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CC-How would you take this advice from your Pastor?


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Sorry this is long. I tried to condense as much as possible without leaving out pertinent info.

 

This is a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. The Pastor is responsible for the spiritual guidance of the congregation, but not the business affairs of the church. His termination can be recommended by the elders.

 

I have been having trouble with 2 other parishioners in our church for over a year now. I am church treasurer and the complete board of christian education. We are a very small church, about 100 members, about 55 of which attend and 15 who actively participate in keeping the church's business. One of the parishioners was the treasurer before me. he has no accounting or bookkeeping knowledge or background. When i took over I realized that the books had not been kept properly and certain practices went against IRS regulations that we were required to follow regarding payroll and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) that businesses are expected to follow. I brought it to the attention of the elders, the council and the congregation when I wasn't access to the information I needed to complete my job properly. I ended up having to have the bylaws changed. This man refuses to participate but the minute I speak in a council meeting or voter's assembly is actively trying to shoot down any of my propositions and is extremely negative towards me, even disdainful at times. His wife recently organized a secret social committee meeting. I have been active in the past even though I haven't been a voting member of the committee. Her and her husband have quit announcing meetings that I need to attend. When I brought this up in the council meeting I was yelled at and told that if I wanted to attend the meetings of a board I should have signed up to be a voting member of the board back in November. In our church, you don't have to be a voting member to attend or speak at meetings and they are commonly announced at church so that anyone who wishes to attend can. The woman quit teaching Sunday school when I took over the board; told me she didn't have time, but then 3 months later is chairing the social committee. The man is 1 of 3 elders.

 

So I've been struggling with them and their trying to ostracize me for the last year. After this last council meeting where I had both of them yelling at me I called Pastor (who was in attendance at the meeting) and asked him how I can resolve this problem. he told me I couldn't, but I asked him how to resolve it in my heart so that i wouldn't be bitter and could continue my service at our church. he told me that people behave like they are in 3rd grade, that's just the way it is, some people will never get along and those who can't get along should find another church. The last part is the same advice I got from him about 6 months ago on the issue.

 

Does it sound like he's telling me to tow the line or leave? Isn't it his job to give my spiritual guidance on how to deal with the situation? Isn't it his job to try to mediate the situation? How can a church that wishes to grow adapt this attitude? I couldn't even attend church Sunday because his advice to me and his attitude about it is so contrary to what he preaches from the pulpit. Dh, not a member of the church, says to get out now. Of course, he's been telling me that for awhile now. I volunteer several hours a week to this church. I felt led her 2 years ago, but now I think it may be time to leave. I know there are bullies every where, but if the pastor refuses to help should I stand alone and fight and possible divide the church or should I just leave?

 

Thanks for your input. I've been praying and talking, but you ladies always have great advice.

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He's telling you that even though you are following proper Biblical procedure - go to the person first, then go to someone else (the pastor in this case) to go with you to confront them, that he (the pastor) isn't willing to rock the boat. Honestly, I would do as he suggested and find another church. It sounds like they will lose a very valuable member of their congregation and might even end up suffering fines and the loss of their non-profit status if they put this man back into this position or put someone else there who cannot stand up against him. :grouphug:

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:iagree: This man does not meet the biblical criteria of an elder. He should not be in any leadership positions at the church. I would consider going to the pastor and show him the scriptures in Timothy and Titus that tell what an elder should be like and explain that you will need to leave if this man isn't removed from any and all leadership positions at your church. But since you've already talked with him about this issue more than once, I think you'd be well within your rights to tell him that you've decided to follow his advice and find another congregation.

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This is just my impression, but I don't think you will ever feel "safe" under this man's leadership :glare:. I realize it is very hard to walk away from the investment you have made, but there is greater and healthier things outthere.

 

:grouphug:'s to you. Take care of you!

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Thank you all, :grouphug:

Simka-It's funny you mention feeling safe. Dh said the same thing. Church is supposed to be someplace to feel loved and safe and these people have made it not possible for me.

 

I hate to walk out on my obligations, but with the pastor's attitude I don't see how I can stay until the end of the year. If I stay in the Missouri Synod ring of churches, not finishing my obligation will follow me.

 

Although, I'm not sure, upon further review of the doctrine, that I agree with all of the LCMS beliefs.

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Here are a couple of things I would do;

 

1. Resign your position overseeing the finances. Do this in a certified letter and in it state that you cannot continue in that position because of the church's unwillingness to follow IRS guidelines. Be specific. In the event that the IRS comes after them in the future, you want to have something that shows that you were not a part of mishandling the books.

 

2. It's probablly time to move on. No one is willing to address this bully, and it sounds like the congregation is participating (by attending secret meetings and not letting you know). I would be out. of. there. That's not how Christ would do business, imo.

