Church Ethics for Former Pastors

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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:44 pm

William Thornton wrote:
Not saying that. Reference to the system of itinerant pastorates we employ. My former church has a pastor. He's the only pastor. As an aside, I never bought the labels of children's pastor, student pastor, etc.


I agree with you William. It is better to limit the term "pastor" to ordained clergy who lead the church and not programmatic leadership. It just adds to the confusion as to the identity of the pastor. Pastor is a scriptural office, the others aren't.

Methodists openly call ourselves "itinerant" but really most all pastors are as well. Most churches change pastors in some predictable pattern. Leaving well is a gift to one's former church.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Sandy » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:39 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:
William Thornton wrote:
Not saying that. Reference to the system of itinerant pastorates we employ. My former church has a pastor. He's the only pastor. As an aside, I never bought the labels of children's pastor, student pastor, etc.


I agree with you William. It is better to limit the term "pastor" to ordained clergy who lead the church and not programmatic leadership. It just adds to the confusion as to the identity of the pastor. Pastor is a scriptural office, the others aren't.

Methodists openly call ourselves "itinerant" but really most all pastors are as well. Most churches change pastors in some predictable pattern. Leaving well is a gift to one's former church.


Years ago, we refered to various individuals serving in vocational ministry with oversight over church programming as the "Minister of Education and Discipleship," or the "Minister of Music," and the "Minister of Youth." The change to "youth pastor" or "discipleship pastor" or "worship pastor" was kind of subtle. Use of the term "minister" was connected to the belief that all members of the church are "ministers" in some way, a much different term and role than that of "pastor," which is identified in the NT. I remember discussions in seminary about whether those of us who had those roles were more like "deacons" in that they were serving the church, or more like the Baptist way of designating "elders" since most churches didn't formally have them.

A lot of church members these days are also "itinerant." Pastors are judged by parishioners based on the entertainment value of worship, the "quality" and style of their preaching, and the length of the sermon, the behavior of their children, the way their wives dress, the kind of car they drive. And they get compared to all of their predecessors. In the minds of some church members, they're never as good as one of their predecessors. They need to have a chance at being the pastor, and the previous pastor can help with that by stepping away.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Tim Bonney » Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:36 am

Sandy wrote:Years ago, we refered to various individuals serving in vocational ministry with oversight over church programming as the "Minister of Education and Discipleship," or the "Minister of Music," and the "Minister of Youth." The change to "youth pastor" or "discipleship pastor" or "worship pastor" was kind of subtle. Use of the term "minister" was connected to the belief that all members of the church are "ministers" in some way, a much different term and role than that of "pastor," which is identified in the NT. I remember discussions in seminary about whether those of us who had those roles were more like "deacons" in that they were serving the church, or more like the Baptist way of designating "elders" since most churches didn't formally have them.


There is a distinct difference between the term “minister” and “pastor” for Methodists. Only persons under appointed by the Bishop can use the term “pastor” to describe their role. Minister can be applied to a hired programmatic position like “Minister of Music” but we tend to use the term “director” as in Youth Director, Music Director, etc. more often than not.

Maybe because of that, I see less and less use of the term “Rev.” to describe pastors in my Church. More often people are referred to as as Pastor. My business card says “Pastor Tim Bonney” rather than “Rev. Tim Bonney.” Rev. feels overly formal to me.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Rvaughn » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:01 am

William Thornton wrote:I hit the wrong button, sorry. Fixed it.
Thanks, William. I was bumfuzzled. I don't know a lot of things, but I knew I didn't type that in there and didn't know where it came from. :o
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Rvaughn » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:04 am

Intriguing thoughts on ecclesiology and pastoral ethics not addressed much in the New Testament. Thanks for sharing. Sorry that question probably strayed the thread away from Dave's original intent. (Though I'm still hoping Jon will also answer.)
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Tim Bonney » Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:53 pm

Rvaughn wrote:Intriguing thoughts on ecclesiology and pastoral ethics not addressed much in the New Testament. Thanks for sharing. Sorry that question probably strayed the thread away from Dave's original intent. (Though I'm still hoping Jon will also answer.)


