The problems you are facing are, unfortunately, a common occurrence in the body of Christ. Typically, in my experience over the years, pastors are rarely balanced in their ministry. Of course, occasionally there are those who are strong in both areas or weak in both as well. Unfortunately, because of the many false expectations people have of the pastorate, churches expect them to be everything to all people able to leap tall buildings, etc.
Part of the problem stems from, at least in my understanding of the New Testament, a wrong theology of the pastorate and from a failure of churches and its leadership to delegate the work to others according to gifts.
There needs to be a definite job description for the pastor that is realistic with his skills and burden and the needs of the church. Part of the problem is that pastors can become so stretched and fragmented in their responsibilities and the expectations of the church that they do not have the time needed to study and prepare.
Solid study and preparation time is an absolute necessity. Of course, some pastors do not like to study and prefer the busy routine of meetings, visitation, counseling, etc.
Here is where the leadership needs to sit down and evaluate all this with their pastor. Find out where and how he is spending his time and try to discover if he is really committed to study and even feels gifted in this area.
He may be out of his gift. This can really damage a church and the pastor himself. You mentioned the complaints mainly center around not being fed, not relevant, and not challenging. In our existential, experience and emotionally-oriented society, one that is so self-centered and oriented to self-help books and preaching, etc. We live in what may be the most anti-intellectual period in the history of Western civilization.
Today, what we are seeing is revival of emotionalism, but not the true knowledge of God. The church today is more guided by feelings than by biblical convictions. People today value enthusiasm more than informed faith and commitment. Emotions are not wrong, but they must be guided by a truly biblically-oriented faith.
Certainly we do not want a church absent of emotion and feelings, but such must be guided by sound thinking. Moreland, that deals with this issue. So, as the leadership, you need to sit down with the pastor and evaluate his schedule, the use of time, his gifts, the true nature of his preaching, the negative comments are they legitimate, partly or totally?
We have some studies on our web site that you might find helpful along some of these lines. Appendix 3: Walking the Romans Road. Appendix 2: Reflection Questions. Appendix 1: Study Group Tips.A pastor sued all 12 members of the board of deacons of his former church as a result of a letter the board had sent to him. The letter was written following a series of meetings and expressed the deacons' belief that the pastor's health problems prevented him from performing his duties effectively.
The letter stated, in pertinent part:. Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.
When Is It Time for a Pastor to Leave a Church? Seven Scenarios
Let ChurchSalary do the work. Get personalized compensation reports for staff and pastors. To unlock this article for your friends, use any of the social share buttons on our site, or simply copy the link below. To share this article with your friends, use any of the social share buttons on our site, or simply copy the link below.
Recent Developments Issues that affect ministers and churches. Richard R. Hammar, Attorney, CPA. The letter stated, in pertinent part: [I]t is the opinion of the Deacon Board that [your resignation] is necessary to protect the health and vitality of [the church].
We are thoroughly convinced that your general health and physical condition prohibit you from effectively performing your pastoral responsibilities. Additionally, we are convinced that the spirituality within the church has reached a point that the only logical alternative is to change pastoral leadership.
We simply need a pastor that is capable of providing creative leadership, new ideas, and visionary direction. Our church must be restored to its historical and enriched heritage. Related Topics: Member, Board.
Related Resources. Essential Guide to Liabilities and Duties for Church Boards Be aware of ways you can expose yourself to personal legal liability. Essential Guide to Money for Church Boards Church board members should have a basic understanding of these financial issues. Essential Guide to Employment Issues for Church Boards Covers selection and screening, dispute resolution, terminations, discrimination, and minimum wage. Church Finance Update.
Church Management Update. Richard Hammar's Essential Reminders. Managing Church Risk. Email Address. Subscribe to the selected newsletters. ChurchSalary Let ChurchSalary do the work.
Get Started Learn more. SHARE tweet share. Stay informed. Sign up for our Free newsletter. Give Today. Careers Media Room Follow Us. Help Contact Us My Account. Christianity Today strengthens the church by richly communicating the breadth of the true, good, and beautiful gospel.WHY I RESIGNED PART 1
Unlock This Article for a Friend To unlock this article for your friends, use any of the social share buttons on our site, or simply copy the link below. Share This Article with a Friend To share this article with your friends, use any of the social share buttons on our site, or simply copy the link below.When a pastor resigns, it usually comes as a shock to most people in the congregation. It often brings a lot of questions. Why does he want to leave?
