March 23, 2017

July 21, 2011

13 Statements and Questions to Drive Your Pastor into Early Retirement

1. A lot of people are really upset with you because of your position on_____but I won’t tell you how many or who.

2. I know what the bible says I should do about this dilemma but I’ve been praying about it and I feel like the Spirit is telling me…

3. I have a child-like faith so I don’t like to think too much about serious stuff like theology

4. Our former pastor always did it this way…

5. Strictly in confidence and just for prayer I’ve heard [enter name] is struggling with [enter scandalous sin issue]

6. I feel closer to God in the forest than I do in church.

7. Don’t worry pastor, we’ll be here every Sunday that Junior doesn’t have soccer practice or a game.

8. I don’t have just one church. I belong to every church and every Sunday morning I go wherever the Spirit leads me

9. Why are we spending so much money on missionaries in other countries when we could be spending that money here?

10. Can’t you tell that new family from the Baptist church to bow when the cross passes by ?

11. In so many words: “I give a huge pledge to this church. It sure would be a shame if you gave me a reason to reduce it.”

12. Where did all these new people come from? I want my old church back.

13. We want you concentrating on getting old lapsed members back not running around after people who’ve never even been to church.

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Curious how these don’t really seem to work on the pastors who do need to be sent into early retirement.

[1] Posted by Kubla on 7-21-2011 at 11:01 AM · [top]


[2] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 7-21-2011 at 11:02 AM · [top]

An actual event:
In a building that seats 500 with under 100 in attendance.  We are lined up ready to process, the introduction to the hymn is being played, and a matron of the parish tells me “the damn new people are sitting in her pew.” I say I’m sorry you are upset and that they are sitting there but isn’t it wonderful they are here.  “tell them to move!” I decline [BTW the end of the procession is now 15 feet in front of me].  She left.

[3] Posted by jim1 on 7-21-2011 at 11:10 AM · [top]

I always winced at the choice of venue for sNouch loving (snicker) entreaties.  Like, in the exit line as everyone is waiting to greet the priest.  Or, at an informal get-together, with people who aren’t “in” on the critique. 

Good examples all, of how incompetant Christians drive their pastors to early retirement. 

I’m wondering - how might competent Christians drive revisionist clergy into early retirement?  Where do those guys tie their goats?

[4] Posted by J Eppinga on 7-21-2011 at 11:28 AM · [top]

RE: “I feel closer to God in the forest than I do in church.”

Now see, this is true for me, but there’s no point in telling pastors this.  The best response from a pastor to a parishioner saying this to him is to say “now see—I do too!” with a big smile.

RE: “how might competent Christians drive revisionist clergy into early retirement?”

That would make a great thread!!!!

[5] Posted by Sarah on 7-21-2011 at 11:59 AM · [top]

#14 - Pastor, I have made a list of sermon topics I think you should do.  Hopefully, you will be able to get across exactly WHOSE in charge of __________ (name your ministry here).

[6] Posted by Jackie on 7-21-2011 at 12:01 PM · [top]

The following can be said in many ways:

14. Excuse me pastor, but the ladies’ room is out of toilet tissue again. (blink) (blink)


[7] Posted by tired on 7-21-2011 at 12:11 PM · [top]

Another true story re: #12—When I first started going to my current church 20 years ago, a patriarch of the chuch in his 80’s was complaining to me about all the new people.  He thought we had been there a long time because I was very active in the diocese at the time.  When I told him we had only been there a few months he said to me “I’m going to tell Father ____ to make the last 500 people who joined to get out and start their own (explective deleted) church and quit messing up mine.”

[8] Posted by David Keller on 7-21-2011 at 12:37 PM · [top]

Another true story: A few years ago we were members of a small, rural church, very quaint and beautiful. Discussion arose about how to make the church more welcoming to families with small children. When a proposal was made about building a small, discrete playground on church property, an older member spoke up with this jewel: “If we take any room for a playground, that would mean less parking for our funerals”.

[9] Posted by Capn Jack Sparrow on 7-21-2011 at 01:24 PM · [top]

RE: “I feel closer to God in the forest than I do in church.”

Emily Dickenson wrote: (Poem 324, I think?)

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –
I keep it, staying at Home –
With a Bobolink for a Chorister –
And an Orchard, for a Dome –

and follows this well-written stanza of dreadful ecclesiology (after noting in the second stanza that “the sermon is never long”) by concluding, in staza three, that “instead of getting to heaven” at last, it’s there that she’s “going, all along”

[10] Posted by Scruff on 7-21-2011 at 01:59 PM · [top]

True story:  I was visiting a small rural(out house, no running water) church in Montana where my friend was the pastor.  I walked in and sat down about 4 pews back from the front.  The folks in the front pew turned around and, patting the pew behind them, said, “Come sit here, they died.”  This is good Norwiegin hospitality.  I moved.
Frances S Scott

[11] Posted by Frances S Scott on 7-21-2011 at 02:20 PM · [top]

There are two books I suggest to everyone who is reading this thread.  “When Sheep Attack” and “Antagonist in the Church”

[12] Posted by Creighton+ on 7-21-2011 at 02:22 PM · [top]

Sorry, but I’ll trust the author’s theories in “When Sheep Attack” the very instant I trust Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori’s theories in whatever she writes.  Both writers are equally credible and I’m not even talking their equivalent revisionism either.

