Pastor Fired by Church

Charles Stone introduces his book, ‘Five Ministry Killers and How to Kill Them‘ with a story of how a Church fired their Pastor. As I started the first paragraph, I thought it was a fictional parable used to kick off the main topic of the book.

I read a little further and started to feel a little awkward. Some of the issues were a little too close to home for me. Then, the surprise (for me anyway!). The pastor is a real person and Stone is talking about real struggles that defeat many men and women who are in Christian Ministry.

The pastor in question, faced difficulties with power struggles, salary controversies and questions about his leadership style. His visitation policy was considered questionable and he was accused of “not loving the people.” Why? Because he made a decision to concentrate on the strengths and gifts of his ministry and prioritize his time on preaching and teaching instead of following a routine visiting program.

After some time, one particular man lead a bullying campaign that would eventually see the pastor fired from his job. The pastor made a decision to introduce changes in the Church policy regarding the expectations of the character of those that wanted to become Church members. He was called to question for this stance. He was threatened with losing his job. He stood his ground and they fired him.

Stone closes off this account of the pastor, “Jonathan”, as follows:

Ten years later, because Jonathan had so graciously responded to his critics and his dismissal, one of his main detractors admitted that pride, self-sufficiency, ambition, and vanity had caused the contention. The pastor’s handling of his ministry crisis left such and impression that eventually the church publicly repented of their actions, exactly 150 years after they sent him packing.

Who was Jonathan? Jonathan Edwards, arguably America’s greatest theologian.

Rev. Jonathan Edwards, a leader of the Great A...
Image via Wikipedia

Dear Pastor friend, if it happened to Edwards, chances are you will face similar challenges. Are you ready to meet them with a godly, gospel oriented approach?

Dear Church Member friend, if you have a Pastor that has different ideas about leadership style and ministry emphasis are you able to model gospel oriented flexibility and serve alongside him for God’s glory?

Related Article:

Ed Stetzer – Church Leadership Book Interview: Charles Stone on 5 Ministry Killers and How to Defeat Them

Also (post-edit) check out this recent post by Don – a supplement to the comment he made below.
Firing Your Pastor


7 thoughts on “Pastor Fired by Church

  1. There are probably only a few legitimate reasons for removing a Pastor from his post, immorality and apostasy. In my middle years, I was caught up in a move to remove the Senior Pastor of the church in which I served as lead deacon. The complaint was that his preaching style was too simple, too pedestrian lacking intellectual rigor. There may have been some justification behind this opinion.

    But it overlooked one thing, as I was later to learn.

    One Sunday evening, at the same time these machinations concerning the Pastor were going on, my oldest daughter and I sat in the church as this Pastor delivered another ‘light-weight’ sermon. I had some difficulty staying focused on his message, but this did not seem to be a problem for my daughter. In fact, as the sermon progressed it became apparent to me that she was squirming in her seat under considerable conviction. At the conclusion of the service, as was this Pastor’s practice, he gave the congregation an opportunity to respond to the call of the Lord. My daughter almost jumped over the empty pew in front of her, so anxious was she to declare her faith.

    Later that evening, as we were driving home, she commented, “Dad, I can’t understand why everyone in the church didn’t go forward.”

    Out of the mouths of babes! This is what the discontented, myself included, had overlooked. God uses the simple words of a faithful servant to accomplish His purposes. True – this Pastor may have been a mediocre preacher – but when the Holy Spirit empowered his words – he was a giant.

    One final thought. Naturally, this event stopped my participation in the demise of this Pastor. With the Lord’s help, I used this story to convince the discontents to listen to the Pastor with a new spirit. As we did, though his sermons remained simple, the message they conveyed were profound.

    1. Thanks for this great personal story Don.
      I’ve yet to finish Charles Stone’s book, but this is one of the key things he emphasises that at the root of the frustrations (ministry killers) for pastors and people is a mis-placed priority on things that aren’t as important as people coming Christ and growing in Christ-likeness. Preaching style/ability is one. Admin is a big one as well. ie. important things but not the main thing. I’ve been refreshed reading his book as it’s given me a good reality check about the things that are ‘irking’ me and re-directed me to concentrate more on seeing “Christ formed” in the lives of the people I lead.
      Once I finish the book I’ll be downloading my thoughts and learnings on the blog – but it is a “word in due season” – a refreshment & encouragement to “fan the flame” of pastoral ministry.

    1. Thank You, brother, for writing it.
      It is a “word in due season” for me and a great encouragement & motivation to persevere.

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