I’ve grown up in a minister’s home and I’ve been a minister all of my adult life and I’ve known many inisters. I can tell you why most of them have to leave churches.
Sometimes there’s a scandal, where the pastor slept with the organist, or stole money, or worse. I’ve known of at least two ministers who faked their deaths so they could just disappear. Sometimes it’s a happier circumstance where he is offered a bigger opportunity, or perhaps by some miracle, he or she gets to retire.
Mostly preachers leave because someone doesn’t like them. It’s always a vocal minority that gets a voice when the pastor has been at a church long enough to have hit a slump. Usually, that’s the third year.
Usually, the majority like the minister just fine but for the sake of peace they passively withdraw their support of him and hope he’ll just disappear like the two guys I mentioned above. So he picks up his belongings, pulls his wife and children out of their lives and hopefully finds someplace else to go. This has happened to me a couple of times and it’s happening again.
Was I right or wrong? Did I do well or poorly? It doesn’t matter. Someone wanted me gone and the congregation expects me to be a sacrificial lamb for the sake of their peace.
Am I a good man? Am I moral? Or did I practice evil? Again, it doesn’t really matter. Just as long as people stay comfortable.
Will this hurt my wife and children? Well that would be a shame, but when it comes down to it, they don’t care.
Perhaps there is something here that would explain why preachers self destruct. And perhaps it’s also a symptom of churches that just sort of hang on but never grow much.
It certainly explains why most preachers’ children never set foot inside a church building when they grow up--unless for some reason beyond my understanding they’re called into the ministry.
Friday, April 8, 2011
We’ve reached the point where I have no one to trust or rely on. After marrying, burying, baptizing, comforting, and counseling these people, a large segment of them, many of whom I have helped, went to my superior behind my back to complain and ask for me to be removed from my position.
They have no idea what they’ve done. They may not ever figure it out.
It turns out I have a reputation that goes beyond their little realm. My supervisor was not impressed with the dozen people who came to him with their complaints. He was not impressed that they went behind my back. He was not impressed with their petty complaints. And he didn’t believe them. Neither did the larger cabinet who decided to promote me.
I’m moving on to a church that is excited at the prospect of having me. I’ll be leaving a church that was at each other’s throats when I got there and will continue to devour each other when I’m gone.
The group that went to my boss? The group that won? They’ll be blamed and hated the rest of their time here. They didn’t know that I’ve been protecting them.
To hell with em.
It’s time to pack my bags and go.