A Ready Recollection

The Mind Numbing Ponderings Of A Pulpit Preacher

When the Preacher is Fired…

Editorial by Jimmy Bagwell

I have often wondered if members actually consider the loss that a preacher suffers when they have been… how shall I say it…”relieved of their position“. The following article by Michael Whitworth answers a few of those questions.

Preachers are fired for various reasons; some good, some bad. Michael does not dwell on the reasons though. He made it clear that such was not the purpose of the article. I, however, will not hesitate to put in my two cents. (adjusted for inflation of course)

Based on observations, conversations, and personal experience many preachers, more often than not, are not presented with the reasons for their termination other that the convenient  “we just believe it’s time for a change” or “things are just not working out’. Dear brethren, if the decision has been made to fire your preacher please have the dignity to tell him WHY.

If’s it’s something he has done (or not done) tell him so he can correct it in the future. If it’s a doctrinal issue, tell him so he can reexamine himself. If your just ticked off at him, tell him at least he’ll know. Few things are worse than a preacher wondering WHY?

But I digress. Here’s a wonderful article by Michael Whitworth.

When the Preacher is Fired…
by Michael Whitworth

Something has been on my heart for quite a while, but I hesitated blogging about it for fear that some would allege that I am biased (Yes, I am) or that I speak out of malice (No, I don’t). Recently, I learned of a preacher friend who was fired from his position. Only God knows the entire situation, and though I don’t think he was terminated for legitimate reasons, those reasons are immaterial to this post.

The news brought to the surface a volatile sea of toxic emotions, for I too have been fired from preaching positions. Twice. It is not my intention here to speak ill of those incidents, but I want to address the general theme of firing a minister. God knows that I have hesitated to say anything on this subject, but I simply can’t hold it in any longer. In my experience, church members are often torn between their affection for the preacher vs. their spiritual obligation to obey the elders, and thus do not know how to respond appropriately. For better or worse, I believe a preacher being fired is wholly different from someone else being terminated.
When a preachers loses his job, he loses his…

Church Family
Growing up, since dad preached, we never lived near physical family members, so the church became my family. Now that I’m an adult, when I move into a new community, my local brethren become like family to me very quickly. (e.g. births, promotions, celebrations, healing), while also the pain of life (e.g., illness, economic hardship, death). I am often in the homes of my church family, and they in mine.

When a preachers loses his job, he loses his church family. Some elders (wrongly, in my opinion) insist that members have no contact with the terminated minister. When some other member would lose their job, as devastating as it is, they still have the ability to lean on their church family and share their hardship (and let’s be honest, unemployment is a traumatic thing for everyone). They can go to their church family and ask for prayers, encouragement, and other help. If loss of employment begins to affect their personal finances, that members can go to the elders and ask for assistance until they get back on their feet.

When a preacher is fired, he loses such a wonderful support system since he loses his church family. Can he go to the elders, men who just fired him, and ask for financial assistance if things become tough? A preacher often is geographically isolated from his blood family, who can offer only a little comfort if separated by long distances. What Sara and I found most disorienting is that we found it difficult to locate a new place to worship. And since we did not know how much longer we would be in the area, it was hard to establish relationships with people since we thought we’d be moving in the near future. To borrow Paul’s metaphor of the church as a body, we felt like a finger, hand, or foot that had been severed and cast aside to whither.

As crazy as it sounds, I wish there was a church somewhere that ministered to preachers in between pulpits, a church that could be their surrogate family until they were reestablished in local work. Were it not for my belief in the communion of the saints and the universal nature of the church, I might have left the church altogether and sought help and hope elsewhere. The church has given me a lot of reasons to walk away from my faith…

But Jesus has given me many more reasons to stay.

