How to be fired unjustly and come out a winner

Let’s say you are a minister on the staff of a medium-sized church.  You finished seminary and at the invitation of this church, you moved your young family here to this city and have gotten deeply involved in ministry.  You are in the process of buying a house.  Life is looking good.

Then one day, you are asked to attend a meeting with a few leaders of the church. The administrator is there, accompanied by the chairman of the personnel committee and the deacon chair.  Long story short, you learn you are being terminated. Let go. Superannuated. Fired. Getting the ax.  Pink-slipped.

They gave you reasons.  They said things like, “We love you. We appreciate your ministry.  You have a great spirit and we treasure your family.”  Then they added the “however.”  Things like: “Things are not working out, finances have been down lately, it’s not a good fit, you and the church.”  Or perhaps, “Some people are unhappy with the way you do things” or “Your manner is abrasive and you have rubbed some people the wrong way.”

You did not see this coming.

They gave you no warning.  You wonder why.

I’ll tell you why.  They are cowards, and would admit it in most cases.  “This is painful and I don’t like to make people unhappy.”  “I’m a peacemaker,” one said, “and have a hard time with conflict.”

So, they spring this on you.

You are informed that you will have a meeting with the pastor the next day, but don’t make the mistake of thinking he’s going to reverse this decision.  He is the one in back of it.  I guarantee you if he wanted you to remain on staff, you would still be there.  This was his call.

So, what are you to do?  That’s the reason for this little piece.  Here are our suggestions:

1) Hold your head up high.

2) Be prayerful, sweet-spirited, and humble.

3) Do not argue.  Nothing you say now in defense of the work you have done is going to change things. So accept it.  Thank the leaders for the privilege of serving the Lord’s church for the period of time you had.

4) Recognize that how you exit this church is going to affect a lot of people…

–Church members who love you need you to take this on the chin and not like a spoiled child.  If their leadership acted wrongly, they must deal with it and not you.  Encourage them to keep their eyes on Jesus and to love their church.  Let the Holy Spirit lead them if they need to address some issues with their leaders.  However, discourage them from trying to reverse this action regarding your employment. That is over now.

–Your family needs you to be strong and confident.  You are naturally concerned about providing for them in the future, but if necessary, you know you can flip burgers or unload trucks at Walmart until the Lord opens a door for your next ministry.

–The next church (its pastor and key leaders) will be looking to see how you handled this. If you bad-mouthed the preacher, even if he was evil incarnate, that reflects poorly on you and they will move on.  This is an ironclad rule, my friend.  Believe it.

5) Keep your eyes upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

Never forget that He was betrayed by His own apostle and then abandoned by most of them at Calvary.

I will promise you something.  When you are old and your ministry is drawing to a close, most of the deepest pains you have borne and the worst scars you carry will have been inflicted not by the enemy but by the Lord’s people.

That is the saddest thing I know, but it’s the truth.  So, don’t let trouble blindside you.  Expect this to happen.  Eyes on Jesus, friend!  He alone is your Lord, your Source, and your Resource!

6) Stay in the Word and on your knees.

If you do not, expect your carnal nature to rise up and take over and for anger to poison your system and contaminate all you touch.

As you search the Scriptures, ask the Lord to speak to you through them.  In your prayers, claim the fourfold command of Luke 6:27ff, and show your enemies (those who have mistreated you) love by doing good to them, blessing them, praying for them, and giving to them.  Ask the Lord to empower you to do these things and show you when and how.

7) Believe that God has better things in store for you down the road.  And that this is the method He has chosen to use to get you there.

Believe that these things have not happened without His knowledge, and that He will use them for His glory and your good.

The day will come–write this down and claim it as from the Lord, my friend–when you will give thanks for this termination.  Had it not occurred, you would not be where you will be at that point, enjoying the people God has put in your life and the ministry He has given you.

The problem for you now is getting through today.

8) Be sure to rally your network.

Let your pastor friends know, those favorite seminary professors, and classmates with whom you bonded in Christ.  Ask for their prayers and if the Lord so impresses them, to give your name to a church in need of a minister with your calling.  Send them your resume’.  (Be sure to work on your bio and get good advice to make it a positive thing.)

God bless you.  You can do this.  Head held high, now.  “Go in this thy strength” (Judges 6:14).  After all, the Lord says, “Have I not sent you?”

I would add, “And has He not told you the way would sometimes be hard, the side effects painful, and the people you were counting on undependable?”  You may want to read Matthew 10:16-42 again.  (And again and again.)

You can get through this, friend.

See you down the road!

55 thoughts on “How to be fired unjustly and come out a winner

  1. My wife and I have experienced almost exactly what you described in your article. This happened to us almost 3 years and four months ago. I have been working as a “temp” for over 2 1/2 years. I have been forced to withdraw money from my retirement during these years to help us keep up with our bills. We also are forced to live in the community where this happened. We could not afford to sell our house because of the economy. I have seen the Lord work in my life during these difficult years. We are ready for this part of the journey to end. I have been fortunate to have a wonderful Christian friend who shares with me once a week over the phone. We share what is happening in our lives and then pray for each other.

