Ethics: Pastor Forced to Resign for Unknown Reasons

What would you do Wednesday!

One year has passed since the congregation voted to affirm your pastor. He is one of five pastors who have equal authority in the church through the congregation. But he is also functions as the preaching pastor who has preached 95% of the sermons in the pastor year.

Today’s sermon was different though – the preaching pastor just resigned at the end of Sunday’s sermon.

Church members were called to the planned order of business after the time of worship. One of the pastors explained that issues over the last two months have caused four of the five pastors to call for the resignation of the preaching pastor. And today, as indicated at the end of the sermon, would be the preaching pastor’s last day on staff.

One church member asks why he resigned. And asked why he resigned without bringing it before the church?

The pastor taking questions offered that some issues were discovered over the past two months about the preaching pastor. Upon further reflection, the other four pastors unanimously decided that the preaching pastor should resign. He then pleaded with the congregation to “trust us” because the other pastors know this is best for the church. And it is also best not to share the issues that lead to the resignation least gossip ensue.

Thunder rolled through the pews as the congregation grumbled.

What would you do?

  • Trust the pastors and move on.
  • Trust the pastors, but try to get a few last questions answered.
  • Give them one more chance and warn them you’re leaving if they don’t answer.
  • Organize a movement among the members and demand answers.
  • Or….

Here I blog….

tagged as , in Christianity,Church Issues,Culture

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rhology June 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm

argh head asplode
Probably in this case, just have to let it slide.

2 Zack Stepp June 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm

“And it is also best not to share the issues that lead to the resignation least gossip ensue.”
Brilliant!Nothing quells gossip like hiding things!

3 Jared Moore June 19, 2013 at 1:05 pm

We’re congregational. A pastor or a group of pastors should not have the authority to dismiss another pastor. I’d share my concerns lovingly at the next business meeting.

4 Bennett Willis June 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I tend to agree with Rhology. You probably should just let this one go. The peers agreed that resignation was the best path and the “preaching pastor” apparently agreed with this.
A major issue though is the “pass the problem along” one. Since I feel strongly about this, I would want (privately or publically) some assurance from the other pastors that we were not just passing an ethical or moral problem to another church. And it is hard to think of a situation like this that would not involve some ethical or moral issues.
I have been through a similar situation but feel that the issue was a “situational” one and did not involve a “passing the problem” issue.

5 Mark Lamprecht June 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm

@Rhology Thank one of our friends in #pros for this one. 🙂

6 Mark Lamprecht June 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm

@Jared Moore Technically they did not dismiss him, but strongly called for his resignation. I do wonder how a congregations authority in exercised outside of church meetings where voting takes place.

7 Mark Lamprecht June 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Bennett Willis Of course, it will probably be difficult for those who need some type of answer – some closure on why the man they affirmed left.

8 Bennett Willis June 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Mark Lamprecht Bennett Willis CB Scott’s posting on Voices a few days ago seems quite relevant here–different but similar.  This is a tough problem and won’t be cleared up easily. 
Of course if it was easy, you would not have put it up for discussion.  🙂

9 Bennett Willis June 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Mark Lamprecht You have to give the group that felt that resignation was the path to take some credibility.  Anyone who can discuss a problem candidly, openly, and then all agree on a path has to be granted some credibility.
Generally resignations have to be accepted so this should open the topic at the next business meeting–or something.
There should be a method of calling a business meeting that the congregation can invoke–petition or similar.  The Baptist church I was a member of for some 40 years was strongly congregational but I don’t know if there was a procedure for calling a meeting.  Surely there was.

10 Larry February 10, 2014 at 9:18 am

If a man has disqualified himself from ministry, the congregation should know why. It should be handled up front and openly. That’s not only healthy for the church he’s leaving but to protect another congregation that may end up with this guy. Disqualification from ministry is not a local thing. There’s no such thing as being disqualified to be a pastor at one church but qualified at another. A man either does or does not meet the biblical qualifications for elder, regardless of where he serves.


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