Sunday, November 11, 2012

Profile of an Ineffective Pastor

Ineffectiveness is a serious concern for any denomination, especially one that is suffering decline.  We felt it would be helpful to provide this profile of an ineffective pastor, taken from actual history, as an important reference point.  The person will remain anonymous in order to respect confidentiality.

Over the course of three years, church leaders received reports of the following incidents:

1.  Distributing alcoholic beverages to persons who were already intoxicated at a wedding.
2.  Insulting an immigrant woman in need of help for her family.
3.  Neglecting to promptly conduct a hospital visit until the parishioner had already died.
4.  Alienating wealthy visitors to his ministry.
5.  Consistently working on his day off.
6.  Pilfering food.
7.  Disowning his mother and brothers in front of church members.
8.  Practicing psychotherapy without a license.
9.  Exposing his co-workers to infectious disease.
10.  Private meetings with women of ill repute.
11.  Insubordination.  Consistently insulting the character of his superiors.
12.  Grandiose claims about his own self-importance.
13.  Cruelty to animals.
14.  Placing a known thief and insurgent in charge of church finances.
15.  Losing his temper and violently disrupting a local church fund raiser.
16.  Making a terroristic threat against church headquarters.
17.  Securing only one profession of faith in three years, and that person later recanted. 
18.  No baptisms.

In addition to these complaints, the pastor was moved so often that he himself claimed to have "no place to lay his head," having been asked to move from several parishes, including one in his own home town.  His last pastoral charge suffered a 99% loss of worship attendance and membership.

This pastor was brought before a committee and a hearing was conducted, yet he failed to answer or refute any of the charges brought against him.  The committee then consulted with the secular authority to verify that no employment laws would be violated and issued a verdict against him.  To ensure fairness, this verdict and sentence were placed before an assembly of his peers for a popular vote. The assembly, including many of his former parishioners and followers, unanimously upheld and ratified the verdict.


  1. I'd like to reprint this as a Perspectives article on United Methodist Insight, I'll include a link back to this original post. Please email with your reply. Thank you.