    • That is painful to read, Bruce, and yet God is giving you the victory. We’ll pray with you for this interlude in your life to end, and the next place of service to open. Thanks for the note.

    • Wow, Bruce, we went through almost the same exact scenario about the same time. We’re only now starting to get truly stabilized, though still have a big necessarily accrued debt to dig out. I am no longer in vocational ministry, but in different ways continue to minister arguably as much and effectively as before. I have also just this year transitioned to a new career as a High School teacher. The Lord IS good. In spite of all this, we are in a place in which we are all as happy and more stable than we have ever been as a family. Now, our church has just unfairly and prematurely fired the Youth Pastor after only 8 months and no reason aside from “not a fit” and “connection.” Joe has been a great resource for them, thank you!

  2. Goodday Joe
    Thank you for this article.
    Please pray for me. I have comitted my life to the service of the LORD.
    My ministry is Church Planting among poor and needy people.
    I have undergone many a trial and temptation.
    I thank GOD WHO has kept me from falling.
    I am not married and am trusting GOD for a life partner.
    Thank you very much.

  3. Hard to believe better days are coming when you’re in the pit of darkness. It’s difficult when your family is hurting. But you are right.

  4. Best thing I’ve read in a long time, Joe — very strong and encouraging advice in this article.

    As you may know, my wife was on staff for at least 7 years at a Christian high school that our (former) church housed. Purely by God’s timing, I was allowed into the meeting where a handful of the school’s board did and said cowardly and godless things to my wife (@ 2007) as they “non-renewed her contract” as a teacher there. After they had finished stating all the lame reasons behind their decision, I’m afraid I shocked them when I asked if I might interrupt – and for about 5 minutes (it felt like an hour), I let them have it with both barrels (Note: Joe, I’m now kind of like that character “Ouizah” as she describes herself in one scene in Steel Magnolias: “Well I’m glad to see you again too – but I’m not as sweet as I used to be…”) — I’m afraid that nieve, unconscious Southern Baptist boy you used to know is long gone (thank God, right?) — but I do think many times about how sad it would make my mother, to see me so changed… I was her “sweet boy”, you know…
    Back to my story: As you have already guessed, it changed nothing for me to tell those board members what they really were — and it got worse. Later, when they asked to “pray over her” at the end of the meeting, asking God to show her where she “could be used more effectively”, I nearly wanted to die as Tricia sat and sobbed her heart out , with their hands laid upon her — it took everything I had, not to remove their hands from her, and put them through the wall. I will never be able to forget it. Such an appalling scene does not fade easily.
    Although I have forgiven them from my heart (this is the truth – I really have, and am free of it now, although I am describing the event vividly from the indelible memory), I do not immediately trust people who say they are Christians, like I used to. I wait and find out – without ‘giving them the store’ right away — which used to make me feel very good about myself (I was so proud of my ‘openness’!), but it was not a true way to live, and to love others honestly.

    Sorry I went on so long here, but you really hit a nerve. It has taken Tricia years to heal from this event – please keep her close in your prayers, as you are in ours…
    Bill Brunson, Austin, TX

  5. God advice. I have been on the bad side of a termination 3 times. I have a lot I could say, but for this I want to say I am in a great church now as a student pastor. I am well respected by those who know me. One thing I like to see is the reactions of those who know my ministry now when I tell them I have been asked to leave a church. Many people believe that when an associate has left a church, they must have done something terrible. That is not always the case.
    One pastor I served with ,and who was hired after me, told me in a performance review that I had changed his mind about something. I asked what that was. He said that he had made it a point to never hire a person who had been asked to leave a church, but after working with me, I had changed his mind. He needed to find out from the person why they had been asked to leave the church.
    So thanks for the blog. It was good and good advice.Pastors reading this blog, pray about the candidates you are looking for, don’t just right off a person because someone had been asked to leave a church. You might miss who God wants at your chruch.

  6. Just read your article, Joe. It really helped me. I have been to some dark places, and it has been hard to stay out of them. I was having a really bad day, and I found your article and it cheered me up a lot.

    I identified with many of the emails-especially the one that Bill left about his wife. I went through a very similar scenario, but with friends involved. It affected almost every part of our lives-friends, church, kid’s school and my livelihood/avocation.



  7. Ok I’m going to turn this around on you……what if the minister bullied a church employee because she and her husband couldn’t provide the church with children, and then had her fired while he goes on vacation????? The employee was not allowed back in to get her own office supplies that she had brought from home and her and her husband were not welcome at church any more. Their marriage broke up and she’s left with no hope, no future, no nothing….yet the minister remained there for several years and the congregation went on their merry way with their happy little lives, while her life basically ended. Now I want you to explain how anyone could be smiling and upbeat after that.

    • Melissa, I went back and reread the article. We list 8 activities to do when this happens. And not a one of them is “keep smiling and stay upbeat after that.” Please look at it again. God bless you. It’s tough, I know. Eyes on the Lord, my friend. Give Him an opportunity to make something good from this.

