6 Popular Ways To Run Off Your Pastor

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6 Popular Ways To Run Off Your Pastor

[cap­tion id=“attachment_6818” align=“alignleft” width=“254”]Fallenpastor.com does not recommend this approach to removing a pastor from a church. Fal​l​en​pas​tor​.com does not rec­om­mend this approach to remov­ing a pas­tor from a church.[/caption]

Want to get rid of your pas­tor? Maybe not, but there could be peo­ple unwit­tingly doing things within your church who are send­ing mes­sages to your preacher that they want him gone. Yes­ter­day.

Dur­ing my five-​year min­istry to fallen pas­tors, I talk to for­mer min­is­ters, active min­is­ters, retired pas­tors, direc­tors of mis­sions, and mis­sion­ar­ies. The prob­lems I list below come from years of talk­ing to frus­trated ministers.

Unfor­tu­nately, for most of them, there are cer­tain types of atti­tudes that pop up in churches that do much harm to min­is­ters. I wrote a blog post a while back called “3 Ways You Can Pre­vent Pas­toral Adul­tery.” It wasn’t very pop­u­lar (prob­a­bly the title). It was about how church mem­bers and lead­ers can help their pas­tors thrive in the pulpit.

So, I’m tak­ing a dif­fer­ent approach today. They are things that most pas­tors think and encounter but would never share with their own con­gre­ga­tion. It’s a bit tongue in cheek, slightly snarky, but unfor­tu­nately, through my research of talk­ing to hun­dreds of fel­low min­is­ters, here are 6 pop­u­lar ways to run off your pas­tor. (I might add, don’t do any of these things. In fact, do the oppo­site.)

1. Leave Him Pas­sive Aggres­sive Notes

Don’t like some­thing about church? Don’t like the hymns or how long the pas­tor is preach­ing? Don’t like the new music style or how the young peo­ple are act­ing? Well, there’s a time-​honored solu­tion for that. Leave the pas­tor a pas­sive aggres­sive note. Prefer­ably anonymousanony­mous. Pas­tors just love anony­mous notes left on their desks, wind­shields or in the offer­ing plate.

You know with mes­sages like, “Your mes­sages were much more enjoy­able when they were five min­utes shorter,” or “You look more pro­fes­sional when you wear a tie” or “The ser­mon was fine, but you quoted 1 John 1:2 when I think you meant John 1:2.That’s the kind of stuff that helps the pas­tor focus on what’s really important.

2. Show Remark­able Imbal­ance as Church Leaders

When there’s a huge church cri­sis or dis­agree­ment loom­ing and the pas­tor needs wis­dom, input and sup­port from his lead­er­ship, don’t say a word. Let him fig­ure that stuff out on his own. Heck, that’s what all those sem­i­nary classes are for, right? But when he orders a $25 box of per­son­al­ized pens with the church’s name on them with­out prior autho­riza­tion? Give him heck at the next busi­ness meeting!


We have a ten­dency to treat the pas­tor as a “hired hand” instead of as a fel­low mem­ber of the com­mu­nity of faith.


3. Say Insult­ing Things About His Less Than Per­fect Wife

Did you know that a lot of pastor’s wives didn’t marry a pas­tor? A lot of men get the call to min­istry after they are mar­ried, so it’s always good to cut them a lit­tle slack. That being said, pastor’s wives are often the tar­get of a lot of trash talk.

For some rea­son a lot of peo­ple have an unre­al­is­tic model of what the per­fect pastor’s wife should look and act like. I guess she’s sup­posed to be the Proverbs 31 woman, head of the nurs­ery, teach­ing three kids Sun­day School classes, head of AWANAs, always smil­ing, remem­ber­ing everyone’s birth­day and anniver­sary, and never have a hair or opin­ion out-​of-​place.

Well, sorry to say, that’s not real­ity. God made all pastor’s wives dif­fer­ent and with unique per­son­al­i­ties and gifts. Some are out­spo­ken, some are quiet, some make friends eas­ily, some keep to them­selves, some like to cook 15 dishes for the potluck and some will bring a pre­made cake from Kroger.

pastorswifeUnfor­tu­nately, some church­go­ers feel the need to pick at the pastor’s wife whether through gos­sip, low voices in the pews, or even Face­book. “Why does she always look so mis­er­able?” “Why doesn’t she relate to peo­ple bet­ter?” “Why is she so out­spo­ken?” “Why doesn’t she teach a Sun­day School class?” “She didn’t say hello to me today.” “Why does she always seem so dis­tant?” Hmmmm. Maybe it’s because she’s won­der­ing why every­one is always star­ing at her with inquis­i­tive looks on their faces.

