proven himself the more I got to know him.

    It is really hard to judge some "new" pastoral candidates. Perhaps there should be some internship or probationary period...:praying:

    Much prayer...:thumbs:
     
  18. Tom Butler

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    BB, this line sort of jumped out at me. I know churches do things differently, but I can't imagine any church ever getting a chance to call a staff member over the doubts of the pastor. If I were on the personnel committee, my pastor's reservations would be enough for me.

    So, one night say, if the pastor has veto power, why have a personnel committee at all? In the case of ministry positions, the pastor should be able to surround himself with staff which shares his vision, share his ministry philosophy. His opinion should carry great weight.

    The personnel committee in my church is not involved in calling folks for ministry positions. It is concerned with non-ministry positions (secretaries, custodians, etc.) But we're fairly small. For a large church, personnel committees may be quite necessary to recruiting and vetting ministry staff.

    My point is, don't force any staff member on the pastor.
     
  19. John Toppass

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    I definitely agree with not forcing any staff member on the pastor, this should include all secular and non-secular positions.

    I like the pastor/elder team where they are equals but the senior pastor is the spiritual leader and the elders should support the vision that the Sr. pastor has been given for the church.
     
  20. StefanM

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    It would be more to provide veto power to the other members. In order to call a staff member, the pastor and the committee would have to agree. The pastor couldn't force a staff member on the committee, nor could the committee on the pastor.
     

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