They are important issues however each church/denomination chooses to handle it.

One of the hard things about being a pastor is knowing when to move on. And then, after moving on, not looking over your shoulder while you are plowing in a new field.

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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Sandy » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:54 pm

They are important issues, and they exist within a denominational context. The Methodists seem to do a pretty good job with not assigning their pastors to churches down the street from the one they just finished serving. I don't know if that's done on purpose, or it just happens. Some Presbyterian denominations seem to be big on "transitional" pastorates. One of our school parents has been at his current church here for five years during which his wife, also an ordained pastor, served three different congregations as a transitional pastor for a year at a time. Now they're both going to a church in New England to a transitional pastorate before their next permanent assignment.

My current congregation has three former "pastors" among its membership, and just selected another individual, also a member of the congregation, to serve for the upcoming year. We do not have a formal "ordination" or designation as "clergy" though the individuals who are selected are subject to requirements by the congregation, including a level of theological education, and commitment to participation in quarterly ministers training weeks. The pastor is elected annually, though the same person can be elected as many times as they are agreeable, and the congregation is willing. But these individuals are selected from within the congregation, not from circulating resumes or by appointment of a district board. Our only paid staff member is the custodian. The last individual who served in this capacity (technically, "Overseer") did so for about 20 years. From what I can tell, since it is voluntary and they work at other careers, they share the funeral duties, depending on who is available, and decide between them which one officiates.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Haruo » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:55 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:...I see less and less use of the term “Rev.” to describe pastors in my Church. More often people are referred to as as Pastor. My business card says “Pastor Tim Bonney” rather than “Rev. Tim Bonney.” Rev. feels overly formal to me.

To me Reverend sounds not only formal but holier-than-thou. Perhaps this is in part because I've spoken Esperanto for nearly 50 years, and in Esperanto the suffix -end- means "to be ...ed"/"that must be ...ed". I have never been one to believe that pastors are any more deserving of my reverence than any of my other siblungen in Christ. So on some level it has the same kind of negative connotation as "Your honor", "His Excellency", "Her Majesty" or "His Holiness"; I may use all of these terms on occasion, but when I do there's always a little skin tag in my brain that gets tugged on, reminding me that I don't really mean it.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Tim Bonney » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:34 pm

Sandy wrote:My current congregation has three former "pastors" among its membership, and just selected another individual, also a member of the congregation, to serve for the upcoming year. We do not have a formal "ordination" or designation as "clergy" though the individuals who are selected are subject to requirements by the congregation, including a level of theological education, and commitment to participation in quarterly ministers training weeks. The pastor is elected annually, though the same person can be elected as many times as they are agreeable, and the congregation is willing. But these individuals are selected from within the congregation, not from circulating resumes or by appointment of a district board. Our only paid staff member is the custodian. The last individual who served in this capacity (technically, "Overseer") did so for about 20 years. From what I can tell, since it is voluntary and they work at other careers, they share the funeral duties, depending on who is available, and decide between them which one officiates.


It depends on the appointment needs. But it is unusual to be re-appointed down the street from where you were unless the situation is really unusual.

Your church sounds like it has an interesting polity. I’ve been thinking for years that down the road all our denominations are going to have to return to a more lay driven system. We have a shortage of clergy in Iowa. So we are utilizing a lot more “Licensed” pastors who receive some basic training but not seminary and then pastor small rural church who can’t afford the seminary trained person. The days of full time pastoring for many churches may be a thing of the past.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Tim Bonney » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:38 pm

Haruo wrote:To me Reverend sounds not only formal but holier-than-thou. Perhaps this is in part because I've spoken Esperanto for nearly 50 years, and in Esperanto the suffix -end- means "to be ...ed"/"that must be ...ed". I have never been one to believe that pastors are any more deserving of my reverence than any of my other siblungen in Christ. So on some level it has the same kind of negative connotation as "Your honor", "His Excellency", "Her Majesty" or "His Holiness"; I may use all of these terms on occasion, but when I do there's always a little skin tag in my brain that gets tugged on, reminding me that I don't really mean it.