[13] Posted by Sarah on 7-21-2011 at 02:27 PM · [top]

I don’t know anything about the book or the author, but “When Sheep Attack” has to be one of the all-time great book titles.  I’ll be chuckling all afternoon about that one.

[14] Posted by Lakewood on 7-21-2011 at 02:33 PM · [top]

As an Episopal Priest, I could say this:

12. Where did all these new people come from? I want my old church back.

I would have to insert, “and where is everybody…”

[15] Posted by FrVan on 7-21-2011 at 03:08 PM · [top]

#3 - A parvenu, perhaps?  It is revealing my age that I can remember parishes with not only pew rentals but ushers wearing morning suits (this was the upper East side of Manhattan, though), and the rule the ushers imposed, which I feel quite certain would have been in place for a very long time, was that if the family whose pew it was were not seated in it 5 minutes before the service, they had no claim and the pew was available to anyone.

[16] Posted by pendennis88 on 7-21-2011 at 03:25 PM · [top]

Getting a copy of “When Sheep Attack” is worth it for the cartoon on the front cover.

I don’t know the author, but I’ve personally witnessed the kinds of events that he describes. His approach to prevention seems well-reasoned.

Another one: “We don’t usually keep our rectors more that 5 years, or so. Things get kind of stale, you know what I mean? You’ve been here - what? Four and a half years? Better start looking around for somewhere else. Nothing personal, of course.”

[17] Posted by Ralph on 7-21-2011 at 03:54 PM · [top]

Have a child whisper to the pastor on the way out that he will put money in the plate next week because his daddy said that was the poorest preacher he had ever heard.

[18] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 7-21-2011 at 04:26 PM · [top]

I’ve heard ten of the thirteen. How early does that entitle me to retire? grin

[19] Posted by David Fischler on 7-21-2011 at 04:55 PM · [top]

“6. I feel closer to God in the forest than I do in church.”

If you do not think this could be true, you have never been in a church when Thew Forrester is preaching.

As to “When Sheep Attack”- had they not, the above mentioned Thew Forrester would be a bishop, there would be no ACNA, and you all priest types would have been performing gay marriages in your parishes or have been deposed 5 years ago.

In 2 TEC dioceses in Michigan, I was not considered an attacking sheep, but a bull in a china shop. Actually, the labels used by clergy in both dioceses were much more personally offensive. Perhaps I should write a book, “When Sheep Counterattack.”

[20] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-21-2011 at 05:10 PM · [top]

Amen, TJ!!! I will buy your book…even promote it!

[21] Posted by merlenacushing on 7-21-2011 at 05:24 PM · [top]

Some clergy (including bishops) should be driven (bound, gagged and in the back of the pickup truck) into early retirement! The techniques that Maynard describes are time-honored, and there are obviously times when they’re necessary.

But, like the items listed above, I’ve seen them used against Godly clergy, too.

[22] Posted by Ralph on 7-21-2011 at 05:42 PM · [top]

#4 is very popular around here and not just in parish matters.  “But it’s always been done this way” is extremely common.  I chuckled at #10 because I was raised in and Episcopal Church where one genufected to the Blessed Sacrament but never bowed your head as the processional cross passed.  In the Episcopal Church that still has me on their mailing list they bow as the cross passes but never genuflect to the Sacrament.

[23] Posted by Nikolaus on 7-21-2011 at 06:45 PM · [top]

[24] Posted by Free Range Anglican on 7-21-2011 at 07:34 PM · [top]

Qu 15

What do you do on the other days of the week?

[25] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 7-22-2011 at 03:42 AM · [top]

I feel closer to God in the forest than I do in church.

Father, I’m an Anglo-Catholic.  I feel much closer to God when I’m in church and when certain Reformed Christians are out in the forest.

Where they belong.

And could you please direct me to a parish where every sermon isn’t better than the next one?  Thanks so much. LOL

[26] Posted by episcopalienated on 7-22-2011 at 07:25 AM · [top]

True Episcopal Story #127: When I visited an old, historical Episcopal Church decades ago, an older gentleman tugged on my shoulder and said, “Excuse me, you are sitting in our pew.” I turned around to see his family (wife, kids, grand kids) lined up behind him. Not knowing better - and being a bit taken back - I asked, “Are you serious?” He pointed out the plaque on the end of the pew which listed his family, the early founders, had sat there going back to the 1700’s. I moved to a pew at the back without a plaque. (I had this happen more than once.)