Home
Sara and I have been married 5 years as of April 24th, but we have moved 5 times in our marriage and been a part of four different congregations in those years. I realize that home is where the heart is, that it need not be tied to an actual house. But I don’t think I’m too far off base to say it is a traumatic thing to lose your house/home. When I was fired in Houston, it cut us deeper than we expected to face the reality that we would be forced to move and give up our house, a home we had built and planned to raise our family in. I had allowed Sara to decorate and make it her “nest” as we drew closer to starting our family.
When a preacher loses his job, unless he is willing to leave ministry, he almost always is forced to move. This means a new home, a new town, new schools, new relationships. Like ball coaches and military, a preacher has virtually no hope of raising his children in one place. As I get older, I begin to realize the terrible consequences of not having roots in a place. It’s never easy, but moving around is certainly easier when your single or newly married vs. when raising kids.
When someone loses their job, it is not as often that they are forced to move in order to be employed again. Again, it is often the case that s/he can remain in the same town, at the same church, and in the same schools. They perhaps might have a longer commute or other hassles, but moving isn’t always necessary. For a preacher, it almost always is. There is a terrible toll taken particularly on preachers’ kids who have to move around a lot, and the church could do a better job of showing those kids some grace.
* * * * *
To any preachers reading this who may have been fired, let me say I’m so sorry. I’ve been there. It stinks. God loves you, and your ministry is never over until He says so. Do not seek vengeance, or to inflict harm on Jesus’ bride. Jesus himself will return one day and take vengeance on those who have caused problems for you. Meanwhile, know that when you lose your job, God and your fellow preaching brothers know you’ve lost much much more than that.

To church members whose preacher has just been fired… Where do I begin? Your (former) preacher needs expressions of love and support. You don’t have to choose sides, and if he’s the man of God he’s supposed to be, that preacher won’t expect you to pick sides. But shame on any Christian elder-ship that considers expressions of love to be “picking sides” or a threat to the “unity of the body.” Both times I was fired, Sara and I quickly figured out who our true friends were. Some dropped us completely and we never heard from them. Others, who we thought weren’t too happy with us, turned out to be the best encouragers. Preachers, when terminate, need a lot of love and grace, because the personal toll of being fired will be more devastating for them than for anyone else.

To the church at large, whether you’ve just lost your preacher or he is celebrating his 30th anniversary, remember that preachers have no business being on pedestals or worshiped as heroes, and we sure aren’t to be envied by others. As Paul put it 2,000 years ago, “We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things,” (1 Cor. 4:13). Rough translation, true, biblical, Christ-glorifying ministry isn’t for those seeking prestige and fame. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart.

Thirty years ago, my aunt cross-stitched a small piece of cloth, framed it, and gave it to my dad. It now hangs on my wall, and I glance at it every time I walk out on Sunday morning to teach my class or present my sermon. Many preachers will recognize the proverb. “Work for the Lord, the pay is not much, but the retirement plan is out of this world.”

Indeed.

 

June 5, 2014 Posted by | FYI, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Single Minded or Single Blinded:

When I first started in the ministry I had a difficult time finding a church that wanted to work with a “single guy”. I didn’t think much of it at the time until I started really reading the ads for preachers in greater detail. Almost every one of the ads listed what they considered the qualifications of a “proper” minister. Almost without fail and at the top of the list “MUST BE MARRIED”! Since then I have become a strong advocate for single ministers who simply want to spread the word. But, instead of being offered the opportunity, they are dismissed as if they have some kind of contagious disease.

I have written several articles on the subject and have considered posting them here. But then I ran across this article by Stan Mitchell and decided he says everything I would say so why reinvent the wheel.

Enjoy and be enlightened.

The Single Minister
Guest Editorial: by Stan Mitchell

“For a man to remain a bachelor, he must either keep a cool head, or cold feet.”

Barnabas, Jeremiah, Paul, Jesus Christ. What do these men have in common? They were single ministers. Bachelors who served the Lord.

It fascinates me how resistant the church is today to the idea of a single man in the ministry. I don’t know how many church members say, “We prefer our preacher to be married.” That single preacher probably prefers to be married, too.