 

:grouphug: I'm very sorry. Leaving a church is very difficult, particularly under such circumstances.

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Thank you all, :grouphug:

Simka-It's funny you mention feeling safe. Dh said the same thing. Church is supposed to be someplace to feel loved and safe and these people have made it not possible for me.

 

I hate to walk out on my obligations, but with the pastor's attitude I don't see how I can stay until the end of the year. If I stay in the Missouri Synod ring of churches, not finishing my obligation will follow me.

 

Although, I'm not sure, upon further review of the doctrine, that I agree with all of the LCMS beliefs.

 

....and this is a whole 'nuther ball o wax ;)! but an important one. Thankfully there is a wealth of information out there, and you get to "talk" with a very diverse group here!

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Here are a couple of things I would do;

 

1. Resign your position overseeing the finances. Do this in a certified letter and in it state that you cannot continue in that position because of the church's unwillingness to follow IRS guidelines. Be specific. In the event that the IRS comes after them in the future, you want to have something that shows that you were not a part of mishandling the books.

 

2. It's probablly time to move on. No one is willing to address this bully, and it sounds like the congregation is participating (by attending secret meetings and not letting you know). I would be out. of. there. That's not how Christ would do business, imo.

 

:grouphug: I'm very sorry. Leaving a church is very difficult, particularly under such circumstances.

 

:iagree::iagree:

 

Be warned. If you choose to leave, you will go through the stages of grief. :grouphug:

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Agree with the above answers.

 

I'd leave now. Be civil. If pastor asks why you're leaving, tell him the truth without rancor. Just politely bow out and say it doesn't seem to be a good fit for you. He's not going to change.

 

You can find a better place than this. Every church has its problems, because they're full of sinners, but you can at least find sinners who will work with you and each other to resolve conflict.

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My dh is the treasurer of our church and has extensive business accounting experience though he is now a computer professional and he says, gently but with urgency, to please the church. A sitting treasurer can be held accountable for the actions of previous treasurers. It's not fair but it is an IRS rule. So, if they are making the situation untenable for you to get their affairs in order, then you need to leave so that you can not be blamed for any future misdoings. Even if you stay and they appoint someone else to the position, given the current climate, if their 501c status ends up in jeopardy, they may try to come back on you instead of this elder that they are protecting.

 

I'm really, really sorry this is happening to you. Some churches are very above board with their finances, some are not so above board but it's out of ignorance and they just need to educate themselves and get their house's in order, others just plain refuse to admit their are problems and are desperate to maintain the status quo because that is easy or they have something to hide. The later two are situations you don't want to be caught in. It's not just churches either...there are a lot of secular 501C's that don't want to go to the work to be truly accountable and on the right side of the law.

 

Faith

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Here are a couple of things I would do;

 

1. Resign your position overseeing the finances. Do this in a certified letter and in it state that you cannot continue in that position because of the church's unwillingness to follow IRS guidelines. Be specific. In the event that the IRS comes after them in the future, you want to have something that shows that you were not a part of mishandling the books.

 

2. It's probablly time to move on. No one is willing to address this bully, and it sounds like the congregation is participating (by attending secret meetings and not letting you know). I would be out. of. there. That's not how Christ would do business, imo.

 

:grouphug: I'm very sorry. Leaving a church is very difficult, particularly under such circumstances.

 

:iagree: :grouphug:

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1. Resign your position overseeing the finances. Do this in a certified letter and in it state that you cannot continue in that position because of the church's unwillingness to follow IRS guidelines. Be specific. In the event that the IRS comes after them in the future, you want to have something that shows that you were not a part of mishandling the books.

 

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree: A treasurer can be in very hot water if the IRS decides to go after this church. Please protect yourself. Also- by doing this in this matter, you are letting them know how serious this is.

 

P.S. If you do decide that you want to stay in that denomination, this letter should go a long way to clearing your own reputation. If other churches ignore it, then you know right there that there is a problem.

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Does it sound like he's telling me to tow the line or leave? Yes. Isn't it his job to give my spiritual guidance on how to deal with the situation? Yes, but he doesn't intend to. Isn't it his job to try to mediate the situation? Yes, but he thinks it will be useless and doesn't want to. How can a church that wishes to grow adapt this attitude? It can't. It will eventually die out. I couldn't even attend church Sunday because his advice to me and his attitude about it is so contrary to what he preaches from the pulpit. Dh, not a member of the church, says to get out now. Of course, he's been telling me that for awhile now. I volunteer several hours a week to this church. I felt led her 2 years ago, but now I think it may be time to leave. I know there are bullies every where, Actually, no there aren't. There are some churches in which bullying of that degree would never be allowed to happen.but if the pastor refuses to help should I stand alone and fightonly if you like throwing pearls before swine and possible divide the church or should I just leave?