Agreed! I see a growing informality even in Episcopal structured denominations. I go by “Pastor Tim” or Tim and our new Bishop has instructed us to feel comfortable to call her Bishop Laurie rather than Bishop Haller. I see that as positive. (The UMC doesn’t use titles like Right Reverend for Bishops the way some denominations do.)
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Sandy » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:56 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:
Sandy wrote:My current congregation has three former "pastors" among its membership, and just selected another individual, also a member of the congregation, to serve for the upcoming year. We do not have a formal "ordination" or designation as "clergy" though the individuals who are selected are subject to requirements by the congregation, including a level of theological education, and commitment to participation in quarterly ministers training weeks. The pastor is elected annually, though the same person can be elected as many times as they are agreeable, and the congregation is willing. But these individuals are selected from within the congregation, not from circulating resumes or by appointment of a district board. Our only paid staff member is the custodian. The last individual who served in this capacity (technically, "Overseer") did so for about 20 years. From what I can tell, since it is voluntary and they work at other careers, they share the funeral duties, depending on who is available, and decide between them which one officiates.


It depends on the appointment needs. But it is unusual to be re-appointed down the street from where you were unless the situation is really unusual.

Your church sounds like it has an interesting polity. I’ve been thinking for years that down the road all our denominations are going to have to return to a more lay driven system. We have a shortage of clergy in Iowa. So we are utilizing a lot more “Licensed” pastors who receive some basic training but not seminary and then pastor small rural church who can’t afford the seminary trained person. The days of full time pastoring for many churches may be a thing of the past.


It is Society of Friends, and belongs to a yearly meeting. Par for the course. I'm still kind of feeling my way around church and denominational polity. It's an interesting combination of independence and autonomy, connectionalism, historical practice, tradition and congregations where over half the membership has no experience or background in the denomination.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:29 pm

Sandy wrote:It is Society of Friends, and belongs to a yearly meeting. Par for the course. I'm still kind of feeling my way around church and denominational polity. It's an interesting combination of independence and autonomy, connectionalism, historical practice, tradition and congregations where over half the membership has no experience or background in the denomination.


I some how missed that you are now attending a Friends Church. I’ve only had occasional exposure to Quaker churches. There are not many in Iowa. We do have a Friends Church here in Indianola. I don’t know if they are programmed or I programmed. But a leader in the congregation attends our minister’s association meetings.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Sandy » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:55 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:
Sandy wrote:It is Society of Friends, and belongs to a yearly meeting. Par for the course. I'm still kind of feeling my way around church and denominational polity. It's an interesting combination of independence and autonomy, connectionalism, historical practice, tradition and congregations where over half the membership has no experience or background in the denomination.


I some how missed that you are now attending a Friends Church. I’ve only had occasional exposer to Quaker churches. There are not many in Iowa. We do have a Friends Church here in Indianola. I don’t know if they are programmed or I programmed. But a leader in the congregation attends our minister’s association meetings.


I've been going for about 18 months regularly. It is an unprogrammed meeting, though the long gaps of silence that I imagined when I started going never really materialize, and the service usually doesn't wind down within the scheduled hour. It took no time at all to get acquainted and feel like we were part of the congregation. There aren't many Quakers around here, either, I think this is the only congregation, other than one in the city of Pittsburgh, in about a 70 mile radius. In many ways, it is similar to Baptists, while in other ways, vastly different. There is certainly a different approach to worship, in a service where phrases like "waiting on the Spirit to move" and "paying attention so that you can hear God when he speaks" have a literal meaning.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Jon Estes » Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:34 am

Sandy wrote:
Tim Bonney wrote:
Sandy wrote:It is Society of Friends, and belongs to a yearly meeting. Par for the course. I'm still kind of feeling my way around church and denominational polity. It's an interesting combination of independence and autonomy, connectionalism, historical practice, tradition and congregations where over half the membership has no experience or background in the denomination.