  8. I believe I was unjustly fired from a volunteer job I had at a church a few months ago. What hurts really badly was that the pastor did not seem to have hope and didnt want to work with me on the problems he said I had. I thought that’s what pastors did. I feel I wasted so much time. What hurts the most was being cut off from knowing what further activities the church was planning. As a friend of mine had to send me an email telling him about a huge event that the pastor did not want me to know about. Almost reminds me of being a kid and being unable to play sports at recess cause I was a smaller and more timid kid that the other kids liked to pick on. Or like that weird character from the movie Office Space who was continually moved to a more seculeded spot in his work place. So I left the church, but I still feel anger and resentment.

  9. Thank you for these words. I was just fired yesterday from being the youth pastor at a small church in Dallas. For the whole summer there was only me and the administrative assistant who still worked there. So my job turned into doing all the responsibilities as the acting pastor, while a few interim preachers would come on Sunday. Since I was not the official pastor I was not part of the board meetings, leaving me to find out information sometimes after the congregation knew. I had to learn to do jobs at the last second and my youth group vanished one by one because of my exhaustive schedule. Whenever I did get a chance to sit down with my teens, somebody conveniently had something urgent I had to do that second. I worked behind the scenes, everything was done by my wife and I and we kept it pretty quiet. Whenever volunteers left the church, we took over those volunteers positions. Coffee bar, offering plates, sound and tech, maintenance, greeting, stage setup, and so much more every single Sunday. One day I’m told very last that a candidate was coming to Preach and the board already had it mind to hire him. Within two weeks he was hired. Two more weeks after that, and my wife and I still don’t all the tasks I listed plus many new ones, I was called into his office and he said he is not going to keep me. And that was that. Very disheartening when we put so much work into this church and had some amazing relationships. But that was his decision, and it was his from his first day. There was no changing it. Thankfully this was the most helpful article I’ve read. It is encouraging and helps me to keep looking forward.

    • Cody-I was let go about a month and a half ago from a church I’d been at for nearly 10 years. I felt like you and your wife: I did everything and was over or involved with most ministries within the church. We get a new pastor and within 5 months I’m asked to leave. It hurts a lot and I still have “streaks” of anger that rise up, but God has given me friends, counselors, mentors, books, sites like this, etc., to help me. Have you found a ministry position now 7 months after the incident?

      I’ve found many retreat centers that take in wounded/terminated/tired pastors/ministers, and many of these centers are free or very low cost. My wife and I are going to one soon. I want to recommend these places to you and any other minister that sees this post to go and try out these places and find some must-needed rest and sabbath.

      Here are the retreat centers at the bottom of this link’s site:

  10. I have been attending the same church for 18 years, since I was 17. When I got saved I felt the call to pastor. At 25 I became the church admin, and at 28 I became the worship pastor. I loved it, even the hard times. My pastor and I got along, he and his wife are some of my closest friends. Then they felt the call to leave our town. It was a blow but they hear from Jesus so I knew I just needed to trust God for whatever changes that meant for my future. I’ve worked at the church through 3 pastoral transitions and always found a way to work with the new guy. I knew my job might be on the line, or pastoring might be forfeited but I trusted God. When we hired the new pastor he made a lot of promises. He said he wouldn’t replace any staff for a year or more. It came as such a relief and I through myself into adopting their vision and making it mine. I loved their ideas, I defended them to longtime congregants that were stuck in their ways. I truly loved and supported them. Then about 3 months in he called me into a meeting. I was told his wife was taking over as worship pastor. It was a shock. It hurt my heart. It is my calling and so hard to give up. But I was trusting that they heard Jesus and began to make my peace with it. I asked for time off from the worship ministry to pray and allow God to heal the hurt. I said nothing to any church member. I had asked the pastor to announce it because in small churches people jump to conclusions and my desire was to protect them from the fallout. They refused. Within a week people were talking. They were asking if I was being fired as admin, was I losing my parsonage housing, was I coming back to church? All of these from people I never spoke to. People are curious and if you don’t fill in the blanks, their imaginations will. 9 days after our first meeting I was called into a meeting and told I was fired and evicted for slander. I asked what was said and who my accusers were and I was told it didn’t matter because his believed them. I was told that even if I hadn’t said anything, that my silence spoke volumes and led people to be disgruntled on my behalf. I was quiet because I was emotional and didn’t want people to take it wrong. I never thought it’d get me fired. That was 2 weeks ago. I’m left with no house, no job, no ministry, no church and no unemployment. I’m getting calls every day that I’m ignoring from congregants asking where I am. I don’t think it was fair. My firing letter was not kind in the least, but I love that church. I have no desire to say or do anything to cause waves. I know God works all things out, so even though I’m grieving and hurt, I’m expecting good things. But the hits keep coming. This pastor keeps saying things about me, he shorted my severance $400, and I’m just staying silent. This article was so helpful. I have very good godly ministry friends who are keeping my heart in check. I’m having to dig deeper with Jesus everyday. The only thing I have left, is who I am in Him and no one can ruin that. So I’m clinging tightly to it.

