Ad Spot

Firing the preacher

By MICHAEL J. BROOKS / Guest Columnist

Note: This is an opinion column.

Her husband oversaw the work of Baptist churches in our county, and their son was a church staff member in another state.

She said to me one day, “When our son told us his intention to enter Christian ministry when he was in high school, we were thrilled! But today, if we had a child who told us this, we’d be concerned.”

I’d met her son and I knew a bit about his story. After serving in a church for a time, he was fired and floundered for several months before finding refuge in another church in another denomination. His parents were broken-hearted as he struggled.

Unfortunately, this young man’s experience isn’t unique. Dr. Charles Chandler, founder of The Ministering to Ministers Foundation in Richmond, Virginia, wrote about the epidemic of terminations in American churches.

The two major reasons given for terminations are church leadership conflicts and declining memberships. In many cases the minister is like the coach with a losing season who has lost support.

Someone noted churches may experience three phases of decline with their ministers:

  1. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
  2. “By what authority are you doing these things?”
  3. “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Terminated ministers may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other health problems. Additionally, since unemployment funds normally aren’t available for Christian ministry, ministers face severe financial stress. Some studies indicate it takes up to six months to find gainful employment.

Church members must carefully consider the covenant they’ve made with the pastor and other staff ministers and go the second mile to ensure it be a harmonious relationship.

Dr. Henlee Barnett shared this tongue-in-cheek list with us in seminary many years ago, but I still find it helpful. It’s entitled, “How to get rid of your preacher.”

  1. Look the pastor straight in the eye while he’s preaching and say “Amen” once in a while. He’ll preach himself to death.
  2. Pat him on the back and brag on his good points. He’ll probably work himself to death.
  3. Pay him a living wage and he’ll eat himself to death.
  4. Rededicate your life to Christ and ask the preacher for some job to do. He’ll die of heart failure.
  5. Get the church to unite in prayer for the preacher. He’ll soon become so effective that some larger church will take him off your hands.

Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster, Ala. The church’s website is Siluriabaptist.com.

News

Pelham Palooza in the Park to return May 15

News

Dance party helps to raise money for tornado victims

280 Main Story

Fire at the Foothills sees biggest crowd ever

Alabaster Main Story

THS students rank nationally in French competition

Helena

Helena Miracle League holds opening day

News

Coosa the Barred Owl celebrates 20th birthday

Calera

Calera High students present ‘Aladdin’

Montevallo

MHS vaccine clinic benefits Hispanic community

News

THS jazz bands “Swing into Spring”

Alabaster Main Story

THS and TMS present On Broadway dance recital May 4

280 Main Story

Oak Mountain hosts outdoor show choir event

280 Main Story

Shelby County Schools promotes 2 principals to senior leadership roles

Alabaster Main Story

Alabaster receives Distinguished Budget Award

280 Main Story

Lockdown lifted at Chelsea High School after student makes false report of a threat

Helena

Two by Two receives $4,000 grant from PetCo

280 Reporter

Man arrested in Shelby County escapes from Childersburg facility

Helena

Spring Planting Day set for April 24

News

Post 555 precision shooting team wins big at state competition

Helena

Helena declares April 17 Rebecca Luker Day

Helena

Art contest asks children to “Bee Creative”

280 Main Story

Grant will fund Vincent walking trail, facilities

280 Main Story

Tyler Crane returns to Oak Mountain as new head football coach

Alabaster Main Story

Alabaster youth activities registration opens on April 19

280 Main Story

Ivey announces $80 million in park improvements