Pow! Pow! Pow! You can hear the sounds of a gun firing at “ducks on a row” as the shooter aims and hits these plastic targets. One by one the ducks fall and hit the ground.
This may sound as if I am over doing it but it gets the point across. Sooner than later many ministers are going to face reassignment that will make an impact on their life and ministry. Moves might be considered as “good” for some and “bad” for most. Among ministers there is a phrase that says, “When you move, you lose.” This means that you are so deep in financial debt and family crisis that you never recover. Each move leads to a deeper hole.
Some years ago a writer on church administration stated that in the first two years in a new church, the first great threat to a minister will come and threaten his/her ministry. The writer went on to state that if the pastor survives the first two-year threat, the next crisis might occur three years after the first threat–that is in his/her fifth year. He noted that this discovery happens across denominational lines.
This means for you or your favorite member you might find yourself in the crosshairs of conference administration and the executive committee. So I thought that you might want to know how to “discern” whether you might be in their crosshairs. Here are ten signs share with me by ministers in this field that you might want to consider to determine if the “sites of the end” are on you.
- You View The Members Of Your Church As “Demons”: Preacher, when you reach this point of descriptive imagination nobody appears to be good anymore. Why? Because the majority appear to be against you.
- You See Your Members As Tale-Bearers: That’s right preacher, they report to the conference every misdeed and every negative thing that you have done and haven’t done to the president.
- Unexpected Guests: When you stand up at the podium to preach, you just happen to notice a conference official such as the treasurer or secretary and they haven’t been to your church in five years. Chills run up and down your body followed by goose bumps. You ask in your mind, “what the…are they doing here today?” Be honest to yourself, they didn’t show up because they liked your preaching.
- Your Wife Hates The Church And Can’t Stand To Go With You Anymore: Now wives I know you don’t work for the church, but your desperate husband is only trying to hold on to his ministry because he is CONVICTED and also understands that you may not want to move. So wife, give that man a break! Kiss the members anyhow and support your husband. Realize that he is under a lot of stress at the moment, but please let them know how much he cares.
- Going for juggler: Really? The first area of ministry members attack will be your sermons. They begin to compare you to someone who lacks your credentials–members will declare him or her to be the best thing that has come to the church in a long time. They will sell a mule that can “hee-haw” to the conference administration. When your wife “likes” the guest speaker’s “hee-haw” you are definitely on the president’s hit list.
- If You Were In The Wrong “Tank” or “Team” Headed To Put the President Out Of Office: Duck If You Can: Believe me, most presidents and their team (with the exception of our current) don’t forget and become revengeful waiting for an event or circumstances to pull the trigger. Go to an army salvage store and get yourself a bullet proof vest—it might work.
- You Can’t Reinvent Yourself: Think about what I am suggesting. People always want a new car with the latest equipment. The whistles and the bells! If you find yourself driving the same car of yesteryear, you are in the view of more than one crosshairs.
- You Go To The Doctor And Complain Of Stomach Problems: I mean when you think about church it causes you to run to the bathroom. You go to the doctor and he or she suggests that you should consider another occupation. Sorry, it’s pow, pow time.
- The Members Complain To You and The President That You Don’t Visit: It makes you so darn mad that your reply to your elders and board “that you don’t visit either.” Members, how can you make gumbo without Rue? It’s a team effort ministers need your support with this.
- Last Of All, You Have No Solutions To Make The Church A Better Place: Remember Ali’s fight with Larry Holmes? Angelo Dundee threw the towel into the ring when the Greatest was helpless on the ropes? Well, at this point in your tenure, the wife might be carrying several white towels. She knows you are done in and beaten up by the blows of the members. She sees you out on your feet ready for a final count but she doesn’t throw the towel in. Well, worse than this, you are in the crosshairs.
Years ago a minister was sent to a seminary. After a year or two he robbed a bank. After evaluation as to why he did it, he replied, “I did it so that I could get out of ministry.” He was always in the crosshairs of moves brought on by compassionate and sometimes thoughtless members. He didn’t have the guts to resign and move on to something else.
I feel that we have some men/women who are at this state. Conference administration, before you shoot, look at the consequences. Is there a new process of thinking or new approach we can take?
~The Forgotten Shepherdess