    • My friend, this one hurts as deeply as any note I’ve had in a while. You didn’t ask for advice–I admire so well the way you are handling this–so my word to you is to keep doing what you are doing. Hold your head up high and go find another job, doing anything–flipping burgers or anything to pay the rent. Keep your eyes on the Lord, trust Him, and in time He will work it out. You may be in HEaven before you see how He used this, but use it He will. Trust Him. I’m praying for you today.

  11. What if you were fired and given two options;
    1. Two weeks notice
    2. Stay till the end of the year (2 months)
    …but told to tell others with questions with “it’s a change of season”.
    That’s deception to the co gregarious-correct?

    How do I have a “clear concious” telling the people “a lie”?

  12. Just today I was fired from a company that is “Christian owned.” I am devastated because I was never told I was doing anything wrong. The made up reasons for my dismissal are absurd and not based on any facts or proof. I’ve found that the people who hurt you most are fellow Christians. Money seems to always play a part in these stories too. These Christian owners are very wealthy and it always appeared to me that they have the idol of money. I have a hard time seeing past the pain right now and in my prayers I’ve been begging God to stay by my side and to show me the way out of the darkness. Please pray for me.

    • I will pray for you. Some years back, I phoned a “Christian-owned” moving company that made headlines in our city for their terrible record, huge list of unhappy customers, and lawsuits over unpaid bills and damaged furniture. I said to the owner, “Please take the name of Jesus off your advertising. You are bringing reproach upon the name of the Savior.” I do not recall his response, other than that he did not appreciate my call. — Anyone can put the name of Jesus on their store or business, and I fear some do so in order to draw in gullible Christians.

  13. Last September I was fired from my church after 8 years of wonderful Ministry. I had built a new sanctuary debt free, purchased lands, remodeled old buildings and grew the congregation to four times it’s original size. We were able to do so much Ministry and the sky was the limit but out of no where the church board said we’ve never kept a pastor more than eight years so we want you to resign. The core of the church wanted me gone. These were the same people that I had sacrificed so much time and effort on. I felt betrayed hurt and everything you wrote in this article hit home. I took it to a vote and won 52%, but the core withheld their tithe and made it very difficult to stay. I resigned.
    It took me three months to find secular employment and it has turned my world upside down. I’m working through so many things in my mind, my heart, and my spiritual walk. I know God was not caught off guard. I’m still in His thoughts and plans. My problem is this. My children married into the families that voted me out. Now every holiday, birthday, etc I am invited by my children to attend, but I just can’t bring myself to be around those people. I’ve forgiven them in my heart but my head keeps having flair ups of hurt. I’m working through that. In time I may be able to be around them. I feel cheated that I can’t enjoy my grandchildren’s birthday parties because of the situation. I know that the first time I am around them that they self righteously would ask how my job was going not even considering how much hurt and pain they caused me. They believe they did nothing wrong. I don’t want to hurt my children but I just don’t want to be around those people. Any suggestions?

    • Randy, I hurt for you, brother. But the remedy is Luke 6:27-35. When you do the four things the Lord calls for–“do good (deeds to them), bless, pray, and give–you will find your anger disappearing and the Lord getting the victory. As long as you hold back from doing this, the anger smolders inside you and the enemy is in the driver’s seat. God bless you, friend.

  14. If you love God and are pastor, got the pink slip, don’t worry. God will look after you.

    In Lord Jesus name,


  15. I was just fired from directing a vibrant 150+ size youth group. Pastor provided no context. I’m naturally devastated to lose my position so unjustly. It’s was left up to me to tell the kids and parents. I need help. What do I say to youth and parents?

    • It’s essential to say to yourself “it wasn’t my position;” it was a privilege to serve the Lord in this way. No one is guaranteed that a) the work belongs to them or b) they will be there a certain amount of time. That pastor himself (or herself) is just as vulnerable as you were. — Tell the kids and parents the Lord must have something better in store for everyone involved. Do not blame anyone. Keep your eyes on the Lord. Read Luke 17:7-10 and claim it as your own. God bless you.

  16. I work at a secular multinational company and three days ago, my boss, who is a Christian, told me that he is not going to renew my contract, which will end in October. He told me that he wanted to tell me this from a long time ago, and it’s not just him, but many of the team members feel that the way I work is unfit for the position I’m in. He also added that it’s not because I’m incompetent, but only because I’m not a good fit. He said I still have two and a half months until the end of the contract to find a new job, and currently he’s actively interviewing new candidates for my position and I’m expected to do a handover with the new person. After the conversation, he asked whether I have any question, and I said no, because I know it won’t change his decision.