I am heartbroken to say I can name numerous men who have given up their dream of preaching because churches will not hire a man who is single. Is this any way to further the kingdom?

The New Testament tells us that elders are to be the husbands of one wife (1 Timothy 3:2). It says no such thing about a preacher’s wife.

Some suggest a single preacher may “have trouble with the women of the congregation.” Really? Isn’t that a question of character, not marital status? Have you ever known a married man to fancy himself a big hit with the ladies? Hire a man of character, regardless of his marital status.

Others suggest a single man is not mature. Folks, some of the most immature people I have ever known are married.
Still others suggest the wife can be involved in women’s activities. First, this places an unfair and un-biblical burden on preachers’ wives. The Bible says as much about the preacher’s wife as it does about the Hunger Games trilogy. (That was a joke; the Bible says nothing about the ubiquitous movie phenomenon).

The single preacher can minister to an increasingly growing demographic group in our churches, namely, single Christians. These people’s souls are just as valuable as the souls of married people. What is more, a singles group properly motivated can be one of the church’s greatest, most evangelistic assets.

Most startlingly important of all: We have placed a rule on our churches that the Bible never does. When we deny single ministers the opportunity to serve, brethren, we are being unscriptural!

Single women, too, can serve (under biblical conditions, naturally). They served both Paul and the Lord. Why not now?
Paul thought being single was an advantage in ministry.

The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:22,23).

Jesus declared there was an honored place for the single, those who have chosen to be single “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:12).

Brethren, it’s time someone said something about this! We are limiting ourselves as a fellowship when we shut these good people out of service. On the mission field, single people can serve without the limitations of a married man; in our pulpits they can serve with distinction, just as preachers in Bible times did.

The Lord’s kingdom has been hurt by our blinders, our prejudice against single people. Let me be blunt and urgent. It needs to stop!
Have you tried using a minister who is single? Before you dismiss the idea, keep in mind the time he can give to the task, the concentration he can place on it. Or simply do this. When considering a man for ministry, look at his qualifications, his experience, his character. Leave his marital status to the Facebook page.

May 15, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

728b- By Jimmy Bagwell

June 6, 2013 Posted by | Comics | Leave a comment

728b – by Jimmy Bagwell

728b - by Jimmy Bagwell

May 14, 2013 Posted by | Comics | Leave a comment

Blessed Are the Cheese Makers

 

Image

Allow me to use parody to explain a very important point. Imagine, if you will, the scene at the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is speaking to hundreds, maybe thousands, of people. Some strain their ears to her what Christ is saying. Now imagine an elderly lady who is hard of hearing and a philosopher who is standing next to her. The scene goes like this.

Jesus: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Elderly lady: What did he say? Blessed are the cheese makers?  What’s so special about them?

Philosopher: Oh, surely he is making reference to makers of dairy products in general.

Silly don’t you think? My point is this:  Believe it or not, the above is quite an accurate representation of how some people approach Scripture. Scripture renders a doctrine that they, due to their personal opinion or preference, cannot accept. Such being the case, the temptation to “read into the text” something that is not there is very real.

Many people cannot accept the bold exclusivity of scripture. They cannot wrap their minds around the possibility (nay the fact) that the road that leads to everlasting life is indeed very, very narrow.  Under the guise of unity and tolerance they re-invent, re-interpret, and re-word passages they perceive as “politically incorrect”.

In pursuit of inclusivity and diversity they build for themselves, and others, unfounded doctrines that are appealing, pleasurable, and entertaining. The result being a chaotic blend of spiritual and secular babbling that renders the truth of the Gospel ineffective.

When souls are at stake and the eternal destinies of people are at risk; is it really wise to play such word games?

May 8, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, FYI | Leave a comment

The Shame-Driven Church

shameNow I’ve heard everything. A twisted spin on the cult favorite “Purpose Driven Church” has resulted in an about face of the Christian agenda. The result “The Shame-Driven Church”. A church where if you’re not stepping out of the “traditional” shadows then you’re not doing what Jesus wants you to.

