Maybe someone out there might give some advise on a issue we have going on at our church (Sheltering Arms, San Antonio, TX). About 8 or 9 months ago, our pastor who founded the church, resigned. We have about 100 members of a full gospel, mostly older church. The new pastor who we didn't research or get any references on (bad idea), has decided to fire the board that the members had voted in. The board tried to tell him that he couldn't fire the board, the congregation would have to. If you disagree with anything this new pastor says, he says "you have a contentious spirit". He now has appointed a new board, which is uncomfortable because most of this church has been good friends and we have known each other for years. He has tried to get the secretary's name off of the checking accout and told one of the board members to get on his hands and knees and beg HIS forgiveness. The 60 or so members that still have their brains engaged have hired a lawyer. We are concerned that he is trying his best to get his hands on the money that this small church has managed to save (sbout 140,000.) I am ready to take a hike, but the old (legal) board is trying to protect the church. Should we just let this guy take over and see what happens or fight the dude. He has hired a constable to be in our 100 member church in case someone gets out of line with him. We are suppose to have a business meeting this Sunday to vote his butt out but he said we couldn't have the meeting. We have a constitution that shows what he is doing is not in his power, but he just ignores it. What would you guys do? Ya'll seem pretty savvy on all this stuff. I have been told that I am not spiritual enough by this guy, (he is probably right). I have been praying about it. Maybe ya'll could too. My heart is broken because I have been going to this church since I was 12 years old (I am 47 now), and I hate to see what it is doing to everybody. It's really sad. Advise would be appreciated.
Realistically, you're not going to get the type of help you need from this site; no offense intended, but the site has pretty specific goals geared toward a traditional Church of Christ perspective. I happen to monitor this site, and saw your post.
It sounds as if you have a single individual who has managed to cow most of the congregation - sadly, not unheard of. But it also sounds like you still have a majority who would oppose him. This is the time for that majority to stand up and be counted.
There are some good church conflict management teams who may be of help - one works out of David Lipscomb University in Tennessee - but frankly, it sounds as if your pastor is out of control and well beyond any hope of negotiation.
In point of fact, your "constable" has no real authority. What's he going to do, shoot you? Personally, I'd hold the business meeting anyway. If you're locked out of your own building, hold it in the parking lot. If the police are called, leave quietly and continue your meeting somewhere else. Your findings should be presented publicly (but also in writing), and with all participating parties present. In other words, all 60 of you should deliver the message.
It sounds as if legal action has already begun. Normally I oppose that for many reasons, but in this case, I think you have to be prepared for that if you hold your meeting, vote him out, and he's still there anyway.
And once he has been removed, I'd strongly recommend you revisit your charter. I don't endorse this site, but I strongly believe in the leadership principles used by the Churches of Christ. This is why we have elders, who are typically chosen by a consensus of moral respect by the congregation, and the elders are where the authority should be. And at my congregation, our charter spells out the fact that the minister(s) work for the elders, not the contrary. That doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room.
God bless you. I sincerely hope things work out for your congregation. I hate to see churches either split or fail.