When your leader won’t leave…

The impeachment of Rod Blagojevich is an interesting case for church leaders. What do you do if a former leader refuses to leave?

In Rod’s case, the facts of the matter don’t matter nearly as much as the soundbyte. Whether or not he was really selling Obama’s senate spot is unclear. But what was clear was the vote to impeach him. (And probably remove him from office.)

I’ve been around church life enough to know that most people fired from a church job feel the way Rod does. The politics shifted on them and the next thing they know they’re in a witch hunt. In all too many cases, the witch hunt is over by the time they find out they are on trial. From the 50 member country church to the 16,000 member megachurch the reality is that all of the politics in church is conducted the same way. Closed door meetings. Coffee shop decisions. Fairness and justice take a backseat to pragmatism.

Watching Rod on Good Morning America was like talking to a freshly fired youth pastor. He didn’t think the procedure was fair. He didn’t have the opportunity to call witnesses and tell them his side of the story. You can see him, wounded and fighting for life, in complete denial that there was no chance getting it all back.

Watching Rod on Good Morning America reminds me of the advice I’ve given to friends in his situation. The best thing you can do is quietly leave. Fighting is just embarassing for everyone and rubs salt in the wounds daily. Working at a church is a political position. Keep the powers that be happy and it’s a great life. Everything you do is appreciate and your family is adored. Get on the wrong side of the politics and your life will become a living hell.

It’s doubtful that Rod will get his fair trial. But I do know that, in church life, the best thing you can do is just move on with your life. Sticking around and trying to fight it out is bad for you and bad for a church. Fighting the politics in a church when the tide has turned against you will merely grind your faith on the hard rocks of others sin.

I just hope Rod figures that out soon enough.





5 responses to “When your leader won’t leave…”

  1. Mandy Avatar

    Whoopi is giving him this same advice on The View right now.

  2. Geoff Avatar

    For youth pastors who have been fired the best course of action is to leave quietly and Christlike. Any attempt to right a wrong done will likely hurt you more than help.

    What does one hope to gain by fighting to keep a position when fired? You can only end up being a bigger loser. By leaving well you can “win” even in the middle of the confusion, hurt and betrayal.

    As one who has been fired from a ministry position, I wince at the comparison with Blagojevich, yet I see the need to be challenged to leave quietly.

  3. adam mclane Avatar

    @geoff- I only think the comparison holds so much water because there are always two sides to the story. Just like in Rod’s case, he has an explanation for his actions… while I don’t think they exonerate him one bit personally… I’ve seen and heard the same types of cases made from fired youth workers. That doesn’t mean they deserve to be mistreated as they leave the ministry they’ve worked at. I merely mean that sometimes they may not think they need to be fired when… they may have.

    I only wish churches were more kind. They are typically more generous than the business world, but still pretty devastating.

  4. Kim Porter Avatar

    I agree with your advice, even though it is hard advice to except. Since we have the unpleasant experience of leaving a church before we were ready, I know the feeling of wanting to get “your side” heard. What I found, though, is that in the end, you are the only one left who is angry or hurting. The church will go on, including the “loyal” members on your “side” and eventually they will forget about what happened. If you create a scene or try to stir up trouble, in the end you are the one who is left with the bad reputation. I’m glad that we did not try to cause problems, but there are still small things that we said or did that I wish we had just left alone.

  5. earline Avatar

    I believe when someone in the Church makes a mistake or sins
    that you should try to restore them, not turn them away, the
    Bible says we have (all) sinned and come short of the glory of
    God!! Never turn them away!! God Loves them very much!!
    (Only God and his son Jesus are perfect) we Christians will
    mess up from time to time, but we need to help the fallen and
    hurting and restore them!! I believe Rod Blagojevich is really a
    good man!!

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