Under the guise of unity and an appeal for acceptance a pseudo-Christian movement has swept our classes, universities, and our pulpits. Constantly berated to feel guilt and shame because traditional values (values based on Scripture) prevent the masses from being in full fellowship with the local body of Christians; many congregations have given in (or given up) and embraced a more fluid and culturally neutral “gospel”. The result; a you-do-it-your way and I’ll do-it-my-way mish-mash of conflicting ideas that have reduced many churches to nothing more that social clubs and half-way houses for the spiritually wishy-washy.

Young Christians are made to feel guilty if conclusions reached from simply reading the Bible cause them to even question the validity of certain opinions and preferences. A “thus sayeth the Lord” is no longer acceptable and will prevent others from coming to know Jesus. At least according to the mantra of many modern “preachers”.

In an appeal for validity, and to sound legitimate, the words of the apostle Paul are hurled about to prove a point:

 “And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;”  

1 Corinthians 19:20.

By ignoring the context they conclude that if you want to reach the lost then you must present yourself as one who is also lost. You must adopt their ways and adapt to their lifestyle after all that’s what Jesus would do”. Really? Should Christians frequent bars providing such an establishment with income to save a drunk? Should a Christian spend time at a strip club dishing out twenty dollar bills to save the purveyors of immorality?

I am not saying that we should not make every effort to reach those that are lost. Nor am I endorsing the idea that we should isolate ourselves from the world around us. But let’s get real folks! You cannot reveal Christ to the world by becoming like the world! Being made to feel guilty because you are no longer like the world is not the answer. Being made to feel shame because you hold yourself to a higher standard than those in the world is both immoral and ungodly.

I believe Jesus said it best in John 17 when he prayed on behalf of His followers I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil”.

Christians are not of this world even though we are in it. We are different. The blood of Christ has made us different. Adopting the ways of the world so that we can be perceived as more tolerant and loving is nothing more that superficial sentimentality. It is hypocrisy to the nth degree and brings shame upon the body of Christ.

May 6, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, FYI | Leave a comment

World Religions; Hinduism

Upon doing studies in world religions, I am hesitant to expend large sums of money to gather materials concerning, what Christians would consider, false religions. However, since a knowledge of such religions is necessary in order to understand and eventually evangelize to those who follows such teachings I have decided to make available some material in PDF to those who may be interested. Click of the link below to download  Survey of Hinduism: Third Edition by KLAUS K. KLOSTERMAIER

Survey of Hinduism

February 25, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, E-Books, FYI | Leave a comment

Eat, Pray, Love

 Eat, Pray, Love, is a film that epitomizes feminist-backed solipsism, New Age Eastern mysticism, and the notion that women must unfetter themselves from the ‘enslavement of a boring husband. After leaving the man who loved her, the wife then takes a trip around the world. While embarking on this trip she holds her own, lust and desires in the highest esteem. And female critics, eager to live her adventure vicariously, praise her as a paragon of “female” bravery.

However, this woman victimized an innocent man who loved her. Not only that, she has no remorse, and celebrates the ungodly and hateful things she did to him by taking a trip around the world and taking multiple lovers.

“Fortunately” I missed Oprah’s two episodes “exalting” this woman’s actions. That being said her actions are “morally wrong”. Selfishness must be so deeply ingrained in some women that they can’t even admit there’s anything seriously wrong with what the main character did.

Morally speaking, the story is atrocious. The most offensive thing about the film is its morally repugnant message. Not long ago, I knew a couple, the wife in which saw this movie. She divorced her husband of over 20 years. Her husband contested the divorce and fought to save the marriage. In the process of the divorce she made numerous allegations against him which were all proven to be false. She then bragged about how she was planning a trip to Europe. Talk about life imitating fiction.

I have often wondered how many other “Christian” women have followed the example found in this film and left their husbands and dishonored their vows in such a selfish attempt to “find themselves”.