I some how missed that you are now attending a Friends Church. I’ve only had occasional exposer to Quaker churches. There are not many in Iowa. We do have a Friends Church here in Indianola. I don’t know if they are programmed or I programmed. But a leader in the congregation attends our minister’s association meetings.


I've been going for about 18 months regularly. It is an unprogrammed meeting, though the long gaps of silence that I imagined when I started going never really materialize, and the service usually doesn't wind down within the scheduled hour. It took no time at all to get acquainted and feel like we were part of the congregation. There aren't many Quakers around here, either, I think this is the only congregation, other than one in the city of Pittsburgh, in about a 70 mile radius. In many ways, it is similar to Baptists, while in other ways, vastly different. There is certainly a different approach to worship, in a service where phrases like "waiting on the Spirit to move" and "paying attention so that you can hear God when he speaks" have a literal meaning.


The Friends have two identities - one more conservative than the other and the leftward leaning one is a welcoming and affirming group... is that correct? I'm not making an argument just stating things as I understand them.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Sandy » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:46 am

Jon Estes wrote:
The Friends have two identities - one more conservative than the other and the leftward leaning one is a welcoming and affirming group... is that correct? I'm not making an argument just stating things as I understand them.


I'm not familiar with all of the aspects of the Society of Friends at this point, though I have learned a lot in 18 months. They do not fit easily into the labels that Evangelicals typically use to describe theological, doctrinal and political positioning. There are dozens of "meetings" which are groups of congregations, none of which are connected to each other and more related to geography or historical tradition than anything else. Some congregations belong to several meetings, others don't belong to one. Quakers would emphatically resist any attempt to define them, either individually or collectively, as "conservative," or "leftward leaning." If you are a human being, you are a creation of God, in his image, equal in value and connected to all other humans. They commonly use the phrase "that of God within" to describe being created in his image. As a result of this belief, a core Quaker value is community, and there is no requirement for acceptance or inclusion in the community. All Quakers, or at least those I've met and associate with, are unconditionally welcoming. The values that they discern from scripture, which are at the core of their faith, are simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship. What Quakers would affirm is growth and maturity in all of these values in each individual, and they would affirm that each individual stands before God who is their only judge, and to whom they are accountable, and (another common phrase they use) "works out their own salvation with fear and trembling".

It is my understanding that Quakers run the whole spectrum of what we identify with terms like "conservative, moderate and liberal." Most conservative Evangelicals would view the whole group as "liberal," because these perspectives don't divide them up and separate them like they do other Christians. Since there is a strong belief in equality of all before God, and that God is the only judge of right and wrong, the divergence of views that exist among Quakers are secondary and tertiary to those core values. Most Quakers accept that what we would call a "salvation experience," or the affirmation of Christ as savior and acknowledgement of his lordship are marks of a level of spiritual maturity and discernment that are required for congregational leadership. There would be differences of opinion over whether or not sexual orientation and gender identity (which is what I am guessing you mean by "welcoming and affirming") are marks or signs of the depth of a person's walk with Christ. From what I understand, there are some groups of Friends in which one view might be more prevalent than another, but like most Baptists, it is likely that a single congregation can have members which hold vastly divergent perspectives on that subject, and on many more. The value of community includes a strong belief that everyone has a common, and equal struggle with sin, and there is a communal responsibility to be there for everyone, and instead of judging and condeming, be loving and supportive and benefit from the blessings of everyone else who have grown and matured in their faith.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:53 pm

Sandy, from what little I know about the Friends churches, that was a very helpful description.

