Voted Off the Island

April 14, 2009 at 10:37 pm (Feedback Received, Leadership, Social Networking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Last week, this article, about Broken Pastors, in the Best Practices newsletter, really caught my attention.  Here are a couple of quotes:

At a recent event, a pastor told me how his entire ministry has been haunted by a time, many years ago, when a small group in his church attacked him without mercy. His flaw wasn’t anything major, like immorality. Some had decided that he wasn’t an interesting enough pastor – that he was dull – and that he needed to go. Though by the time they finished enumerating his faults, “I felt like someone who barely deserved to exist!” he said. “I’d sat at hospital beds with these people, I baptized their children, married some. But when it came down to it, none of my good points seemed to matter.”

Another pastor who’d experienced something similar suggested this explanation: “You’re an outsider,” he said. “You look like part of the community, and they want to believe you are. But you’re the pastor – not really a person, but a position. They may have to live with the other church members for a long time, but someone else can be slotted into your place.”

The author of the article, offered readers an opportunity to comment on the post, here.  The comments there, are for the most part, very cathartic – many pastors have shared their thoughts regarding similar experiences.  In fact, the author of the article, Loren Seibold, emailed me today to say that the responses have been overwhelming.

I have experienced multiple meetings over the last year, similar to the ones quoted above.  Recently, a meeting was staged that was more like an inquisition than a family event.  I am drained.

Pastors are told that they are a part of the family.  They are told that they are loved.  Pastors and their families are told that they are a valuable part of the congregation.  But I have come to the conclusion that a pastor and his family can be disfellowshipped without biblical grounds.  Rumor, innuendo, and outright lies – with no opportunity to rebut the charges – anything is fair game.  If they don’t like you, you are voted off the island – disfellowshipped.

Others can lie, be arrogant bullies, chastise weaker church attenders, and do real damage, but they aren’t held accountable.  But let a pastor run afoul of popular opinion, and he is thrown out.

  • Where is the love?
  • Where are the promises of longstanding relationships?
  • Where are those who promise to stand by our side, when the going gets rough?

Read the quoted article and associated posts.  I’d love to hear your feedback.

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4 Comments

  1. glenn said,

    If I told you my story, it would sound so identical to your experience that you might even feel nauseated – or perhaps validated. My experience can simply be described as local mutiny (by only 5% of the congregation) supported by the Conference. I have now left my denomination (not the truths, but the organization), and am pastoring a small congregation that is quite free from the gross spiritual dysfunction that permeates my former organization.

    This is the new way. As pastors we no longer need to tolerate this kind of thing. By the true grace of God, we can start new movements, new cells of genuine spirituality with small groups of people who want to know and love God.

    Press forward!

    • Mt. Tabor Vistas said,

      It is so sad to see a few hold the church, the pastor, and the denomination emotionally hostage. I’m sorry you had to go thru this personally and I hope that your future is bright!

  2. danceswithklingons said,

    Yet again, this happens too often because of the clubhouse mentality of the institutional church membership.

    There is a better way, and it takes stepping out of the IC as Jesus did in his day.

    It is scary to go it alone. I know I had wished that I had someone to go along with me besides the Spirit and my internet connections.
    No physical person with me. But I am much happier and on this next step of the journey.

    Follow Jesus out of the churchianity Christianity.

    • Mt. Tabor Vistas said,

      Yeah, I can’t leave unless the Lord releases me. There are over 30-40 people depending on my leadership. I can’t abandon them.

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