    What hurt me is that he never gave any feedback on my performance, and suddenly he pointed out few things that he expected me to see during my employment. He also tends to treat me unfairly and bullied me most of the time (publicly, until other team members need to stop the situation), and his behavior led one of my friends reported this to my boss’s manager, since his overall leadership is being questioned by other department members who work at the same floor with us. This manager said that he’s planning to dig deeper and will ask relevant parties about my boss.

    What bothers me now are:
    1. It’s really hard to feel and act okay for this two and half months at the office. I don’t even want to go there anymore.
    2. I have no idea how to tell the other team members about this, and I’m scared because my boss could publicly say that he’s not going to keep me. It will be very humiliating to me.
    3. I don’t know what to say to my boss’s manager if he asked me about my boss. I’m scared that I’m unable to contain my emotion and will state negative words only.
    4. Now I can’t help but to see my other team members in a suspicious way, as my boss told me that they were the ones who told me I’m not good at my work.
    5. I’m paralyzed and debilitated now, I keep blaming myself and the guilt suffocates me every morning after I wake up. Imagining the day after my last day just breaks my heart.
    6. Regarding Luke 6:27-35, do good (deeds to them), bless, pray, and give, I assumed that I should do my work normally as part of “doing good (deeds to my boss)”, tell God to bless my boss as part of “bless”, but I’m quite lost on “pray and give” as I don’t know what to pray about him and what to give.

    Any comments or suggestions?

    • PRAY. Ask the Lord to do His will in that person’s life.
      GIVE. Make him some cookies or something. Write him a note at some point thanking him for the privilege. Whatever else he has done or not done, this job has given you an income for a period of time. It’s hard to rejoice in your situation, but keep in mind it was their job and not yours, and you have no “right” to this job. So, try to serve well for the duration because this will influence the recommendation they give you when you apply for a new job somewhere. — Keep your eyes on the Lord and not on men. Luke 10:20 please. God bless you.

  17. I have been through this in my past three churches. First one didn’t want me to leave but ran out of money and could not keep a second staffer. They actually asked me find other work and stay serving at the church on a valunteer bases. I did not. The second church was using the money from a sold parsonage to pay my salary, until it was gone and wanted me to resign. I made them fire me because if I resigned I would receive no severance at all. Now just this week I’m being asked to leave my church of over 7 years. I know God provides because I have lived through it. But I find that the same anxiety and hurt from before filling my heart. I don’t want to be angry but I am. I don’t want to feel anxious but I can’t turn it off. I feel numb and even the promises of God that I know are true don’t seem to soothe my hurting soul. Please pray for me and my family.

    • My brother, there are counseling services where you could go sit down and talk with a veteran brother or sister in Christ and sort through these things. If you’re Southern Baptist, these services are provided free of charge. Please do this.

  18. Recently I have been hired as a manager. My brother passed away the same day. My baby was admitted in hospital few days after I was employed. (When it rain it pour). My training manager spread lies about me the 4 days that I was in hospital with my baby. My boss contacted me yesterday saying she heard I have said things about how unprofessional she is telling me the staff feel offended by me wanting to change her rules ect. I was shocked I’ve never said any of those I was so happy to finally be independent and work for a living. My reply to her was God must bless her and the person who told her all those things. There was no way for me to defend myself as she already made up her mind. I`m confuse I don’t understand why all this is happening to me

  19. Hi. I am reading your blog and it has good advice. I read Bill Brunson’s post regarding his wife from February 5, 2014. The exact circumstances that he described happened to me. It’s been two years now and I still struggle. I cry often and Im not sure how to move forward. I almost lost my faith but through Christian counseling I am and stay committed to God. But it hurts as much today as it did when it was fresh. I wonder if God will ever cure this pain, or am I destined to have this hurt forever. Thank you for your blog. When your in the middle of healing it’s hard to remember your not alone. So many people are treated unjustly in this world.

    • Ann, you read my suggestion in the article, but please allow me to repeat: The best remedy for the continuing anger/hurt is to do good/bless/pray/give to those who did you wrong. When we do that, God is glorified, our anger goes away, and the enemy is bumfuzzled!

      • Once again thank you for your advice. I have been and will continue to pray blessings over my enemies. I pray that God will take away their control over me. In bible class one Sunday a lady was sharing a different story, but commented that fear held her captive. It hit me then, that I still have fear of retaliation from those who hurt me. In fact, I have found out that my current boss had been phoned and warned about me and was reluctant to hire me. I am praying for truth and insight. God has answered my prayers because 4/6 of my references were previous coworkers of my current boss, and they have backed me 110%. God had this planned. My current boss lived in Texas 7 years ago and we worked in similar schools. Then she moved to a different state. I moved to the same state a few months ago and am now working for her. If we didn’t have similar friends/ex coworkers, I probably would not have gotten the job. God had blessed me for sure. Thank you again, I’m in prayer that my faith stay strong.

  20. Pastor Joe, thank you for this article! I was wrongfully terminated from my position 4 months ago. I am choosing to forgive leaders who have hurt me but it’s a process and a daily decision to pray for those who hurt me so deeply. The climate I was in in my
    last assignment was unhealthy and abusive but I still feel a draw to go back and be reconciled with my pastor. Do you think it’s healthy to seek reconciliation after being fired? How do I move on otherwise?

