Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors.... pastor?

Started by Jeff-MN, May 17, 2023, 11:54:07 PM

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therevev

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on May 22, 2023, 07:35:45 PM
I believe the LCMS does calls a little differently than the ELCA. (At least they used to.) Generally, in the ELCA, there's a box on the annual report form for the bishop that a pastor can check if he is interested for a new Call. Then there's a box if the need is "urgent." Essentially, being open for a new Call comes from the pastor. Such a pastor can also request that his information form be sent to other synods.

Then there are steps in trying to match up pastors with congregations. Synods have called me asking if I was interested in a particular congregation: if I'd like a copy of their profile, and having my profile given to the congregation. I've also look at a list of vacant congregations and It varies in synods whether pastors can look at more than one congregation at a time and whether congregations can look at more than one candidate at a time.

Normally before a Call is issued, call committees interview candidates. This may include a video tape of a service and/or hearing the candidate preach. The Call Committee decides on one. They take it to the congregation. They vote. The Call is channelled through the synod office.

At least in the past (from a good LCMS clergy friend,) a pastor in the LCMS would receive a Letter of Call in the mail box, then an interview followed.

In both cases, when a new Call comes, the pastor has two calls: the present one and the new one. Then it's a discerning process.

We do not have an annual form in the LCMS which indicates our openness. We do have two pieces of paperwork that we are supposed to keep updated, but they are not updated regularly by most pastors. When a pastor updates his Personal Information Form (PIF) and his Self-Evaluation Tool (SET), that can be seen as an indication that he is interested. Updating these forms should happen every three years at least, but an out-of-schedule update becomes a clue to the district office.

Brian, most calls now are preceded by an interview, and then an on-site visit after the call documents arrive. As a circuit visitor, I have experienced some candidates that will not participate in interviews until the call documents arrive. This reticence for pre-call interviews is not common.
----
Evan
Pastor in Michigan

Charles Austin

I never understood how any congregation could issue a call to a pastor that congregational leaders had not met or interviewed. And of course, in the LCA and ELCA, the whole congregation gets to vote on whether or not to call a particular Pastor.
Iowa-born. Long-time in NY/New Jersey, former LWF staff in Geneva.
ELCA PASTOR, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. Often critical of the ELCA, but more often a defender of its mission. Ignoring the not-so-subtle rude insults which often appear here.

Chris Schelp

Quote from: Charles Austin on May 24, 2023, 10:05:45 AM
I never understood how any congregation could issue a call to a pastor that congregational leaders had not met or interviewed. And of course, in the LCA and ELCA, the whole congregation gets to vote on whether or not to call a particular Pastor.

Not attempting to be argumentative here, because I think it is certainly a good motivation, and possibly/probably a good practice today to try to place pastors in situations where they will have the best chance of succeeding...but I do think that there is also something to the idea that it might good to spend less time telling God what kind of pastor we need, and more time letting God tell us what kind of pastor we need, as it were.

Dave Benke

Quote from: Charles Austin on May 24, 2023, 10:05:45 AM
I never understood how any congregation could issue a call to a pastor that congregational leaders had not met or interviewed. And of course, in the LCA and ELCA, the whole congregation gets to vote on whether or not to call a particular Pastor.

That is the case in the Missouri Synod, and believe WELS, Charles.  Elders, Executive Committees, Church Councils, etc. all attempted to tell me that they had issued the Divine Call or at least were entitled to.  Depending on how set in their ways they were, they would push back on my giving them a definite NO.  But yes the congregation is in charge of that process.  Of course, that can be manipulated in small and bigtime ways as well.  And often the elders, say, would tell me that there was manipulation going on so they were going to do it themselves.  Still a NO.

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

Coach-Rev

The problem I see is twofold:

To "covet another pastor" is to essentially make the office into a popularity contest.

Along with that:  What drives a person to covet another pastor?  Would it be their fidelity to Scriptures and the Confessions?  Or would it be another issue?

I agree with Peter here as well:  In every congregation I've served, there have been those who hoped I'd take another call, and the sooner the better.  Right along with them are those who want me to stick around.  When my former congregation voted to leave the ELCA, the tactics of those who wanted to stop the departure were to convince the membership (largely in favor of me sticking around) that if we left the ELCA, I would have to resign and take another call (not true at all).  Once the false information was corrected, a vote that failed by 1 vote passed with 89% of the vote on a second go around.
"The problem with quotes on the internet is that you can never know if they are genuine." - Abraham Lincoln

blog:  http://coach-rev.blogspot.com/
photography:  https://jeffcottingham.smugmug.com/

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Coach-Rev on May 31, 2023, 11:09:38 AM
The problem I see is twofold:

To "covet another pastor" is to essentially make the office into a popularity contest.

Along with that:  What drives a person to covet another pastor?  Would it be their fidelity to Scriptures and the Confessions?  Or would it be another issue?

