When Good Pastors Get Fired

When Good Pastors Get Fired

This past weekend I was watching the incredible movie Apollo 13. When it appeared the astronauts could die in space, the news media, who had chosen not to cover the scheduled moon landing, were now descending on the home of astronaut Jim Lovell in mass. Lovell’s wife, Marilyn, played by Kathleen Quinlan, asked a NASA publicist why they now cared, he sheepishly noted it was now newsworthy.

My heart sunk when she replied, “Landing on the moon was not newsworthy so why should not landing on the moon be?”

It is alarming how quickly we get bored with products, events and sadly, even people. Landing on the moon, with all its ingenuity, technical skill and intellectual horsepower, had become old hat. It was no longer impressive or newsworthy.

We see the same faulty thinking played out still today.

Why do good pastors and church staff get fired by boards and personnel committees? Why do bosses fire good employees who have a history of quality performance? Why do great college football coaches get run out of town by greedy boosters (see Mark RichtLes MilesMack Brown and Phillip Fulmer)? And worst yet, why do husbands and wives leave their beautiful spouses and families for other options. I have a theory.

It is founded in ungratefulness, boredom and a complete lack of long-term thinking and perspective. My theory is this:

Excellence Becomes Average When It Is All You Have.

  • The pastor who delivers God’s Word faithfully and without error week after week.
  • The employee who is not flashy but is solid and dependable.
  • The college coach who graduates all his players, runs a clean program, fills the stadium, pays for all the other sports programs and goes to a bowl game every year.
  • And the spouse, who gave birth to your children, cooked your meals, cleaned your house, put up with all your bad habits, laughed at your dumb jokes and faithfully served you for decades.

These individuals should be honored, not casually dismissed. Smart leaders guard against “shiny stuff/people syndrome” and boredom. Smart leaders value dependability and longevity. A lady once told me after her husband left her for another woman, “You never miss the water until the well runs dry.”

Be very, very careful if you are about to terminate a longtime employee or leave your spouse. Trust me, your well will run dry.

God honors faithfulness in our lives. We should value it in the lives of others.