    • Kim, God bless you. The pain is awful and unending, I know. Remember–memorize even–the four basic acts of love: Do good, bless, pray, and give. Start by praying the Father’s will for the pastor and any one else who was part of the problem. Write a note, if you are able, wishing him (them) well and thanking them for the privilege of serving. Make sure there are no subliminal messages of hurt or anger in it. (You might have to write and rewrite it until it is just right. Ask your wife to help you. She has to deal with the same emotions as you.) And then, ask the Father about meeting with the pastor for reconciliation. There are so many ways that could go off the rails and turn into something bad. May He lead you. I’m praying for you today.

  21. I just got fired two hours ago! Reading this, I feel reassured. Even though I don’t agree with the reasons I was fired for and had some pretty hefty ammunition in my back pocket, I didn’t say a word. It didn’t feel like it was going to change anything or help my case in any way, shape or form. Nonetheless, reading this article confirmed I did the right thing! Thanks for your encouragement.

    • Joel, God bless you. This is really really painful for you. Thanks for your good note. I’m lifting you in prayer this moment.

  22. (This is from a friend who wished to remain anonymous. I told him I’d post it.) “I was fired two days ago from a Methodist church. I myself am not Methodist, but this particular church was a “secret” Methodist church charged with the mission to be a “church for the unchurched and de-churched”. So they (for 30 years) did not announce their Methodist roots with the intention to just “be the church”. When I was hired on, I wasn’t even aware they were a Methodist church. Anyway, I was hired by a pastor that was well on his way to really growing the congregation. We had a mission and vision set and ready to roll. I was specifically hired to raise up a Creative Arts team and AVL team and worship team(s). However, the pastor that was there, was fired a year and a half in for various reasons. There was no moral failure or anything, I personally believe he just had some things he needed to deal with and wasn’t really given the time or correct oversight to deal with them so the implosion began and festered with no one watching. Mainly because the Methodist church is too busy dealing with whether or not a gay person should be allowed to preach or hold a position in the church. (Go figure) anyway… so after he was released, the committees in place, decided to really put the hammer down on every activity. The committees are being ran by old school thinkers in terms of “how church should be done” yet, the DNA of this church is all about reaching the lost. Bringing them in and forging community with them. But no longer, and therefore any and all staff who disagree, are out the door. So that brings me into the picture, I’m building these ministries up, which takes time, money and teams… so the current committees in place (old school) decided to go through any and all financial activity and saw that the ministries I was handling had spent quite a bit of money investing in the future of technology and upgrades and fixing old broken sound light and video things… all of which were approved and under the extract guidance of the former leadership… well, as it were, the “new” leadership didn’t understand, didn’t like it, and here’s where it gets disgusting… I was “the exact scenario you mentioned” pulled into the “committee meeting” sat down, told they didn’t agree with the things purchased or money spent in the time I was there, and then said, “you’re employment here is final as of right now.“ I said, “that’s it?” They said “that’s it, nothing else needs to be said”. I got up, walked out. And that was that. And I’ll say this, I love everyone of your stories here, and can appreciate your willingness to share, and can also pray for your continued ministries… but as far as I’m concerned, I’ll never EVER trust church “leadership” ever again. I’m sick of the legalistic beaurocratic BS that has nothing to do with Jesus and His church. The church is the people…. and for a lot of these “churches” they’re just serving the almighty opinion/dollar/viewpoint/tradition. I’m done with it. I’ll be out here, from now on, sharing my love and passion for Jesus, WHERE the people are. Rant over. Also, I couldn’t be happier to be out of that mess.”

  23. Thank you, Pastor Joe,
    We were recently fired from our church positions, to which we gave our heart, soul, money, time, etc. My husband was the Worship Pastor and I the church secretary, Media, and sound person. We worked 7 days a week for part time pay. We have a small church, and are in decline, so my husband researched and suggested we find a consulting group to assist us in church growth. We had read “The Unstuck Church”, which also offers consulting services. We shared this with our Pastor and he chose to go with his brother-in-law’s consulting firm (Intentional Churches), which charged more than twice the amount as the group we found, and they only deal with large Mega churches. Well, we found out after we were fired, that Intentional Church had lied about their so-called communications with my husband. And one of their main reasons for wanting him gone was that he is legally blind. We are having such a difficult time with all of this. My husband is a fabulous musician and wonderful preacher. He filled in for our Pastor numerous times, and all was received so wonderfully. Please pray for us as we pray on how to move forward. We need to sell our house and our belongings to start over. If you have additional advice, we will be so happy to receive it. Blessings to you and your family. A friend of ours sent us you message and it really has helped us. Thank you again!

