Church Skills: (NOT!) How to Crush the Morale of Your Pastor

Please read this. The whole thing. The humor helps, it really does. I’m only weeping a little. Here’s an excerpt to get you to read the rest:

In the past most congregations’ attempts to demoralize their ordained leadership have been haphazard and ad hoc, although still surprisingly effective. In the interest of bringing more rigorous and systematic approaches to these efforts here are some of my modest proposals:

1. Schedule a weekly meeting for your pastor to sit down with the treasurer (or, better yet, the assistant treasurer) to “go over” every business expense. Be sure to inquire if certain expenses are legitimate, such as the purchase of a Marilyn Robinson or Gail Godwin novel from the pastor’s book allowance (“Should we really be paying for your chick-lit?”) Or a long-distance call to a neighboring pastor friend from seminary. Do such expenses really profit the church? And what about this big expense for 14 volumes by this Barth guy? Do you really need all of these? And his title sounds so, well, dogmatic!


3 thoughts on “Church Skills: (NOT!) How to Crush the Morale of Your Pastor

  1. Hi, Sean. I read this with a recent “Beauty Tips” post still echoing in my mind.

    It was a helpful reminder that clergy can get too jaded and defensive about the congregations they serve.

    So I wondered–what would a post look like that turns the mirror around? What would a list look like of how to crush the morale of a congregation? How to destroy a congregation’s trust in their minister?

  2. II’m still trying to understand my own experiences after having to resign from the congregation I served for 11 years – where I went wrong, where I acquiesed to the cirticsm, and when I wasn’t understanding and flexible enough. It’s very hard to find that area between self-assertion, integrity, and stubbornness. I wish I’d been a better and braver listener, and yet I also wish that I’d explained my decisions better. I’m not saying it would have changed everything, but I do at least have to acknowledge my own weaknesses. That said, I can attest that the tendency to scapegoat the minister is definitely alive and at home in our congregations. It can be endured, but not always survived.
    Alison Hyder

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