Jump directly to the Content

Facing a Faction

Avoid being ousted by a group of disgruntled members.

In a survey of nearly 600 pastors conducted by Texas Tech University, 28 percent said they have been forced out of a previous congregation due to personal attacks or criticism from a small group of members. David Briggs from the Association of Religion Data Archives describes these "factions" within congregations as "clergy killers"—"a small group of members [who] are so disruptive that no pastor is able to maintain spiritual leadership for long."

Such situations are toxic, damaging relationships, even spurring ugly lawsuits. How should a church respond?

Ken Sande, founder of Peacemaker Ministries and an Editorial Advisor for Church Law & Tax Report, says he saw a 2,500-member, nondenominational church in Tennessee flirt with a potentially disastrous force-out.

A few members began complaining about the senior pastor's sermons, saying his teaching no longer "fed them." In time, some church elders joined the chorus of complaints, ...

May/June
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Creative Tensions
Creative Tensions
Three inevitable conflicts will face every innovative leader.
From the Magazine
Charisma and Its Companions
Charisma and Its Companions
Church movements need magnetic leaders. But the best leaders need more than charm.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.
close