April 2, 2012 Posted by | Counseling, FYI | Leave a comment

Download:

In the past, I have included several items that can be downloaded. Among them are PowerPoint slides, Music Workbooks and sheet music. I am thrilled to be able to offer these items.

That being said, I would be interested in any and all comments made by those of you who have taken advantage of these offers.

You can leave a comment on site or you can e-mail me at jb728b@gmail.com

Thanks

Jimmy

Artistic Song Leading

Power Point Artistic Song Leading

Revelation Separating Fact From Fiction

December 21, 2011 Posted by | FYI | Leave a comment

This May Surprise You

Did you know that there is a secret code to understanding a minister wanted ad? There are hidden meanings within the text as opposed to what is actually being said.  While the following may sound like a joke, and is said with tongue in cheek, the conclusions reached are based on personal interviews with X# of congregations across the country.

What the ad say’s
Candidate must be sound

What it means
Candidate must agree with us at ALL times on All things. He must do every thing we tell him to do when we tell him to do it and like it no matter how degrading the task may be. Oh, did we mention he must always agree with us? Even when we’re wrong we’re not wrong.

What the ad say’s
Candidate must be married

What it means
We want his wife to be an unpaid secretary, janitor and babysitter. She will also take over the ladies class, the children’s class, the nursery and the women’s prayer group because OUR wives don’t want of do it.

What the ad say’s
Candidate must be a family man.

What it means
A family portrait will look impressive in our directory and his kids will make our youth group look bigger than the other church’s in the community

What the ad say’s
Candidate must be stable

What it means
He can have no outside interest and must be at our beck and call 24-7 ready to fulfill any request or whim we may have without hesitation or question. We also want him to mow the lawn every week for free.

What the ad say’s
Salary based on experience

What it means
You’re gonna need a second job

October 4, 2011 Posted by | FYI | 1 Comment

A New Psalm

Check out the story behind the lyrics here

To download the sheet music, click on the link below.

Give Praise To The Lord

September 20, 2011 Posted by | Sheet Music | Leave a comment

More Books

Below are some books concerning Revelation. I have posted them for informative purposes and do not necessarily endorse them. To download them, simply click on the title.

Before Jerusalem Fell

The Beast Of Revelation

September 8, 2011 Posted by | E-Books | Leave a comment

The Woman Caught in Adultery: A lesson on Gossip??????

TEXT: John 8:1-11

We know the story well. A woman is caught red handed and a mob drags her through town. They throw the woman down in the Lord’s presence and start hurling accusations. This was done to trap Jesus so they could accuse him as well. Christ reaction was remarkable. He demonstrated courage and wisdom. Such intestinal fortitude; His reaction defined the stuff that REAL MEN are made of. His reaction………..  silence.

Of course the mob kept pushing and pushing and pushing until the Lord felt the need to make three statements.

1.Let the person who has never sinned cast the first stone

2. (To the woman) Where are your accusers

3. (And finally) Neither do I accuse you, don’t do it again.

Talking about nipping it in the bud!  Imagine the divisive chaos that would have occurred if Christ had responded differently or worse, If he had joined in on the tirade of hate.

While the point of the story is power of forgiveness, a point “in the story” is a lesson on gossip.  Too often when people are approached with accusations ( be they true or not) their response is drastically different than that of Christ. Such responses lead to gossip, slander and hypocrisy. The result being destroyed reputations, ungodly divisions and ruined lives.

A good rule is this; when you hear rumors and accusations either react as if you never heard it or talk to those involved. Jesus did both and that settled the matter.

HE is a great example.

August 19, 2011 Posted by | Bible Study | 1 Comment

Songbook

Here is a supplemental songbook that I put together. The only requirement for use is the purchase of a CCLI.

Download here

For information concerning CCLI click here

August 10, 2011 Posted by | E-Books, Sheet Music | Leave a comment

5 Challenges

I CHALLENGE YOU…………


1. To Make A Personal Testimony

Mark 5:19

Jesus said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

2.  To Invite a stranger

Matthew 25:35

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,

3.  To study a little more

Acts 17:11

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

4.  To ask questions and to seek answers

John 3:1-5

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

5.  To Pray for an enemy 

Matthew 5:43-44

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

If you do these things you will never be the same.

