Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Pastor gets a divorce, now what?

A few months ago, I brought up a discussion on what should happen if a pastor is in the midst of a divorce. The situation is presented as if there is no infidelity or abandonment on the pastor's part. In my discussion, I mostly placed the question in the lap of the pastor. He needs to ask himself if he can pastor effectively in that church or any other church. And to ask himself how was he part of the problem. No matter what, these questions need to be addressed.

I received a response that I thought had a very good point. Not only does the pastor need to evaluate himself, but in that same line the congregation as a whole needs to evaluate themselves. Did they have a part to play in this? Here is the response:

"An interesting dilemma. How does the church work? The whole congregation should be asking themselves… "Did I contribute to the breakdown of pastors marriage?" Did I call him at all hours of the day and night with emergency phone calls or visits that could have waited for normal business hours? Did I interrupt Pastor’s family dinner hour? Did the church work him sixty and eighty hours a week. Hey! Did I invite and include the Pastor’s family in the life of my family. Did I make them feel welcome? Or did I gossip about them? Did I fail to include Pastor’s wife – did I treat her as an outsider. Did I leave her feeling like she neither belonged nor was welcome? ?" Did I help? Or did I hurt?. At best, with all parties trying as hard as is imaginable… there are remarkable stresses placed upon the pastor and his family. Congregations need to remember that fact.Despite the stresses, God calls the Pastor to serve God and a local congregation. God does not make mistakes. People do. We are all broken in one way or another at one time or another. Christ Jesus is the great healer."

I am grateful for the congregation I serve that respects our family time and treats my family with great regard. However, that is not always the case. This is a good discussion for us in the church to encourage our churches to love their pastors and families and do whatever they can to help their marriages. Any thoughts?

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