Tenure for Pastors

When a minister has an opinion most other ministers disagree with, it is probably wrong. But not always. I have such an opinion on the “extended call” my denomination introduced a years ago. I am probably wrong on this, but maybe not. At the time, it seemed like a good idea. There was a day when all the local church members voted every year on whether to keep their pastor or not. Lots of preacher’s kids [believe they] sat through the springtime counting of the votes by the tellers: “Yes, no, no, yes, no, no,” tallying up weather they were going to have to move or not. Few pastors or their kids liked this. So two-year “calls” became standard, then a four-year call was introduced and eventually the “extended call” was rolled out to end this suspenseful process. If an “extended call” was approved by the entire congregation it ended congregational voting on the pastor, a semi-eternal security for pastors… or at least “tenure.” As long as a pastor satisfied their board everything was hunky-dory. And if a board got dissatisfied with their pastor they could call for a public vote to see if the rest of the church members agreed with them. But past solutions often become future problems. The way a thing works out is not always how it was intended. It is my opinion that the extended call merely concentrates power over the pastor’s future into the hands of a smaller group. Often that group is harder to satisfy then the larger one. How it worked out is that when a board calls for a congregational vote the pastor usually resigns. That’s my point. The extended call functionally just concentrates power over the pastor’s tenure into the hands of a handful of board members. In my opinion, the extended call is not a pastor-friendly device. But not many pastors agree with me. So I am probably wrong. So, what do you think? The discussion of this column is on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=161502633 Keith Drury March 29, 2011 www.TuesdayColumn.com

No comments: