Guest / Limited Access /
Should Pastors Be Guaranteed Job Security?
Should Pastors Be Guaranteed Job Security?

The General Conference of the United Methodist Church voted in May to stop guaranteeing continuous appointments to ordained clergy. Supporters say the move will allow churches to more easily remove ineffective clergy; opponents argue the practice protects clergy members.

"A lengthy renewable contract makes some sense, and I can envision a scenario where it might endow a pastor with necessary authority, time, and freedom. But accountability always needs to be in place. Few things are more dangerous in a pulpit than a lack of it."

"A church covenant specifying responsibilities of a pastor to a congregation and vice versa—including a biblical process to address grievances—would be appropriate and helpful. I would not support some legal arrangement that spelled out guaranteed terms of office."

"It's a really good idea for pastors to be at their churches for as long as they possibly can. There's a biblical idea that a long-term relationship is ideal. But I don't think the church has to guarantee that an elder or pastor will remain in residence."

"Clearly the congregation needs to be able to get to know its pastor, but setting a specific time limit is like a fixed-term presidency: It could impact the way the pastor behaves just to massage his popularity numbers when the key vote comes down in three or four years' time."

"Clergy should have assessments, but the commitment between a pastor and a church should be more covenantal than contractual. For there to be a covenantal bond, there also needs to be an unconditional commitment between them—one not linked to time limits."

"Pastors have to be willing to lead a precarious existence. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueThe Hymns That Haunt Us
Subscriber Access Only The Hymns That Haunt Us
A newborn atheist just can't get the church's music out of her head.
RecommendedCover Story: Inside the Popular, Controversial Bethel Church
Subscriber Access Only Cover Story: Inside the Popular, Controversial Bethel Church
Some visitors claim to be healed. Others claim to receive direct words from God. Is it 'real'--or dangerous?
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickA Tale of Two Calvary Chapels: Behind the Movement’s Split
A Tale of Two Calvary Chapels: Behind the Movement’s Split
Chuck Smith’s successor says he is expanding founder’s vision. Other leaders say he’s diluting it.
Christianity Today
Should Pastors Be Guaranteed Job Security?
hide thisJuly/August July/August

In the Magazine

July/August 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.