Part 1 can be found HERE.
Some pastors leave because God calls them to another church and/or ministry. Some pastors leave because they find a better deal or are climbing the ministerial ladder. Some leave because they’re running from a tough situation. 1,700 a month are fired in the United States. Then there’s another group. These guys usually aren’t understood by their friends, church members, or family. Let me explain…
Sure… ministry is tough. But no tougher than any other vocation. Pastors don’t have it easy, but neither does anyone else in this world. My thoughts are not with the situation in churches… but rather what ought to happen in churches when there are struggles among pastor… staff… and/or the membership. Of all places where love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation ought to be front and center it is the church. But sadly too many times those virtues are trampled under foot. Sometimes Jesus’ recommendation is the best course to follow (CLICK HERE and HERE).
I know a pastor who was called to a church on a 100% vote. A year later the church voted “no confidence” by a 75% margin. He hadn’t preached heresy… there was no immorality… he hadn’t broken any laws. The problem? The same one the last two pastors had… a personality conflict with church leadership (A man & his wife). So what was he to do? This suggestion was made to him as a plan of action… (Note: I’m feeling very defensive for him!)
Acknowledge openly to all there is a unity problem. Admit and confess honestly any fault or failure of your own.
Set before the leadership (Staff, Deacons, & Personnel Team) the importance of following Scripture for all to: Repent… confess… forgive… and be reconciled. Remind all (Including yourself) that if the church is not able to (Or won’t) do these things, then everyone’s credibility has been compromised… the message of the cross won’t be believed in the community… and have contributed to Jesus’ name being tarnished (Ro 2:24).
Set before the leadership to call for a time of prayer for repentance, restoration, and reconciliation.
Then leave the decision about this in their hands trusting God for the outcome (See Gen 13:8-9).
Then it was suggested he spend much time in prayer and reflection in God’s Word… and if the leadership rejected his offer, to remember what is written in the Scripture…
Mt 10:14 If anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next…
Mt 5:39 Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Mt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Ro 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all (So everyone can see it). 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God… 20 “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink… 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Update: His offer was rejected. He was given 3 months severance and is to move out of church housing in three weeks.
Some pastors leave because they refuse to be a flash point for the church to get a black eye in the community (The church splitting). Some pastors choose to get slapped rather than to slap the Bride of Christ. Some pastors choose what looks like running and weakness because they will not be a cause for those inside and outside the church to stumble. Some pastors leave because their definition of “winning” is not the world’s definition. Some pastors leave because they are trying to keep The Golden Rule as best they can. Some pastors leave and affirm what Paul wrote in 1 Cor 4:3-5…
With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.
Similar situation happened to my family. I feel out of God’s providence and sovereignty he delivered my dad from a congregation to pursue a greater calling. Hope this encourages you!