Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pastor flatly fired, by God, so say the deacons

You know there's something going on when you pull up to your parking space on Sunday morning and the sign that says "Pastor" is missing. Oh well, some prankster might have removed it.

You might get the feeling that the atmosphere has changed when you walk in the church building and are told that someone else will be filling the pulpit.

By then, you probably already have things figured out but just in case you don't you are told that your services as pastor are no longer needed. Even the most obtuse pastor would quickly grasp the new ecclesiastical reality.

The case is described in a story by an entertainment writer:  North Carolina Pastor Fired for Attending Rick Ross Concert

Rick Ross isn't on my radar, nor yours either, I suspect, since he is a heavily tatooed rapper who has lost endorsements because of lyrics advocating date rape of women. The story summarizes,
Pastor Rodney Wills was just nearing four years at Mt. Salem Baptist Church in North Carolina. He is the youngest pastor to be installed at 26 years old and is now the shortest term pastor in Mt. Salem’s 109 year history. On Saturday, Mt. Salem voted him out for attending a local Rick Ross concert. With a vote of 11 to 3, the 14 deacons met at 11 o’clock Saturday night to discuss and come to a conclusion that they did not need his services anymore.
I'm all for the pastor being rich, real, and relevant in his efforts to appeal to the younger folks in his congregation and community but think Pastor Wills' experience is illustrative of how not to do so.

The church is not SBC but most SBC pastors understand forced termination. Many have experienced it or near misses of it. But I've never read of a firing so decisive. The deacons met Saturday night and voted 11-3 to fire the pastor. Boom, it was done.

I have never pastored a church where the deacons had the constitutional power to hire or fire a pastor, although they may be a heavily influential group in both.

My general attitude has been that if I ever get to the place where a considerable body in my church would rather not have me as pastor, I would take steps to part ways and not stay where I wasn't wanted.

It never came close to happening but my approach has been that I would not let a small group in the church dictate such things and would at least insist that the congregation formally take such action rather than allow the deacon body to act in their stead.

It has pained me to see some of my colleagues fold their tent, resign, and allow a small group of bullies to   dictate decisions that the congregation should make. Dysfunctional would be the word for such churches and there are many like that. But bold declarations of what I would do is cheap talk, and I sympathize with any who are put in such a position.

The church in question here may have written by-laws that allow the deacons to fire the pastor. The story wasn't clear.

I predict a lawsuit in this case and would, were I a betting man, put money on it.



Anonymous said...

Read the whole story and pastor Rodney had been warned before about attending concerts like this. Methinks he deserved what happened but maybe not quite so bluntly.

foxofbama said...

In Collinsvlle Alabama the way it works is the pastors wife who is the song director gets the Librarian and the leader of th quilt walk to get a couple of deacons to approach someone who resists some choir ensemble makings. The wife never sits down with her disciples and their matter of contempt--for instance Stephen M. Fox--they just get the deacons to haze and harass till such time as a church meeting is called. Then with half the congregation out to lunch, surprised there was any of this broiling for two years is called on to vote. As the sheriff said in No Country for Old Men: Point bein evan in a contest between a man and a steer, the outcome is not certain!