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Qun Mang

When should a pastor step down from pastoring?

Question

Just recently a website that was dedicated to exposing and bringing down a pastor of a particular megachurch with many church plants rose from the dead after a few years and gleefully shared news that the pastor was stepping down from his role in the church plants (he is still senior pastor of the main group of churches) for reasons that they say may not have been his own.  A friend who is, lets say really disappointed in the pastor, posted this on facebook and one of his comments was that the pastor disqualified himself some years ago and did not step down when he should have.  Having attended the church, I do know there was a big issue a few years ago about what I believe was a misunderstanding that caused the elder board to publicly discipline a few men for what they thought the men did when they partnered with this website (I do believe it was only the people who ran the website that were guilty of the issue) but I don't really know all the details.  Many people left the church when this happened, and I do know that a year later we were told that they had reconciled, and the pastor had acknowledged his own involvement in the hurt of some people (not just the ones I mentioned, but others as well) and that he had repented. 

TL;DR: This pastor hurt some people, later reconciled and repented, but some think he should have stepped down as senior pastor when this came out but didn't, and now it's a few years later and he he is still there in the same role.

Should he have stepped down in such a situation?  Please understand that nothing in this has to do with adultery and he was never accused of such (as far as I know), but this was rather about the way he ran things and (allegedly?) treated some people.  If not, what should disqualify a pastor?  Thanks.

Edited by Qun Mang
*disqualified *himself* some...
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Romans 14:4

Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

If someone sins, we are to do our best to correct the problem in love.  We cannot stand in Gods place and judge His servant.  God is just and will deal with them Himself.  Have faith that God is still at work.

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We used to have a pastor whose health became poor.  He had a series of mini strokes that clouded his judgement and changed his values.  He "borrowed" money from the church, his sermons were rambling and no longer made sense and his proof verses were not appropriate.  We were told he was having nervous break downs.  Irregardless, he needed to step down.  All his godly staff had left.  It is sad.  

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12 hours ago, Qun Mang said:

Just recently a website that was dedicated to exposing and bringing down a pastor of a particular megachurch with many church plants rose from the dead after a few years and gleefully shared news that the pastor was stepping down from his role in the church plants (he is still senior pastor of the main group of churches) for reasons that they say may not have been his own.  A friend who is, lets say really disappointed in the pastor, posted this on facebook and one of his comments was that the pastor disqualified himself some years ago and did not step down when he should have.  Having attended the church, I do know there was a big issue a few years ago about what I believe was a misunderstanding that caused the elder board to publicly discipline a few men for what they thought the men did when they partnered with this website (I do believe it was only the people who ran the website that were guilty of the issue) but I don't really know all the details.  Many people left the church when this happened, and I do know that a year later we were told that they had reconciled, and the pastor had acknowledged his own involvement in the hurt of some people (not just the ones I mentioned, but others as well) and that he had repented. 

TL;DR: This pastor hurt some people, later reconciled and repented, but some think he should have stepped down as senior pastor when this came out but didn't, and now it's a few years later and he he is still there in the same role.

Should he have stepped down in such a situation?  Please understand that nothing in this has to do with adultery and he was never accused of such (as far as I know), but this was rather about the way he ran things and (allegedly?) treated some people.  If not, what should disqualify a pastor?  Thanks.

I can't speak to the individual you're alluding to and their circumstance because it is not my church nor my business. 

Overall to the matter of the question, when should a pastor step down? I would say when it becomes obvious they have stepped away from the truth of God in Christ. As in those headlines we've read here of late wherein churches appoint trans-diagnosed persons to church offices. When the pastor approves elders, and those elders even being then qualified to be removed from office, decision to allow an openly homosexual member to assume any office of responsibility in the church. Openly demonstrating their blatant sin against God's design. While engaging in a sinful behavior God calls abomination.

Those are just two circumstances that come to mind immediately as examples. On the whole, as I said, when the pastor steps away from the truth of God in Christ. And God's word. That is when they are in my opinion no longer qualified to shepherd a church in God's name. When they've assumed Satan's guise that shall lead souls into the valley of eternal death. Rather than eternal life.

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11 hours ago, OneLight said:

Romans 14:4

Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

If someone sins, we are to do our best to correct the problem in love.  We cannot stand in Gods place and judge His servant.  God is just and will deal with them Himself.  Have faith that God is still at work.

In context that verse has more to do with social liberties with those weak in faith and not to quarrel over opinions. Obviously Paul judged a man without even being present in Corinth for sexual misconduct so "do not judge" does not mean across the board "do not judge", otherwise message boards are condemned. I think "not to quarrel over opinions" is more along the lines of the text and speaks more directly toward message boards than disputes in leadership.

