Friday, January 30, 2009

Bigots and Battles: What Gets You Scrapped From Your Ministry?

(From USA Today, Cathy Lynn Grossman)

So you'd think that sexual misconduct, gay or straight, is the downfall of the righteous -- or at least one of the top reasons pastors lose their posts.

Nope. According to 10 years of surveys among pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention, the nations' largest Protestant denomination, sexual misconduct was not at the top of the list in 2006, the last time the survey was done. (Maybe it's creeped up since then.)

The big buggabo: Folks just can't get along. It's far more likely that feuding among the staff and clergy is what drives pastors out.

The top five reasons, pastors leave, resign or just plain get the boot:

  • Control issues (who’s going to run the church)
  • Poor people skills
  • Churches’ resistance to change
  • Pastor’s leadership style being too strong
  • Churches already in conflict when the pastor arrived.

Moving up the list, however were: Administrative incompetence (No. 8); Sexual misconduct (No. 9). Ethical misconduct such as mismanaged monies, dishonesty, etc. (No. 11) and "disagreement over doctrine" (No. 12).

Now we know what is REALLY on the mind of those sinister pastors: they're fascists who want the staff to tow the line and not change anything. Sound like anyone we know? O.K., so Pope Benedict isn't a Southern Baptist, but he certainly wants everyone to goose-step through his tenure. Problem is: the Catholic Church can't get rid of him.

"Disagreement over doctrine" is a poor 12th. Nice to know that religious principles come last. So what if the pastor teaches that Jesus rode an SUV into Jerusalem. He's a damned good administrator (and an even better kisser!).

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