When people are approaching theology from such a different angle, it really is hard to place them in our spectrum. The Friends may be one of the most diverse groups out there.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Sandy » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:16 pm

Timothy, you will appreciate this. I was taking a continuing ed course a few summers back offered by American University in Washington, but which used a classroom on the campus of Wesley Seminary next door (I believe both schools are affiliated with the UMC). They have a Cokesbury book store on campus, and a book title caught my eye, "If the Church Were Christian," by Phillip Gulley who is a Quaker minister in Indiana. I read the book, which of course, reflected the author's Quaker faith and interpretations in addressing the issues related to the title, and were right on target from a Biblical perspective. My wife and I were struggling with our role in our local church at the time, and were open to considering different options. I was talking with one of our school board members about this and he invited us to visit his Friends church, which only met on Sunday evening. On that Sunday morning, we went to a church called Crossfire, where one of my wife's first grade student's families attended, a very high energy, very much contemporary aimed at millenials that was United Methodist. We went to the Friends church that evening, and have been there ever since. Gulley's book helped and I guess, in an indirect way, the Methodists are responsible for us winding up in a Friends congregation.

The whole "church culture" of Quakers is different. It would take several pages just to describe the effect of the value of "Simplicity" and its implications for the church. Of course, we initially looked at the experience the same way we would if we were just visiting churches to find one, and the differences led to a conclusion not to go back. But there were things that resonated with both of us, and my wife picked up and read Gulley's book, and we were back. For her, it has been more about how inclusive and open the congregation has been, for me, it's about the core values. It will take a long time to get used to the differences, and develop the convictions, but in this congregation, that doesn't matter, and about half the members there came from other backgrounds and are still in the process of adapting, learning and practicing the values.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:50 pm

Sandy wrote:It will take a long time to get used to the differences, and develop the convictions, but in this congregation, that doesn't matter, and about half the members there came from other backgrounds and are still in the process of adapting, learning and practicing the values.


Interesting story! And Gulley's books are pretty popular with some Methodists.

One of the things I figured out was that my move to a Methodist denomination was a significantly different move in "church culture" than my SBC to ABC move. Both SBC and ABC are Baptists and, while there are plenty of difference, the Baptist way of being church is present in both. It took me some time to get the feel of Methodism beyond just what you can read about it or learn about it in a class. It is still church. In a lot of ways all churches are quite similar. But some things are definitely qualitatively different.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Jon Estes » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:12 am

Sandy wrote:
Jon Estes wrote:
The Friends have two identities - one more conservative than the other and the leftward leaning one is a welcoming and affirming group... is that correct? I'm not making an argument just stating things as I understand them.


I'm not familiar with all of the aspects of the Society of Friends at this point, though I have learned a lot in 18 months. They do not fit easily into the labels that Evangelicals typically use to describe theological, doctrinal and political positioning. There are dozens of "meetings" which are groups of congregations, none of which are connected to each other and more related to geography or historical tradition than anything else. Some congregations belong to several meetings, others don't belong to one. Quakers would emphatically resist any attempt to define them, either individually or collectively, as "conservative," or "leftward leaning." If you are a human being, you are a creation of God, in his image, equal in value and connected to all other humans. They commonly use the phrase "that of God within" to describe being created in his image. As a result of this belief, a core Quaker value is community, and there is no requirement for acceptance or inclusion in the community. All Quakers, or at least those I've met and associate with, are unconditionally welcoming. The values that they discern from scripture, which are at the core of their faith, are simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship. What Quakers would affirm is growth and maturity in all of these values in each individual, and they would affirm that each individual stands before God who is their only judge, and to whom they are accountable, and (another common phrase they use) "works out their own salvation with fear and trembling".

It is my understanding that Quakers run the whole spectrum of what we identify with terms like "conservative, moderate and liberal." Most conservative Evangelicals would view the whole group as "liberal," because these perspectives don't divide them up and separate them like they do other Christians. Since there is a strong belief in equality of all before God, and that God is the only judge of right and wrong, the divergence of views that exist among Quakers are secondary and tertiary to those core values. Most Quakers accept that what we would call a "salvation experience," or the affirmation of Christ as savior and acknowledgement of his lordship are marks of a level of spiritual maturity and discernment that are required for congregational leadership. There would be differences of opinion over whether or not sexual orientation and gender identity (which is what I am guessing you mean by "welcoming and affirming") are marks or signs of the depth of a person's walk with Christ. From what I understand, there are some groups of Friends in which one view might be more prevalent than another, but like most Baptists, it is likely that a single congregation can have members which hold vastly divergent perspectives on that subject, and on many more. The value of community includes a strong belief that everyone has a common, and equal struggle with sin, and there is a communal responsibility to be there for everyone, and instead of judging and condeming, be loving and supportive and benefit from the blessings of everyone else who have grown and matured in their faith.