Did we do something that made him want to leave? Is there any way we can change his mind? Is he going some place "better" or some place "bigger? Did someone or a group of people drive him out? First there is shock, then denial. Anger or resentment can sneak in too. Someone might say, "Fine. If he wants to leave, let him go. We are better off without him.
Why Pastors Resign H. London, at a Southern Nazarene University conference, summarized the reasons pastors resign. He said that the five most common reasons pastors resign are:. As the reality settles in, you will begin asking, "What do we do now when our pastor resigns?
Keep in mind that your pastor and family will be grieving too. Yes, they are the ones who are leaving. They will be dealing with feelings of loss — loss of friendships, loss of the familiar, loss of the ministry they love. They may also be feeling guilty for leaving.
They may feel like they are abandoning those they love. What can you do to help? Love them. Send them a note that expresses your sadness that they are leaving but let them know that you fully support them in their decision.
Help them pack. If they have small children, offer to babysit while they pack. Provide meals since their kitchen will probably be all packed up. Give them hugs where and when it is appropriate. Assist with finances if needed.Occasionally people ask my opinion on various personal or church issues. I recently received the following question which I have reprinted below, followed by my response. The deacons of our congregation recently voted by that they could no longer support our pastor.
This action led to the resignation of our pastor in his attempt to not cause a church split by bringing the vote to the church. Ultimately, the reason given for the lack of support was over preferences and no sin that would prevent him from serving as a pastor.
There had been years of concern regarding the lack of depth in his messages. He also liked to use videos in evening bible studies that a few of the members did not like. Like all of us, our pastor had strengths and weaknesses.
Delivering messages may have been considered a weakness to some, but his strengths were that he knew his flock personally, followed up with visitors and worked very hard within the church.
There are so many unknowns about the situation you describe that I am hesitant to make definitive comments. I am always concerned that someone uses communication from me as ammunition to lobby church members against one another. However, since this is such a common problem in churches, I will take this opportunity to underscore what I believe the Bible says about the structure of church leadership — especially as it relates to the preaching pastor.
But please remember Jesus prayed that His followers would be unified as a testimony to the world that He is the Christ. On his second missionary journey, the Apostle Paul appointed elders in each church he visited. The elders were also called overseers, shepherds or pastors.
Good shepherds are to protect their sheep against predators that would isolate and devour the young lambs. The pastors are instructed to protect the church against false teaching, divisiveness, and immorality within the body of Christ. So be on your guard! Good shepherds are also to lead the sheep. In 1 Peter 5 elders were instructed not to lord it over the flock but to set an example for them.
He loves the sheep, and the sheep instinctively know his voice and are willing to follow where he leads. The good shepherd also has a responsibility to see the sheep are fed. He leads them to green pastures and still waters where they can be nurtured and grow to spiritual maturity and health. The shepherd sees that the flock is fed the Bible, which is called meat, milk, bread, and honey for the soul.As I write this, a phone call came yesterday from an embattled pastor.
He's under constant duress from a group of leaders who want him out for whatever reasons—some real and some contrived—and are growing impatient with his inability to find a place to land. His question to me was whether he should resign.
What should a church do when people think a pastor needs to resign
And if so, should he ask for severance, and for how long, and should he couch the terms in words to protect his future job prospects from being endangered. Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter. In most cases, that means being forced out, either abruptly or more gently.
The pastor whose support from the congregation has dwindled away to next to nothing should resign. There's no point in trying to lead people who will not follow.
The reality, however, is that he has to feed his family. This is a strength of being bi-vocational; you need not hang around longer than necessary in order to have a paycheck. Therefore, he may wish to negotiate his departure with the leadership. The pastor who is told by the Lord to resign should do so.
I admit this is one of those "well, duh" statements, clearly obvious. But it must be included in the list. The pastor whose family life has shattered should resign and find a way to work on rebuilding it.
This statement needs some further refining. Those who put this kind of burden on deacons and pastors are being unreasonable and exercising a letter of the law, which kills, instead of the spirit of the law, which gives life 2 Cor. It would, however, be impossible to list all the circumstances which would require a pastor to resign. He and the church should pray for wisdom and be willing to do whatever would honor Christ, bless the church and affirm the ministry of this shepherd.
When should a preaching pastor be asked to resign?
The pastor who does something illegal or immoral or blatantly unscriptural should resign. In most cases, of course, even if he doesn't resign, the congregation will do it for him, as they should. Churches that allow an immoral pastor to continue in the pulpit—I've known of such cases—are betraying the Lord out of a misplaced fear of doing something disruptive.