4. Join a Few Oth­ers Who Think It’s Time For The Pas­tor “To Go” For Arbi­trary Reasons

Now, it’s true a pas­tor can out­last his wel­come by mess­ing things up or by being a poor leader. No doubt about that. There are rea­sons to fire a guy or sug­gest he move on. But that’s not what I’m talk­ing about. I’m talk­ing about when peo­ple get it in their head that they just need a new pas­tor every 310 years and find ridicu­lous rea­sons for it.

He’s just a bet­ter preacher than a pas­tor.” “He preaches too much about evan­ge­lism.” “I just don’t like the ver­sion of the Lord’s Prayer he uses.” “Seems like he’s been here too long.

Have we ever thought that maybe our prob­lems with our pas­tor say more about us than they do about him? Let’s dig a lit­tle deeper. Maybe our prob­lems with the per­son in the pul­pit have more to do with our what’s lack­ing in our own rela­tion­ship with God than they do with any church leader.

5. Argue and Dis­agree With Any Idea He Has For King­dom Growth

Who would have a prob­lem with church growth? I can answer that one, actu­ally. I was awake the day they taught that in sem­i­nary. On the sur­face, most peo­ple love church growth. But when the church grows, it inevitably changes. And well, we all know how most peo­ple feel about change. We don’t like it too much. That’s why we try to 12angrymenuse words like “adapt” instead.

So when the pas­tor has an idea for growth or a plan for evan­ge­lism or any­thing that has to do with out­reach, there will be some who will grum­ble. It just doesn’t fit into their own per­sonal model of how things are or how things should be.

Well, pas­tor, we’ve tried that before.” “That’s not for us.” “That plan you’re sug­gest­ing sounds a lit­tle bit *gasp* lib­eral.” That’ll stop that plan for growth in its tracks.

6. Final Step: Sim­ply Decide He’s Not The Right Man For “The Job”

When a group of peo­ple has decided they’ve had enough of the pas­tor, they can sway oth­ers pretty well. Lies can be told — “I hear he gets his ser­mons right off the Inter­net!” “He doesn’t spend enough time to jus­tify what we’re pay­ing him.

When this hap­pens, it’s unfor­tu­nate. It’s some­thing I’ve pointed out since I wrote my book. We have a ten­dency to treat the pas­tor as a “hired hand” instead of as a fel­low mem­ber of the com­mu­nity of faith. When we look at him, we see a guy we hired, can fire, and find a new one. We see an invest­ment for our local church instead of a human being with a call­ing from God.

What we should be see­ing is a min­is­ter gifted by God, called to our local fel­low­ship, to be trans­par­ent, open, and part of us. We walk together, fall together, for­give together, and love one another.

Let’s not be in a hurry to run any­one off from our churches. Let’s invest the love of Christ in any­one who joins our local fel­low­ship, lov­ing them as we love ourselves.

Look­ing for more? Thom Rainer of Life­way is the king of arti­cles like this. I love his posts about pas­tors and church. I rec­om­mend these:

“Seven Ways To Hurt Your Pastor”

14 Things NOT to Say To Your Pastor”

8 Neg­a­tive Rea­sons Pas­tors Leave a Church”

_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​

Ray Car­roll is the author of “Fallen Pas­tor: Find­ing Restora­tion in a Bro­ken World,” which answers many of the ques­tions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pas­tor who needs to talk or you are some­one who has been affected by a fallen pas­tor and would like to con­tact me pri­vately, please click here. You are the main rea­son this min­istry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, asso­ci­a­tion, con­fer­ence, or news out­let and would like more infor­ma­tion about this min­istry, please click here.

Fallenpastor.com does not recommend this approach to removing a pastor from a church.

Fallenpastor.com does not recommend this approach to removing a pastor from a church.

Want to get rid of your pastor? Maybe not, but there could be people unwittingly doing things within your church who are sending messages to your preacher that they want him gone. Yesterday.

During my five-year ministry to fallen pastors, I talk to former ministers, active ministers, retired pastors, directors of missions, and missionaries. The problems I list below come from years of talking to frustrated ministers.

Unfortunately, for most of them, there are certain types of attitudes that pop up in churches that do much harm to ministers. I wrote a blog post a while back called “3 Ways You Can Prevent Pastoral Adultery.” It wasn’t very popular (probably the title). It was about how church members and leaders can help their pastors thrive in the pulpit.

So, I’m taking a different approach today. They are things that most pastors think and encounter but would never share with their own congregation. It’s a bit tongue in cheek, slightly snarky, but unfortunately, through my research of talking to hundreds of fellow ministers, here are 6 popular ways to run off your pastor.  (I might add, don’t do any of these things. In fact, do the opposite.)

1. Leave Him Passive Aggressive Notes

Don’t like something about church? Don’t like the hymns or how long the pastor is preaching? Don’t like the new music style or how the young people are acting? Well, there’s a time-honored solution for that. Leave the pastor a passive aggressive note. Preferably anonymousanonymous. Pastors just love anonymous notes left on their desks, windshields or in the offering plate.