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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Chris » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:16 pm

If I were to die tomorrow, I would want (to conduct my funeral) a minister who knew me very well, and would be best equipped to speak about my life. The person I have in mind was never my pastor, but was once my Sunday School teacher. He has pastored several churches, but I was not a member of any of them.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Haruo » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:37 pm

I think the wishes of the deceased ought to trump the other considerations so far mentioned, except that perhaps the funeral service should in such a case not be held in the church in question, at least if the current pastor has any objections.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby William Thornton » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:40 pm

Chris wrote:If I were to die tomorrow, I would want (to conduct my funeral) a minister who knew me very well, and would be best equipped to speak about my life. The person I have in mind was never my pastor, but was once my Sunday School teacher. He has pastored several churches, but I was not a member of any of them.


This is a common situation that most of us have faced many times. There's no manual that covers all the possibilities.

1. Few funerals are held in churches around here. Almost all in the funeral home chapel or at the graveside.
2. If in a church, the pastor should preside. The family can request that a favored minister assist. Wise pastors know how to handle this scripted dance.
3. If I'm asked to do a funeral for a person who has a pastor, I always say that I'll be happy to assist the person's pastor.
4. If the family wants to cut out the pastor and asked me to do the service I'll decline unless there are extenuating circumstances.
5. If a member of my church died and wanted someone else to do the service, fine. Just let me know clearly what is expected and desired. I'm not fighting with a grieving family.
6. If I were Chris' pastor and he expressed his wish to have his friend take part in the service, no big deal. We do this all the time.

Frankly, funeral etiquette and ethics are all shot to Gehenna these days.
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:09 pm

William Thornton wrote:
Chris wrote:If I were to die tomorrow, I would want (to conduct my funeral) a minister who knew me very well, and would be best equipped to speak about my life. The person I have in mind was never my pastor, but was once my Sunday School teacher. He has pastored several churches, but I was not a member of any of them.


This is a common situation that most of us have faced many times. There's no manual that covers all the possibilities.

1. Few funerals are held in churches around here. Almost all in the funeral home chapel or at the graveside.
2. If in a church, the pastor should preside. The family can request that a favored minister assist. Wise pastors know how to handle this scripted dance.
3. If I'm asked to do a funeral for a person who has a pastor, I always say that I'll be happy to assist the person's pastor.
4. If the family wants to cut out the pastor and asked me to do the service I'll decline unless there are extenuating circumstances.
5. If a member of my church died and wanted someone else to do the service, fine. Just let me know clearly what is expected and desired. I'm not fighting with a grieving family.
6. If I were Chris' pastor and he expressed his wish to have his friend take part in the service, no big deal. We do this all the time.

Frankly, funeral etiquette and ethics are all shot to Gehenna these days.


William, I have to agree with you wholeheartedly. I am often grateful for the assistance of a former minister who may have known someone in his or her prime while I only knew them in the declining times when health had robbed them of many of their abilities.
"God will never be less than He is and does not need to be more" (John Koessler)

My blog: http://emporiadave.wordpress.com/
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Re: Church Ethics for Former Pastors

Postby Rvaughn » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:28 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:I am often grateful for the assistance of a former minister who may have known someone in his or her prime while I only knew them in the declining times when health had robbed them of many of their abilities.
I agree, and would have also been grateful for assistance on the times when the deceased knew no preachers and I happened to be the only preacher that someone in the family knew -- and for whatever reason thought there should be a preacher conducting the service.
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