Only courageous men and women should ever be placed in leadership roles in the church. The pastor who no longer believes what he preaches should resign. The pastor whose heart is no longer in his work, who no longer loves the people and who resents the demands placed upon him by the congregation should resign.
The pastor who realizes either that he is unsaved or was never called by God into this work should resign. My counsel to the brother who called this week included this reminder toward the end of the phone call: Seek out other counselors. Listen to several people. Then, make up your own mind as to how the Lord is leading.Periodically, I field questions from readers on various church issues. One recent inquiry applies to pastors and members alike. To avoid a church split, he resigned.
Although I am concerned that someone can use a communication from me as ammunition to lobby others, this kind of situation is a common problem in churches today.
So, I felt I should take the opportunity to underscore what I believe the Bible says about the structure of church leadership—especially as it relates to the preaching pastor. On his second missionary journey, the apostle Paul appointed elders in each church he visited. Good shepherds are to protect their sheep against predators that would isolate and devour the young lambs. This includes protecting the church against false teaching, divisiveness, and immorality within the body.
Good shepherds are to lead the sheep. In 1 Peter 5, the apostle instructed elders not to lord it over the flock but to set an example for them. The good shepherd also has a responsibility to see the sheep are fed by leading them to green pastures and still waters, where they can be nurtured and grow to spiritual maturity. The shepherd sees that the flock is fed the Bible.
If I had had the opportunity, prior to this lack of confidence vote, I would have had several questions for these deacons:. Have they done everything possible help the preacher grow in areas of weakness? Preaching is such an important part of his assignment that if he is not a gifted communicator, other elders or deacons should provide additional training and encouragement before considering dismissal.
Do they have realistic expectations? Modern technology gives us immediate access to the best of teachers. While this is helpful, few local preachers can measure up by comparison and thus are often subjected to unwarranted criticism. If the church is small and in a rural area, it may be prudent to be content with a preacher who is a caring pastor and individual encourager.
Is it wise to take drastic action on a vote? The Holy Spirit working among elders is not going to be divided. Without unity at the core, there will be division in the flock.
When leaders are divided, they need to spend more time in prayer and not act until they can rise in unison. Are they taking advantage of opportunities to see that the congregation is fed? Instead of interpreting the use of videos as a weakness, it may be better for the overseers to reinforce and even increase that practice.March 14, by Jim Meyer.
The first time I had to do this with a staff member, I felt horrible. What if I had given them more attention? Most pastors will leave a church via their own resignation. They will choose the method and timing of their departure.
In the great majority of cases, they will leave one church for another. Sometimes they will leave a pastorate to teach in a Bible college or join a parachurch organization. And I could mention the way the federal governmen t terminates employees … except they almost never terminate anyone! Please see some of my previous blogs on these topics.
He eventually reached a settlement with the church board and resigned.
When Your Pastor Resigns
The Lord confirmed to his spirit that his time in that spiritual community was over. Second, I would like the process to be fair, not fast. While anxiety drives us to make fast decisions, Jesus encourages us to make fair decisions. The board should not convene and decide to fire the pastor immediately. In other words, the process is:. The person being confronted — in this case, the pastor — is not being corrected for getting angry, but for refusing to acknowledge his anger and make the necessary changes in his life.
The minimal severance a pastor should receive is six months. It is common for the older children of a terminated pastor to stop attending church and even leave the faith. This is why pastors often hang on at a church long after they should leave. We talk a lot in the church today about social justice. This is ecclesiastical justice. If a board cannot or will not give the pastor a generous separation package, then they need to think twice — or ten times — about letting him go.
Getting cheap here borders on being unchristian. Finally, I would welcome the opportunity to resign rather than be fired. When some churches blindside a pastor by firing him, they never recover … and it becomes easier to fire the next pastor. When I was a kid, my dad felt forced to resign as a pastor, and after the board fired the next two pastors, the church went out of existence.
But if both the pastor and the board announce that the pastor resigned voluntarily, it takes the heat off the board and allows the pastor to leave with dignity. The optimal win-win scenario is for the pastor to trade a unifying resignation letter for a generous separation package. Leave with class, and you will leave a legacy of class. A small percentage of pastors deserve to be terminated — maybe even quickly — because they have inflicted great destruction on their ministries, their families, and themselves.
But even then, they should be treated with dignity and their families should be cared for.