    • Ruth, small churches can do some truly ugly things because they fly under the radar and no newspaper or TV station is going to cover what happens the way they would if it were a huge church in a major city. I have no advice for you, other than a) the article which you read and b) to offer up my prayers that God will lead you. Perhaps y’all could start a church somewhere. God bless and lead you. –Joe

  24. Thanks for sharing. Encouraging. I recently was fired and feel angry, betrayed and rejected for no good reason. I know God is sovereign and in control but tough to not wallow in self pity. Please pray for me as I trust God for the next chapter in my life.

  25. So it’s been 4 years since the coup and I was fired from the church I started and did for 10 years after teaching in a public school for 34 years. Can I hope to hear from God as to whether this was His plan or that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I do not want to do anything to hurt His kingdom so I am laying quit low now at almost 70 in excellent health. My bitterness is growing and as of 9 months ago something snapped and I emotionally stopped caring about the gospel. Still believe in my head but I am not headed in a good direction. I think I could have more peace if I could just know the author of this situation.

    • Bradd, there is nothing better than doing the four actions of Luke 6:27ff toward those who do bad things to us: Do good, bless, pray, and give. These are not attitudes but actions. Make yourself get up and be proactive and do something good for some of these people, if you see them bless them, pray for them relentlessly, and when you have opportunity, give to them. It’s been some years now, so you may have to find an address for someone and just write them a letter. But take care that it’s a Christ-honoring, positive letter and not one that vents or blames or rehashes old ills. You want to bless these people. That’s the opposite of what the enemy wants. He wants you to “stop caring about the gospel” and grow bitter. So, don’t play into his hands. Do the opposite. Praying for you, my brother.

      • I have done that to a point the best I can. I know my strengths and weaknesses. If it is true that I am “harmful” to the church I started and God remains silent on that issue then I can not handle the stress of deep concern I have had for the lost for the last 40 years (which is now completely gone.). I will not hurt His kingdom to satisfy that concern if in truth I am only hurting the gospel. I need a clear “keep going” or “I never designed you to care so much about the lost”. Today my emotions are really scaring me. But I will keep my head on straight. Thanks

  26. It is oddly comforting to read that this type of thing happens to more people than I first believed possible. I guess I can understand that people are let go for one reason or another but I think we look to church leaders as though they will never hurt us so that when they do it’s so shocking and painful. Over a year ago, my husband was fired from being a youth pastor from the only church we had been to our entire marriage of 5 years at the time. We had been a part of a church plant for almost the entire time the church had been in existence. My husband had done whatever was asked of him while working towards his GED (odd situation is where he came from a past of educational neglect) going to college, and hoping to pursue the denominations credentialing but we couldn’t afford it on our own. Long story short, he spent the summer working hard on camp and then doing some of the pastor’s work while the pastor took the whole summer off basically. When he came back from his summer off he had the board come in and fire him and then had him meet with the pastor the next day. It wasn’t pretty… we didn’t even tell people we had been let go. Then his way of “reaching out” to us was a Facebook message asking if we wanted to talk about disagreements and encouraged us not to leave the church. Yet, when families found out they left the church and the pastor was probably upset with us. I was due to have our second son in a week when my husband was fired and I had unpaid leave from my job. He told my husband to tell the kids at youth that he was taking a new job to provide better for our family. He asked him to lie to make it not look as bad. It just hurt so much still. When I see the building it cuts deep as my husband remodeled a lot of the building, built the play ground, and spent a lot of time there. I feel like we were taken out of a family photo album and I lost my family when I really needed them most. Yet if I were to talk to anyone I’m sure they’d want to know what happened and I’m sure it was assumed that we did something wrong. With Covid it’s been hard to find any kind of healing because of the lack of access to church and I’m honestly fearful of seeking out a new one.

  27. December 16, 2020
    I am thankful for the posts on this sight and have a similar experience in the non profit sector, of which the church belongs. I was let go July 1 2019 after 3.5 years working for Smart Start NC. Unique, I thought was how these concepts are practices in the Church. I have had many of these experiences, I’ve had unemployment to turn to and won battles getting it everytime, as it is difficult…and people want to save their own skin so you relate to Joseph, David, Jobe, Neimiah….and it’s very painful…you learn about trust, faith. mercy, grace, suffering more deeply each time….you pray for your enemies, you reach out to friends who tire quickly as you grieve and you realize that our Savior went through this same painful type of experience when he was in Gasimene as the disciples slept and Judas sold him out. I have had many interviews without avail and one on 30th for a local Childrens Ministry Director…it bothers me to see what goes on in churches and as others read ty his my story is similar, leading rise to the attacks from the enemy..
    But mine has continued to battle after leaving…..Thank God for the blessings of those that stand up to tell the truth about the issues…i do have a question…as I pondered if God was telling me to go but did not open a door in the beginning…I was hired over the Chairmans daughter for my position as the Executive Director and Program Coordinator….i learned of it about a month after i the retiring ED and the Administrative Director…who happened to be involved in every aspect of the interview of her future boss and best friends of the daughter. But I can not go without saying that she was encouraged to apply by the retiring ED, who also lost her husband to an affair with the chairman many years before. Being the chosen, every 3 months I was brought up on some issue by the chairman that did not succeed, you know “no tool formed as against me”. I was protected in part due to the vice chair, who would not confront a campaign waged against me prior to starting, as I learned due to the war the chairman and her daughter tried with people in the community. The retiring ED wrote out the details of this war and filed it into my future computer….this became my defense along with the dissemination of it to the executive committee by emails. God put it in my hands two weeks before the end of my unemployment…which if I lost. I would have had to pay back….i prayed throughout the whole time, sought to get out the whole time with many interviews but no avail…which lead me to believe God had a purpose…but I am weak and do not want to continue to be done this way anymore and going into the ministry has me up in arms as I see how many of you have had similar experiences. So know it’s the fallen world we live in…and our testimonies to each other are a blessing…
    My question, should I have quite the first 3 month attack…i at the time chose to trust God and continue as he allowed the door to open…but I know w all this, they would never have th old me in the beginning when my decision was made to take the position….but did I hear wrong?
    I pray doors shut tight where I am not to go….

