Sunday, August 3, 2008

my years of wandering in the desert are over

Five years ago the United Methodist Church felt it necessary to send a narcissistic, passive/aggressive manipulative control freak to my church as senior pastor. Now I am not one of those folks that can't get along with clergy. Good lord. I have known pastors for 40 years in the UMC and other places, and have gotten along, dare say are friends of most of them. But this guy, hmmmmm...
Shortly after arriving, this PhD. Titled Senior Pastor began alienating everyone around him in his quest to "straighten this church out" and membership and activity plummeted.
Now, as you can surmise either from earlier writings or just if you know me, I could not set by quietly as this guy ran everyone off and ruined what spiritualness was there. Now to be fair, he didn't run "everyone" off. About five people rallied around him and his authoritarian management style and took over the church, in a manner of speaking. Of course, I noticed that they tended to possess the same character qualities. Many others simply refused to fight, preferring "nicety and civility" and stood idly by as it became a mere ember of its former flame. This made me even angrier. I recall Revelations, "I would rather you run hot or run cold. But this lukewarm is going to cause me to spew (read vomit) you from my mouth".
Now, if a church is on the wrong track and a pastor has been tasked by God to make it shake up and ship out and get too moving, then that's OKAY with ME!!! Who am I to argue with God? But let me assure you, this was not the case.
So each year in May I have prayed that he would get reappointed by the Annual Conference, and each year nothing. So this past May came and went and I resigned myself that the UMC is actually trying to commit a form of membership suicide if this was the best they could do.
So today, I go to teach my little group and first thing I hear is that "the Senior pastor is being moved to...". My heart skipped a beat. I felt like Moses looking at the promised land. My wandering in the desert has come to an end.
Then I thought about it. This guy just lost his father this week in hospice. His daughter has registered for college here. His son is due to start his sophomore year in three weeks, and now the official UMC has decided to move him. And I don't really think its fair to his family.
of course, my grandfather always told me "never look a gift horse in the mouth".

so....

we donated $75 to help in the moving expenses.

blessed be the name of the lord!

7 comments:

KellyLawson22 said...

Way to be committed to your church, though, sir. Way to not be one of those "run off" to find another church because your "needs weren't being met" or whatever else people say when they get bored/angry/irritated/upset with a church.

Way to remember that the church doesn't exist to just to serve YOU and make you feel good about yourself and the good things you do.

We'll start praying now for the next person that is appointed there. And we need to pray for the new church to which this guy has been appointed.

And Lord Jesus, PLEASE don't let these be the kinds of things that are said about me someday when I'm serving a church somewhere. I pray I am not the kind of leader this guy sounds like he has been.

nonprofitprophet said...

Kelly - thanks for the comments. I know you and your heart for people and you WILL NOT be thought of this way I promise. Most are not. Some people really have no business being a "pastor". Speaker, professor, administrator, something... but you have to put people first to be an effective pastor, and sadly this guy was not. Even loving attempts to help were met with defiance, resistance and arrogance. Yes - I thought about leaving, but it is MY church family after all. Many did leave and questioned why I did not. I sometimes wondered myself. If it had not been for the "people" in my fellowship group, we probably have left. Its like mexican food restaurants, there's one on every corner and ain't none of them perfect.
My fundamentalist baptist friend chastised me for staying and being divisive to "the body of Christ". I told him Christ wasn't there either cause he left cause of this fellar....
I guess its true what they say about prophets. the prophets say what needs to be said but stiff necked people keep on keeping on...
~npp

nonprofitprophet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Endlessly restless said...

npp

I empathise with your desert experience. Inevitably we struggle to cope with big changes in our lives and churches. Sometimes it's hard to keep going, but I believe that there is real value in staying with the church community. (Of course, there are circumstances where changing church is the right option, but in general...)

I fully understand your relief and the associated sense of optimism, but if I can offer advice from thousands of miles away - it seems to me that there will be 5 members of your congregation (at least) who are going to have to cope with a significant change in their experience of church. Maybe they need a bit of care and attention at this time??

nonprofitprophet said...

ER - yes yes yes. I agree, at times there is reason to leave a church, especially if it is an unhealthy one, resembling a corporate office than a spiritual place. I think those 5 will probably be okay, as the catalyst for their behavior will be absent, they will shrink back into normalcy I pray. The "all about me" syndrome is hopefully on the decline in that respect! ~npp

MizAngie said...

Desert, or dessert? Not a fan of wandering in the desert, but I LOVE dessert! Have I missed the entire point?

nonprofitprophet said...

Haaaaaaaaaa Mizangie! I am always paranoid about mispelling dessert/desert... its like affect/effect...i can never remember which one to/too use so i just punt.... :) ~npp