I agree with Peter here as well:  In every congregation I've served, there have been those who hoped I'd take another call, and the sooner the better.  Right along with them are those who want me to stick around.  When my former congregation voted to leave the ELCA, the tactics of those who wanted to stop the departure were to convince the membership (largely in favor of me sticking around) that if we left the ELCA, I would have to resign and take another call (not true at all).  Once the false information was corrected, a vote that failed by 1 vote passed with 89% of the vote on a second go around.

While you didn't have to leave the congregations, because you opted to leave the ELCA with them, another pastor I know campaigned against leaving, because she did not plan to leave the ELCA clergy roster. When the congregation still voted to leave, the next Sunday was her last at that congregation after, if I remember right, 13 years of serving them.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

George Rahn

" For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come."   Hebrews 13:14

and then,

" 127 Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the watchman stays awake in vain.". from Psalm 127

DCharlton

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on May 31, 2023, 02:34:11 PM
Quote from: Coach-Rev on May 31, 2023, 11:09:38 AM
The problem I see is twofold:

To "covet another pastor" is to essentially make the office into a popularity contest.

Along with that:  What drives a person to covet another pastor?  Would it be their fidelity to Scriptures and the Confessions?  Or would it be another issue?

I agree with Peter here as well:  In every congregation I've served, there have been those who hoped I'd take another call, and the sooner the better.  Right along with them are those who want me to stick around.  When my former congregation voted to leave the ELCA, the tactics of those who wanted to stop the departure were to convince the membership (largely in favor of me sticking around) that if we left the ELCA, I would have to resign and take another call (not true at all).  Once the false information was corrected, a vote that failed by 1 vote passed with 89% of the vote on a second go around.

While you didn't have to leave the congregations, because you opted to leave the ELCA with them, another pastor I know campaigned against leaving, because she did not plan to leave the ELCA clergy roster. When the congregation still voted to leave, the next Sunday was her last at that congregation after, if I remember right, 13 years of serving them.

Nevertheless, it remains true that a pastor does not have to resign and take another call if her congregation leaves the ELCA.  At least it is true if the congregation plans to join the LCMC or NALC.  (If a congregation planned to join a group like TAALC, then a female pastor would have to seek another call.)  The pastor has a choice.  Those who suggest otherwise are either misinformed, or they are engaged in gaslighting. 

I went through such a process recently, as my congregation voted to leave the ELCA for the NALC.  There were similar rumors that had to be corrected on a regular basis.  One rumor said that I would have to resign.  Not true.   Another said that I would loose my pension.  Not true.  A third said that we would have to buy a new hymnal.  Not true. 

The only thing that was uncertain was whether I intended to remain as pastor if the congregation left the ELCA.  I refused to answer when asked that question.  My understanding of current ELCA policy is that telling my congregation that I planned to leave with them if they left the ELCA would be grounds for discipline.   
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Dan Fienen

Quote from: DCharlton on May 31, 2023, 04:47:37 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on May 31, 2023, 02:34:11 PM
Quote from: Coach-Rev on May 31, 2023, 11:09:38 AM
The problem I see is twofold:

To "covet another pastor" is to essentially make the office into a popularity contest.

Along with that:  What drives a person to covet another pastor?  Would it be their fidelity to Scriptures and the Confessions?  Or would it be another issue?

I agree with Peter here as well:  In every congregation I've served, there have been those who hoped I'd take another call, and the sooner the better.  Right along with them are those who want me to stick around.  When my former congregation voted to leave the ELCA, the tactics of those who wanted to stop the departure were to convince the membership (largely in favor of me sticking around) that if we left the ELCA, I would have to resign and take another call (not true at all).  Once the false information was corrected, a vote that failed by 1 vote passed with 89% of the vote on a second go around.

While you didn't have to leave the congregations, because you opted to leave the ELCA with them, another pastor I know campaigned against leaving, because she did not plan to leave the ELCA clergy roster. When the congregation still voted to leave, the next Sunday was her last at that congregation after, if I remember right, 13 years of serving them.

Nevertheless, it remains true that a pastor does not have to resign and take another call if her congregation leaves the ELCA.  At least it is true if the congregation plans to join the LCMC or NALC.  (If a congregation planned to join a group like TAALC, then a female pastor would have to seek another call.)  The pastor has a choice.  Those who suggest otherwise are either misinformed, or they are engaged in gaslighting. 

I went through such a process recently, as my congregation voted to leave the ELCA for the NALC.  There were similar rumors that had to be corrected on a regular basis.  One rumor said that I would have to resign.  Not true.   Another said that I would loose my pension.  Not true.  A third said that we would have to buy a new hymnal.  Not true. 

