Since leaving my former church ( a Purpose Driven/Missional/Spiritual Formation church) at least three pastors have been let go. The stated reason for one was strictly financial. Two have been let go because they are “not going in the same direction…and we should all be in the same boat.” In the case of these two pastors, everyone was to trust the leadership on the decisions to let them go. No one was supposed to talk about it because it might divide the church. This is typical in this church, something happens and they must keep it all quiet. If you talk about it you are being divisive. The only statement on the forced resignations was that there was no moral failure of any kind, just they were going in different directions.
One of these pastors was a great comfort to my husband and to me when we were leaving our former church. He prayed with us, listened to us, and encouraged us to communicate our concerns. I believe he was one of the best leaders on the staff, and felt very comfortable (after a while) coming to him with questions about what the church was up to. He actually acted when I spoke to him, even confronting a group the church was affiliated with that uses contemplative prayer WITH breathing exercises etc. just like meditation in eastern religions.
I cannot speculate as to what these pastors did to cause them to be let go. I have no clue and don’t expect to ever know. The church leaders make these decisions and don’t think the people need to have explainations. I just want to know, what is a justified reason for letting a pastor go?
What gets me is that many people who have spoken about the forced resignations of these pastors is they claim, “It hurts to loose great pastors at our church but we just have to trust in God.” Are they claiming God is at fault for the leadership decision? Many are quoting scripture in their proclaimation that they will miss their dear brothers in Christ but believe God can be trusted. It reminds me of when I had a miscarriage and people would say, “God has a plan, it’s a blessing in disguise because the baby was probably defective.” This situation is different though in that the decisions being made are by men. It’s not that God isn’t in control, but to label the actions of men as of God….well, sometimes men do something that he approves of…but there are many other times when they just flat out sin. And it feels to me the leadership is using the “God card” to keep people from asking the right questions. The ones making such statements are likely just putting their hands over their eyes…saying “God has a plan.”