July 3, 2024 at 7:23 am

Senior Pastor Needlessly Blocked Them From Scheduling A Final Sermon To Become A Pastor, So They Devised A Plan To Make Sure They Got What They Needed

by Michael Levanduski

Source: Reddit/Malicious Compliance/Corey Young/Unsplash

When trying to become qualified for a new position in a job, it can be a hassle no matter what type of industry you are working in. This is even the case in churches where someone wants to get recognized as a preacher.

In this story, a preacher-in-training ran into a senior pastor who just couldn’t seem to get out of there way.

So what to do?

Check out how it all went down.

Can’t switch with one preacher? I’ll switch with the other.

For context, I am a pastor in a large denomination that takes years to become fully recognized or ordained as a clergy person.

There are several interviews with different teams to see if a person is fit to serve.

Sounds like a complicated process to me.

When this story occurred I was already past four steps and working on the last and final step to be ordained.

Part of this step required recording and submitting a sermon on one of only a set number of biblical texts, sermons using outside texts would not be accepted.

At the time I was an associate pastor in a relatively large church (almost 1,000 on a Sunday between multiple services) and I was initially hired to be one of the primary preachers.

However, the senior pastor would set the sermon series, sermon topics, and Scriptures for each Sunday. We were asked to stay on theme and on topic for any service in which we preached.

Soon after I arrived at this church the senior pastor, who had been there for many years, announced their retirement.

I can see where this is going. interim pastors, or interim managers, or interim leaders of any type often let the power go to their head.

An interim would take their place until the next long-term pastor was selected. We’ll call this interim “Pastor Richard.”

The first time I met with Pastor Richard after the former pastor’s retirement and his start, he told me that he didn’t think I had what it took to be a pastor.

He then proceeded to strip me of nearly all my pastoral responsibilities.

Prior to his arrival, I regularly preached three or four Sundays a month, was called for visits, and oversaw the sacraments.

I wonder what Pastor Richard’s problem was with OP.

After the meeting with Pastor Richard I was relegated to organizing a team of 125 volunteers, ensuring we had liturgists, ushers, greeters, and parking lot attendants.

My preaching was also cut to just once a month, at best.

And even though I was working on my paperwork for the final step toward ordination, Pastor Richard refused to schedule any of the biblical texts required for the sermon for my ordination paperwork.

To his credit, he did say that I could use whatever verses from the Bible that I wanted, so long as I stayed on theme for the sermon and series.

However, I refuse to bend Scripture to say something that it doesn’t. If a text is about forgiveness, I won’t try and proof-text it to make it fit a theme of justice.

I’m  sure this was intentional on the part of Pastor Richard.

Somehow, every time I was scheduled to preach, the theme of the sermon did not fit any of the handful of texts I was allowed to preach for my paperwork (for anyone curious, it was also a requirement that the sermon be delivered in the church you were serving at the time, meaning I couldn’t fill in for someone else in order to complete the task).

Eventually, Pastor Richard’s interim tenure was drawing to a close.

There was one Sunday between his departure and the next senior pastor’s arrival.

That Sunday was not part of a sermon series and did not have a selected theme.

It was “preacher’s choice.”

This would have been perfect, because I could get at least one sermon recorded for my paperwork to submit (usually you’d want to record all of the texts so that you could choose the best one of the group).

However, I was not scheduled as one of the preachers for any of the services.

The two scheduled preachers for Sunday were Greg and Sarah.

Greg was not a pastor and was not on track to become a pastor.

OP is going through the proper channels to get permission…for now.

So, I went to Pastor Richard and asked if I could take Greg’s place so that I could record at least one sermon for submission for ordination.

Richard told me that I could not switch with Greg and he would not allow me to take his place.

I agreed that I would not take Greg’s place and left his office.

Hey. Hey never said OP couldn’t switch with the OTHER pastor, right?

But shortly after I left Richard’s office, I went over and met with Sarah.

I knew she wanted that particular weekend off. So I offered to switch preaching assignments.

I would take the weekend I wanted and she would switch for a weekend a month down the line.

Sarah immediately agreed and I went to the person who sent out our weekly email and had the information switched.

I did not ask permission and I did not tell Richard what I had done.

The email went out on Wednesday night and on Thursday morning when Richard came in, the first thing he did was come into my office.

He demanded to know why I disobeyed his order.

I simply pointed out that he told me I couldn’t preach in Greg’s place, which I wasn’t.

Instead, I would preach in Sarah’s place.

OP is lucky that this interim pastor was leaving or he would have used this to punish them forever.

There wasn’t much he could do because the information had already been sent out to the church, so he left my office in a rage.

I preached on Sunday, using one of the required texts and used it to submit for the final step in my ordination.

Unfortunately I was not ordained that year.

It would take me another year beyond that.

But, the look on his face when he realized I had followed his order to the letter and there was nothing he could do about it still makes me chuckle years later.

It can really be frustrating when your boss refuses to help you accomplish your goals.

This was a fun story with OP following the instructions they were given to get around Pastor Richard’s obstructions.

I do wonder what OP did to Pastor Richard though. Surely he didn’t just hate OP for no reason and want to hold them back.

Of course, this is the Internet so we don’t get to hear that side of the story.

Let’s look at some comments for addition perspective.

Sad but true. All religions are made up of regular people.

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

But who gets to decide who has been called and who hasn’t? Surely not the person applying for the job.

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

That does sound like an easier system!

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

LOL – This comment is just too funny not to share!

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

Clearly there are bad bosses in every line of work.

If you liked this post, check out this story about an employee who got revenge on a co-worker who kept grading their work suspiciously low.