  28. Thank you for writing this post years ago, as it still rings with truth, comfort, and hope today. It confirms that there is nothing new under the sun; others have been in my shoes and recovered (even thrived), and I am not alone. There is peace in that knowledge, albeit elusive at this point in time while still in the wash of a swirling set of breakers.

    May God bless you as you no doubt continue to help siblings in Christ cope with painful circumstances (sadly inflicted by fellow Christian siblings). It’s true, I have already concluded and agree that: “…most of the deepest pains [I] have borne and the worst scars [I] carry… have been inflicted not by the enemy but by the Lord’s people.” Strangely enough, those words actually bring me comfort and healing, just as Ecclesiastes does. Life is not always fair, but that’s not how God designed it. It is in the midst of the unfairness that we realize we live in a sinful world, are part of said sinful world, and are, regretfully, contributors to said sinful world. This awareness challenges me to rise up even higher and embrace the imperfect (read: treat my neighbor—and enemy—as I would want to be treated).

    And while I walk with a permanent spiritual limp that will remain with me this side of heaven, it makes me all-the-more determined to NOT be one who inflicts, but one who walks beside those who have been cast aside.

    Philippians 1:9-11

  29. I have been so encouraged by this post and to learn of others who have experienced injustice perpetrated by other believers. I was called by God in 2012 to start a nonprofit that would serve women and children who were ensnared in human trafficking. Each year we grew by leaps and bounds as the Lord provided. I used my property and horses to provide equine assisted psychotherapy and learning and gave of all my time, resources and money to the ministry. I leased our home for a $1 a year so it could be used for residential foster care for minors. By 2020, we had a strong Christian team of 22, were financially sustainable and were seeing lives impacted and having wonderful outcomes. We had purchased two properties to open as Emergency Assessment Centers and we were all praising God, then the unthinkable happened. I found out my husband had been having an affair, injured my knee, had a Board member go behind my back to try to get my job and was then threatened by another Board member that if I didn’t go along with her agenda regarding one of the new properties we were renovating that she would remove me for “founders syndrome”. She also was upset that I let our finance person go even though I found evidence that she was incompetent and was self dealing. There was also a pastor on our Board who convinced the other “Christian” board members that it was their Christian duty to remove me. This pastor went to the two people that had been released for good cause and had them write their unsworn affidavits claiming I had done things or not done things that showed I was unfit to lead. All of it was lies. On August 21, 2020, all of the Board, their attorney, and my replacement stormed into our office with the police and fired me and tried to have me removed in the most humiliating way possible in front of my staff. Everyone was traumatized. They waited the 6 months from the time they started plotting to gain control because they thought I would be divorced and would have no way to fight back. Since then, I have suffered slander, libel, loss of income with the inability to get a job locally due to the pastor’s rantings about m from the pulpit, the press release he put in the local paper and the letters he sent to all of our donors. Their malice didn’t stop with destroying my reputation, taking away the ministry and my source of income. They are now trying to claim that my property, equipment and horses all belong to them. None of my personal property was ever donated for their possession, I was just letting the ministry use it. There are no transactions on the books of me donating any of it to them. I don’t think they thought it through when they removed me. They didn’t realize so much of the resources belonged to me. Ironically, the put a statement on the tax return for 2019 that I was commingling and self-dealing. I never profited from the ministry and only took a below average paycheck the last year of the 8 years I served the ministry.
    I am happy to report that I am not divorced, but I am still unable to find work. I am continuing to battle in court over all this to keep what is mine and to expose them. I learned after the fact that the Board woman (only woman on the Board), their attorney and the Interim Executive Director have done this same thing to 3 other Christian nonprofits. I believe I was chosen by God to stop them and expose the corruption occurring within the anti-trafficking movement, including a corrupt judge in our County. I will continue to bless, pray and give, but will stay the course for justice for the ministry. They fleeced it and now the woman is on another Christian nonprofit’s board. Evil needs to be exposed.
    A remnant of the original ministry team has started a new ministry. God is blessing and I am healing. Please pray for us.

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