The only thing that was uncertain was whether I intended to remain as pastor if the congregation left the ELCA.  I refused to answer when asked that question.  My understanding of current ELCA policy is that telling my congregation that I planned to leave with them if they left the ELCA would be grounds for discipline.
Not being ELCA, I have no idea whether or not you would have been subject to discipline if you had told the congregations your intentions if they left or not left. However, it seems to this outsider's perspective who has no skin in the game, seems to me that a congregation contemplating leaving their denominational affiliation should do so for reasons having to do with the denomination, not their loyalty or dislike for their pastor. Thus, by not telling them you intentions, and thereby influencing them because of you, you did them a service.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Brian Stoffregen

#24
Quote from: DCharlton on May 31, 2023, 04:47:37 PM
Nevertheless, it remains true that a pastor does not have to resign and take another call if her congregation leaves the ELCA.  At least it is true if the congregation plans to join the LCMC or NALC.  (If a congregation planned to join a group like TAALC, then a female pastor would have to seek another call.)  The pastor has a choice.  Those who suggest otherwise are either misinformed, or they are engaged in gaslighting. 

Depends on what the pastor is resigning from. They do not have to resign as pastor of the congregation that leaves the ELCA, but they would have to resign from the ELCA clergy roster (or they would be removed). An exception happened at a congregation I served. A few years before I came, the congregation split. About 1/3 left to form a TAALC congregation. The pastor went with them, but he retired and stayed on the ELCA roster as a retired minister. From what I can gather, that congregation has closed up. The congregation they split from has just come under synod supervision as they discern what might happen next.

QuoteI went through such a process recently, as my congregation voted to leave the ELCA for the NALC.  There were similar rumors that had to be corrected on a regular basis.  One rumor said that I would have to resign.  Not true.   Another said that I would loose my pension.  Not true.  A third said that we would have to buy a new hymnal.  Not true. 

I agree with you. All of those rumors are not true. However, there was a period of time years ago that when a pastor left the LCMS for the ALC, he lost his pension. I know such a pastor. He told me himself. It was a costly decision for him to make.

QuoteThe only thing that was uncertain was whether I intended to remain as pastor if the congregation left the ELCA.  I refused to answer when asked that question.  My understanding of current ELCA policy is that telling my congregation that I planned to leave with them if they left the ELCA would be grounds for discipline.

That's interesting. What discipline could the synod do? Removing you from the roster wouldn't stop you from serving the congregation - unless the vote kept them in the ELCA; then the synod could remove the congregation for having a non-rostered pastor.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

DCharlton

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on May 31, 2023, 05:29:07 PM
That's interesting. What discipline could the synod do? Removing you from the roster wouldn't stop you from serving the congregation - unless the vote kept them in the ELCA; then the synod could remove the congregation for having a non-rostered pastor.

I didn't think it would have been fair to but my bishop in a position where he might feel obligated to act.  And if I had been removed, the bishop would have been obligated to appoint an interim to serve until the congregation had completed all that was necessary for it to leave the ELCA.  Imagine being an interim pastor coming into a congregation in the middle of a vote to leave.  It would be awkward for all involved.  Better to follow the letter of the law as much as possible is what I recommend.
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: DCharlton on June 01, 2023, 01:38:41 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on May 31, 2023, 05:29:07 PM
That's interesting. What discipline could the synod do? Removing you from the roster wouldn't stop you from serving the congregation - unless the vote kept them in the ELCA; then the synod could remove the congregation for having a non-rostered pastor.

I didn't think it would have been fair to but my bishop in a position where he might feel obligated to act.  And if I had been removed, the bishop would have been obligated to appoint an interim to serve until the congregation had completed all that was necessary for it to leave the ELCA.  Imagine being an interim pastor coming into a congregation in the middle of a vote to leave.  It would be awkward for all involved.  Better to follow the letter of the law as much as possible is what I recommend.


I don't believe that interims are appointed by bishops. The synod can recommend people, but it is the congregation who contracts with an interim. Since the congregation pays the salary, they are the last say in the contract.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

DCharlton

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on June 01, 2023, 01:50:28 PM
Quote from: DCharlton on June 01, 2023, 01:38:41 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on May 31, 2023, 05:29:07 PM
That's interesting. What discipline could the synod do? Removing you from the roster wouldn't stop you from serving the congregation - unless the vote kept them in the ELCA; then the synod could remove the congregation for having a non-rostered pastor.

I didn't think it would have been fair to but my bishop in a position where he might feel obligated to act.  And if I had been removed, the bishop would have been obligated to appoint an interim to serve until the congregation had completed all that was necessary for it to leave the ELCA.  Imagine being an interim pastor coming into a congregation in the middle of a vote to leave.  It would be awkward for all involved.  Better to follow the letter of the law as much as possible is what I recommend.

I don't believe that interims are appointed by bishops. The synod can recommend people, but it is the congregation who contracts with an interim. Since the congregation pays the salary, they are the last say in the contract.

You may be correct.  In that case, it would be an even bigger headache for the bishop.  One more reason not to put him in that position.
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

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