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