True Episcopal Story #128: We were discussing how to get new comers integrated into small groups, as I had heard they were being turned away. I called several leaders and had explanations like “we’re closed”, “we like our group just fine”, etc. We had a meeting and tried to explain the concept of small group growth by division and the need for new, experienced leaders. To make it short, I was reminded that Jesus never thought he needed to expand his small group.

[27] Posted by Festivus on 7-22-2011 at 07:56 AM · [top]

#22—I am restrained by a promise made to my wife not to comment on Maynard; but his books are FICTION.

[28] Posted by David Keller on 7-22-2011 at 08:04 AM · [top]

The Episcopal Church is now prepared to offer anger management classes as an alternative to adult Sunday School.

This won’t get newcomers in the door but it may help the rest of us to work on some of our “issues.”

But this doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten outreach entirely.  We’re also coming out with a new bumper sticker that says: “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You - Don’t You Care?” red face

[29] Posted by episcopalienated on 7-22-2011 at 08:13 AM · [top]

#27 - at least pew rentals had the effect of getting people to sit up front, if managed properly.  But I hope that this family was at least on time to claim their pew.  Actually, this is the usher’s business, and they should have kept the pew empty till 5 minutes before, and if the family was 1 minute late, a proper usher would have told you to stay and put the family somewhere else, if only to teach them a lesson about punctuality.  Of course, this was another day and age, and between the agressive Wall Street crowd and the tourists an usher had to be pretty thick-skinned.  At Easter and Christmas eve, you were practically an auxiliary policeman.

[30] Posted by pendennis88 on 7-22-2011 at 08:45 AM · [top]

26.  Episcopalianated, I too am an Anglo Catholic, and I took note of what you said in your last post about being “in the forest.”  One of the most meaningful and awe-inspiring worship experiences I have ever had happened on a beautiful Sunday morning at a campout in Redwood National Park, with sunlight streaming down through the the redwoods onto a log altar amidst several rows of log pews which were put there for the benefit of those visitors who wished to worship there.  The scenery is breathtaking, to be sure, but it reminds us in a very real way that God is truly everywhere.  We really don’t need four walls in which to worship Him, do we?

[31] Posted by cennydd13 on 7-22-2011 at 08:52 AM · [top]

I see no obvious theology in either book that I suggested above.  It deals with the understanding of conflicts in Churches.  Both are spot on in understanding conflict, especially in the Church.  Neither is the Gospel but they are tools for understanding how such prevalent and devastating this type of conflict is and the damage it does to congregations and clergy and their family.  My point is that we all suffer.

[32] Posted by Creighton+ on 7-22-2011 at 10:39 AM · [top]


We really don’t need four walls in which to worship Him, do we?

Apparently not, but I was only kidding.

Now that I’ve acquired some adorable web-footed dependents, I’m thinking about moving outdoors myself. wink

[33] Posted by episcopalienated on 7-22-2011 at 03:45 PM · [top]

To #12, above:
I read ‘When Sheep Attack’, but not the other one, which I will try to find. My problem was that the shepherd attacked the sheep, and the mission closed down as a result. that was four years ago and the sheep are still scattered. The Chief Shepherd and the other ‘under-shepherds’ in the vicinity protected the erring shepherd, and had nothing to say to the sheep.  Some of them have fallen over the cliff. I don’t know if any were eaten by wolves.

Rdr. James

[34] Posted by rdrjames on 7-22-2011 at 03:59 PM · [top]

I wouldn’t mind the forest, if it were not f
or all those trees…

[35] Posted by FrVan on 7-22-2011 at 05:08 PM · [top]

Another True Story:  Having been members of a church that was growing due to the growing community where it was located.  A matriarch who’s family went back to the founding of the town and the church was complaining about all the new people and how they were changing “Her Church” and that the new people should be sent to a new mission.  My wife and I had been members of the congregation for about 8-10 years said Miss Betty, we are some of the ‘new people’ are you going to send us to a new mission.  Miss Betty’s answer, “Oh no Dear, you do good work.”  Anybody want to guess what section of the country we reside?

[36] Posted by Carpe DCN on 7-23-2011 at 07:03 AM · [top]

New England.  Been there and done that.

[37] Posted by cennydd13 on 7-23-2011 at 03:37 PM · [top]

If I was not a Priest I would have probably laughed. Here are a couple more reasons.
14. I am going to speak with the (Bishop/Archdeacon/Rector) about your sermon. It was too long (over 10 minutes) and totally irrelevant (because it was expository).
15. The Prayer book is boring! We want a Bible-based service!

Another good book is an older book entitled ,Well Intentioned Dragons - Ministering to problem people in your church.

[38] Posted by Josh Bovis on 7-23-2011 at 10:01 PM · [top]

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