Sexual sin usually follows some doctrinal slip from unrepentant idolatry from pride. To have a leader step aside for a while over doctrinal disputes can be a good thing for both the leader and the sheep. Once sexual misconduct happens being made known it's a must they step aside. "Beyond reproach" I believe is the terminology.

Restoration is in the Lords hands and the people have as much to say about that decision as the other leaders. Seems to me the problem mentioned is taking it's coarse and letting go of responsibility is many times very wise and he seems repentant. Leaders more than anything should be pointing to Jesus, these big organizations on one mans shoulders are set for big problems.  There are no one man shows, the gifts are to the body through believers, plural.

The Pastors are just one of the brethren. Maybe first among equals can be said but the emphasis is on "equals".

 

 

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46 minutes ago, Zemke said:

In context that verse has more to do with social liberties with those weak in faith and not to quarrel over opinions. Obviously Paul judged a man without even being present in Corinth for sexual misconduct so "do not judge" does not mean across the board "do not judge", otherwise message boards are condemned. I think "not to quarrel over opinions" is more along the lines of the text and speaks more directly toward message boards than disputes in leadership.

Sexual sin usually follows some doctrinal slip from unrepentant idolatry from pride. To have a leader step aside for a while over doctrinal disputes can be a good thing for both the leader and the sheep. Once sexual misconduct happens being made known it's a must they step aside. "Beyond reproach" I believe is the terminology.

Restoration is in the Lords hands and the people have as much to say about that decision as the other leaders. Seems to me the problem mentioned is taking it's coarse and letting go of responsibility is many times very wise and he seems repentant. Leaders more than anything should be pointing to Jesus, these big organizations on one mans shoulders are set for big problems.  There are no one man shows, the gifts are to the body through believers, plural.

The Pastors are just one of the brethren. Maybe first among equals can be said but the emphasis is on "equals".

Maybe I should of given a more in depth explanation.  Neither you nor I, nor anyone else unfamiliar with the situation, is qualified to judge when a pastor needs to step down.  Each church, if the administration is created properly, has a board or elders who holds the pastor accountable.  It is their job to resolve the issue.  Scripture also lists Bishops that is responsible for those under him, but that only applies with congregations who have bishops.

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13 hours ago, Willa said:

We used to have a pastor whose health became poor.  He had a series of mini strokes that clouded his judgement and changed his values.  He "borrowed" money from the church, his sermons were rambling and no longer made sense and his proof verses were not appropriate.  We were told he was having nervous break downs.  Irregardless, he needed to step down.  All his godly staff had left.  It is sad.  

:( Truly.  Where is he now? Do you know? 

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I would also like to add that a pastor stepping away due to ill health or mental, physical, emotional incapacity to serve is understandable. And a far different matter than the earlier opinion I shared. I should have clarified that in my first post. 

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2 hours ago, Anonymous Aristotle said:

:( Truly.  Where is he now? Do you know? 

He is with the Lord.

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6 hours ago, OneLight said:

Maybe I should of given a more in depth explanation.  Neither you nor I, nor anyone else unfamiliar with the situation, is qualified to judge when a pastor needs to step down. Each church, if the administration is created properly, has a board or elders who holds the pastor accountable.  It is their job to resolve the issue.  Scripture also lists Bishops that is responsible for those under him, but that only applies with congregations who have bishops.

Quote

 

Anyone unfamiliar with any situation isn't qualified to judge anything. 

Accountability works both ways, mutual accountability. Esteem the weaker among you as the most important.

We are given enough information in the OP to know it isn't sexual or doctrinal but things were said and people were hurt, there was repentance and some responsibilities taken away which is reasonable and a wise thing to do in many situations. We shouldn't burden ourselves so much we hurt or neglect others or family in the ministry. Seems to me,  with the information given, the problem is being sorted out.

But you still used a text out of context for this situation. Paul spoke of the saints judging nations, judging angels and sometimes the way we throw around "do not judge" seems to be more to shut mouths or step around situations rather than deal with justice. No one wants justice thrown at them but give me mercy, right.

A pastor that has fallen from grace, sexual or doctrinal, can continue being a part and an important part of the fellowship, but the front man, the first among equals, no way. And if he was truly repentant he wouldn't have it any other way. This also seems to be a sign in the OP that this pastor is repentant, that he is compliant with having duties reduced. That's a good thing. This is based upon the information given by the OP. And I believe along the lines of a response the OP may be looking for.

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