You know with messages like, “Your messages were much more enjoyable when they were five minutes shorter,” or “You look more professional when you wear a tie” or “The sermon was fine, but you quoted 1 John 1:2 when I think you meant John 1:2.That’s the kind of stuff that helps the pastor focus on what’s really important.

2. Show Remarkable Imbalance as Church Leaders

When there’s a huge church crisis or disagreement looming and the pastor needs wisdom, input and support from his leadership, don’t say a word. Let him figure that stuff out on his own. Heck, that’s what all those seminary classes are for, right? But when he orders a $25 box of personalized pens with the church’s name on them without prior authorization? Give him heck at the next business meeting!


We have a tendency to treat the pastor as a “hired hand” instead of as a fellow member of the community of faith.


3. Say Insulting Things About His Less Than Perfect Wife

Did you know that a lot of pastor’s wives didn’t marry a pastor? A lot of men get the call to ministry after they are married, so it’s always good to cut them a little slack. That being said, pastor’s wives are often the target of a lot of trash talk.

For some reason a lot of people have an unrealistic model of what the perfect pastor’s wife should look and act like. I guess she’s supposed to be the Proverbs 31 woman, head of the nursery, teaching three kids Sunday School classes, head of AWANAs, always smiling, remembering everyone’s birthday and anniversary, and never have a hair or opinion out-of-place.

Well, sorry to say, that’s not reality. God made all pastor’s wives different and with unique personalities and gifts. Some are outspoken, some are quiet, some make friends easily, some keep to themselves, some like to cook 15 dishes for the potluck and some will bring a premade cake from Kroger.

pastorswifeUnfortunately, some churchgoers feel the need to pick at the pastor’s wife whether through gossip, low voices in the pews, or even Facebook. “Why does she always look so miserable?” “Why doesn’t she relate to people better?” “Why is she so outspoken?” “Why doesn’t she teach a Sunday School class?” “She didn’t say hello to me today.” “Why does she always seem so distant?” Hmmmm. Maybe it’s because she’s wondering why everyone is always staring at her with inquisitive looks on their faces.

4. Join a Few Others Who Think It’s Time For The Pastor “To Go” For Arbitrary Reasons

Now, it’s true a pastor can outlast his welcome by messing things up or by being a poor leader. No doubt about that. There are reasons to fire a guy or suggest he move on. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about when people get it in their head that they just need a new pastor every 3-10 years and find ridiculous reasons for it.

He’s just a better preacher than a pastor.” “He preaches too much about evangelism.” “I just don’t like the version of the Lord’s Prayer he uses.” “Seems like he’s been here too long.

Have we ever thought that maybe our problems with our pastor say more about us than they do about him? Let’s dig a little deeper. Maybe our problems with the person in the pulpit have more to do with our what’s lacking in our own relationship with God than they do with any church leader.

5. Argue and Disagree With Any Idea He Has For Kingdom Growth

Who would have a problem with church growth? I can answer that one, actually. I was awake the day they taught that in seminary. On the surface, most people love church growth. But when the church grows, it inevitably changes. And well, we all know how most people feel about change. We don’t like it too much. That’s why we try to 12angrymenuse words like “adapt” instead.

So when the pastor has an idea for growth or a plan for evangelism or anything that has to do with outreach, there will be some who will grumble. It just doesn’t fit into their own personal model of how things are or how things should be.

Well, pastor, we’ve tried that before.” “That’s not for us.” “That plan you’re suggesting sounds a little bit *gasp* liberal.” That’ll stop that plan for growth in its tracks.

6. Final Step: Simply Decide He’s Not The Right Man For “The Job”

When a group of people has decided they’ve had enough of the pastor, they can sway others pretty well. Lies can be told – “I hear he gets his sermons right off the Internet!” “He doesn’t spend enough time to justify what we’re paying him.

When this happens, it’s unfortunate. It’s something I’ve pointed out since I wrote my book. We have a tendency to treat the pastor as a “hired hand” instead of as a fellow member of the community of faith. When we look at him, we  see a guy we hired, can fire, and find a new one. We see an investment for our local church instead of a human being with a calling from God.

What we should be seeing is a minister gifted by God, called to our local fellowship, to be transparent, open, and part of us. We walk together, fall together, forgive together, and love one another.

Let’s not be in a hurry to run anyone off from our churches. Let’s invest the love of Christ in anyone who joins our local fellowship, loving them as we love ourselves.

Looking for more? Thom Rainer of Lifeway is the king of articles like this. I love his posts about pastors and church. I recommend these:

“Seven Ways To Hurt Your Pastor”

“14 Things NOT to Say To Your Pastor”

“8 Negative Reasons Pastors Leave a Church”

____________________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

Please take time to comment. If you're thinking it, going through it, hurting, someone else probably is too.