So, there was a congregation meeting tonight. The first one since the one that announced that the senior pastor would be coming back from sabbatical.
Today was supposed to be the day that the new pastor took over. But he wasn’t there… and hasn’t been around at all that I’ve seen him.
Instead, today’s service was entirely worship, no sermon.
And tonight we got told that he might not be coming due to all of the division… and of course, it was blamed entirely on the people who were upset that nobody at all was told that there was even a new pastor being considered until after he had already been chosen.
Good points were brought up about things like being accountable, and keeping away from all appearances of doubtful behavior. (Apparently the church board right now consists of the senior pastor, his wife, and one other guy… because the past 3 or 4 to leave have never been replaced. Gee, that’s a board likely to be impartial at all… though it sounds like they have no power even if they were…)
And a lot of questions that have previously come up and been blown off were brought back up.
They were unfortunately blown off again… but at least things got out into the open and out of the rumor corners.
Basically, unless it’s sin, the pastor’s view is that nobody else’s opinion holds any sway. Technically, none of the concerns are sin… they are just ill-advised decisions. But he has the power to make them, and isn’t required to tell anyone else that he’s making them, so oh well. “the kingdom of god has never been a democracy.”
But then things really got interesting.
Apparently, after the whole issue on the church social media site where someone asked for answers openly and got a personal attack in response… a letter was written to the pastor listing concerns that they would like to see addressed. Fairly basic things… not all related to the new pastor, but also about things such as the number of members on the board, and the decision to spend a large sum on the church social media site when the budget is struggling… and the way that offerings written for a specific purpose are taken into the equation.
He attacked these letter writers for a while without really addressing any of the issues… before someone openly asked them to show their face if they were so eager to attack by letter.
And about 40 people stood.
And it wasn’t just the number… but who these people were. These were the most active, most involved, longest attending people in the church.
All of the sunday school teachers… the worship team members… the hospitality staff… the former staff members.
The people most concerned with the way the church runs… and the people I’d think ought to have to most room to speak about issues they are concerned about with what they see.
The people the church really can’t afford to lose if it has any hope at all of surviving.
And instead of being open to discuss their concerns, they were basically blown off with an accounting record of how much the pastor has invested in keeping the church going the past couple of years, and in some cases, with direct personal attacks against these congregation members who dared to bring up their concerns.
At one point, the pastor even point blank singled out one person that he said he was sure was the one starting all of the division, and directly told him that he screwed up the pastor transition by creating division, and now it might not happen at all because of him.
This was basically a great big “what not to do as a leader if you want people to actually respect you and be willing to follow you” demonstration.
Eventually, it was said that tithes had dropped to record lows since the announcement (aka since the congregation members started “stirring up division”, vs since they figured out they didn’t really matter at all to the person calling all the shots)… and so now the new pastor wanted a contract… but he didn’t think that low of tithes could support offering a contract, so he wouldn’t be coming after all unless the tithes go back up.
Which sounded to me at least a lot like a threat… “pay up like you used to, even if you aren’t happy with how things are being run right now, or you’ll be stuck with me“.
And I hate to say it… but if he doesn’t give up and get out soon, I don’t think there will be much of a church left to turn over.
Things got out into the open, but he certainly did nothing to heal any wounds… instead, i think dirt got kicked in them.
After the mess was over… and I got home… I found myself again feeling like going through and just adding random people from the church to facebook… just to see who responds. because some of them…. i’m not too sure how much we’ll be seeing them again if things don’t end quickly.