Carol pointed me to a wonderful essay in The Lutheran e-newsletter titled “How to get rid of your rotten pastor.” The author gives six steps for getting rid of your rotten pastor.
For those of you who don’t have time to read the original article, I’ll condense it for you. Here are three steps for getting rid of your rotten minister:
(1) Make sure your rotten minister has two days off every week, a day for errands and a day for spiritual reflection and renewal. This will reduce the time your rotten minister is around to annoy you. Get them out of your hair even more by giving your rotten minister sabbatical time, and raising money to send your rotten minister to continuing education events and spiritual retreats. And make sure your rotten minister has a month of vacation and a month of study leave, and that they take it all. Oh, and if an emergency comes up on a day off or during vacation or study leave, make sure they make up the time off.
(2) Take over the tasks your rotten minister does badly. Of course ministers should excel at everything: administration, preaching, youth work, pastoral care, counseling, teaching, spiritual leadership, etc. But your rotten minister is probably rotten at one or more of these tasks. Organize volunteers to take over tasks your minister is rotten at: start a pastoral care team, find more adult religious education teachers, etc. Or if your congregation has enough money, hire staff to take over tasks your minister is rotten at: get a trained Director of Religious Education, hire a qualified business manager, etc. When your rotten minister can concentrate on the few things they actually do well, this will reduce your annoyance considerably.
(3) By now, your rotten minister should have free time to fill up. Encourage your rotten minister to spend more time reading theology, more time on reflection and spiritual practice. If they do more reading, reflection, and spiritual practice, maybe you might actually get a decent sermon out of your rotten minister once in a while, and maybe they might actually turn into a real spiritual leader. And your congregation will be getting great care from the pastoral care team, top-notch administration from the business manager, and so on.
This is how you, too, can get rid of your rotten minister. If you follow these steps, your annoyance will be reduced, you’ll soon be hearing better sermons, your congregation will be thriving, and best of all you won’t have to go through the time and expense of searching for a new minister.