Over my years of church consulting, I’ve paid attention to why staff members are fired. Here are the primary reasons I’ve seen, listed in no order of precedence.
- Moral failure. Pornography and affairs are by far the most cited failures that lead to firing.
- Integrity issues. It’s tough to keep on the team somebody that nobody trusts anymore. My anecdotal evidence is that credibility is most often destroyed by telling lies and breaking confidences.
- Power plays. Most of the time, the power play has been a staff member who wanted to be (and still wants to be) the pastor. And, just FYI—sometimes this staff member is the one most recommends an outside consultation . . . .
- Poor work ethic. Maybe the better word here is “laziness.” A staff member who comes in late, produces little, and leaves early doesn’t often last long if the leader holds him or her accountable.
- Vision conflicts. Competing visions seldom work in a church. Hence, a staff member who’s not on board with the pastor’s overall vision sometimes finds himself looking for a new job.
- Theological mismatch. Some churches give too little attention to theology, but pastors who do sometimes discover they’ve inherited staff members with aberrant theology.
- Personality conflicts. The reason for firing may be as simple as, “He just doesn’t fit our team well.” Churches often help this person find another job elsewhere, but he can’t stay on the current team.
- Marital problems. Some churches support a staff member who is seemingly not at fault for a marriage problem, but not every church. In some cases, divorce = dismissal.
- Team disloyalty. Few people want to work with a staff member who undercuts their work and talks about them behind their backs.
- Pastoral insecurity. Most often, the pastor rather than the staff member is the issue here. He doesn’t want anybody on his team he perceives as a threat to his authority or popularity—and he often has a track record of firing people.
What would you add to this list?