August 10, 2011 Posted by | Bible Study, Church Growth | Leave a comment

LABELS!

Liberal! Conservative! Legalist! Pharisee!  Change Agent! Hobby Rider! I’ve heard them all. In fact, I’ve been called them all.

I guess it’s human nature to try to categorize things and people. Unfortunately such classifications have little thought behind them.

I’ve been called a liberal because I use other versions besides the KJV in my studies. I’ve been called a Change Agent because I’ve used Power Point. I’ve been called a legalist because I enjoy worship songs that are older than I am. I’ve been called a hobby rider because of my insistence that we should teach the rudiments of music to improve our singing.  I’ve been called a Pharisee because my definition of a Christian is limited to those who have been added by God and not merely to those who behave a certain way.  What gives?

If I were to place a label on myself it would probably be fundamentalist.  Not the evangelical kind but the basic “God said it that settles it” kind. While I will lend a small amount of legitimacy to the use of labels, like so many things, their use has been abused.  It seems that if someone doesn’t hold to the same “tradition” ( NOTE: I said tradition not doctrine. doctrine is a different issue) we feel the need to label them.

In my experience I have rarely seen such labels used in a constructive way (there have been some but not many).  By constructive I mean the basic principle of “teaching the truth in love”.

I am not suggesting that there are no legitimate times when these labels can be used, what I am suggesting is that when such terms are applied you better know what you’re talking about.

August 2, 2011 Posted by | Mind Numbing Ponderings | Leave a comment

728b

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Comics | Leave a comment

Mind Numbing Ponderings

1.  It is discouraging to preach a sermon on the importance church attendance when those who need to hear it aren’t there.

2.  If all the people who left one congregation to go to another because they had a bigger youth group would have stayed we would have a bigger youth group too.

3.  It’s nerve racking to have to explain to the person on the phone the difference between a pastor and a preacher.

4. When praying, never use “Lord” as if he was a form of punctuation.

5.When it comes to gossip to err is human, to forgive is divine, but silence is golden.

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Mind Numbing Ponderings | 1 Comment

The Detroit Zoo

   

 

July 31, 2011 Posted by | FYI, Photo Album | Leave a comment

Pew Packer Class

Can you answer any of these questions?

1.  Which of the following was the first man to have two wives?

  1.  Adam
  2. Cain
  3. Abraham
  4.  Lamech

2.  Besides Sarah, which of the following was Abraham’s wife?

  1. Haggar
  2. Keturah
  3. Rachel
  4. Rebekkah

3.  Besides Isaac and Ishmael, which of the following was a son of Abraham?

  1. Lot
  2. Jacob
  3. Ishbok
  4.  Laban

At best you will probably have a little difficulty. The reason for such a demonstration is to announce a new class at the Flushing Pointe church of Christ. It will begin Sunday night July 24th at 5:30 pm.

This class will meet in the front of the auditorium. It is for the young people and the “young of heart” It will consist of 15 minutes of Bible Q&A.

Some people may reply, Isn’t that just a bunch of silly trivia? The truth is that there is NO SUCH THING as useless Bible knowledge. NOTHING is in the Bible by accident, there are no passages that are just filler and all Scripture is God’s word.

This short Bible drill class will ask such questions as…

  1. Who was the first man/woman
  2. Who wrote the first five books of the Old Testament
  3. What must I do to be saved

It will also drill students concerning….

  1. Name the books of the Old Testament/New Testament.
  2. Name the books of poetry.
  3. Name the books of History.
  4. Name the major/minor Prophets.

How can we expect our young to function as Christians when we, ourselves, don’t take it seriously?

Ecclesiastes 12:1

July 19, 2011 Posted by | Church Growth, FYI | 1 Comment