 

Thanks for your input. I've been praying and talking, but you ladies always have great advice.

 

From what you've written here, it sounds like the church has a tight power structure and you came in and rocked the boat. Given what you've said, I would move on.

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Sorry this is long. I tried to condense as much as possible without leaving out pertinent info.

 

This is a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. The Pastor is responsible for the spiritual guidance of the congregation, but not the business affairs of the church. His termination can be recommended by the elders.

 

I have been having trouble with 2 other parishioners in our church for over a year now. I am church treasurer and the complete board of christian education. We are a very small church, about 100 members, about 55 of which attend and 15 who actively participate in keeping the church's business. One of the parishioners was the treasurer before me. he has no accounting or bookkeeping knowledge or background. When i took over I realized that the books had not been kept properly and certain practices went against IRS regulations that we were required to follow regarding payroll and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) that businesses are expected to follow. I brought it to the attention of the elders, the council and the congregation when I wasn't access to the information I needed to complete my job properly. I ended up having to have the bylaws changed. This man refuses to participate but the minute I speak in a council meeting or voter's assembly is actively trying to shoot down any of my propositions and is extremely negative towards me, even disdainful at times. His wife recently organized a secret social committee meeting. I have been active in the past even though I haven't been a voting member of the committee. Her and her husband have quit announcing meetings that I need to attend. When I brought this up in the council meeting I was yelled at and told that if I wanted to attend the meetings of a board I should have signed up to be a voting member of the board back in November. In our church, you don't have to be a voting member to attend or speak at meetings and they are commonly announced at church so that anyone who wishes to attend can. The woman quit teaching Sunday school when I took over the board; told me she didn't have time, but then 3 months later is chairing the social committee. The man is 1 of 3 elders.

 

So I've been struggling with them and their trying to ostracize me for the last year. After this last council meeting where I had both of them yelling at me I called Pastor (who was in attendance at the meeting) and asked him how I can resolve this problem. he told me I couldn't, but I asked him how to resolve it in my heart so that i wouldn't be bitter and could continue my service at our church. he told me that people behave like they are in 3rd grade, that's just the way it is, some people will never get along and those who can't get along should find another church. The last part is the same advice I got from him about 6 months ago on the issue.

 

Does it sound like he's telling me to tow the line or leave? Isn't it his job to give my spiritual guidance on how to deal with the situation? Isn't it his job to try to mediate the situation? How can a church that wishes to grow adapt this attitude? I couldn't even attend church Sunday because his advice to me and his attitude about it is so contrary to what he preaches from the pulpit. Dh, not a member of the church, says to get out now. Of course, he's been telling me that for awhile now. I volunteer several hours a week to this church. I felt led her 2 years ago, but now I think it may be time to leave. I know there are bullies every where, but if the pastor refuses to help should I stand alone and fight and possible divide the church or should I just leave?

 

Thanks for your input. I've been praying and talking, but you ladies always have great advice.

 

You have two options. Run or go above their heads. In the Missouri Synod, it doesn't end at the elders within your church; there are higher authorities in the Synod ;) You still will probably face slander and shunning, but it would be a heads up to them about mismanagement before you would have to leave.

 

I'm sorry you are dealing with this.

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Thanks. I hadn't thought of sending a certified letter with specifics to the church. I've brought it up at council meetings and voter assemblies so it is part of the church record, but the way this church does business it wouldn't surprise me if they changed their records.

 

This elder keeps insisting that they are too small to follow GAAP and certain IRS regulations. He insists that the IRS has no rights regarding the church's finances. I've shown him the proof and had the district treasurer back me up.

 

Typing this all out, it really sounds bad. I've tried so hard to make them see and some of the congregation does see, but no one is willing to stand by my side, least of all those in positions of power.

 

I know there are sinners everywhere, which is why i've tried to make this church work for so long. There are a few churches, within and with out my denomination that I plan to visit.

 

Thanks for all the :grouphug:, well wishes and advice. I need to protect myself and my family.

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You have two options. Run or go above their heads. In the Missouri Synod, it doesn't end at the elders within your church; there are higher authorities in the Synod ;) You still will probably face slander and shunning, but it would be a heads up to them about mismanagement before you would have to leave.

 

I'm sorry you are dealing with this.

 

I hadn't thought of that, but now, thinking of it I'm not sure. There was another church in our district that had similar power structure problems and our district president was notified and didn't even interview all the people involved in the situation. The church ended up splitting.

 

The district treasurer and LCEF VP for our district are aware of the problems. I've been discussing these issues with them for over a year.

 

The issues have been resolved on paper, but the church isn't following them. It's so frustrating!

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As previous posters said you need to get out. You need to send a certified letter to the church, cc the pastor and elders explaining how they don't meet accounting standard, cite IRS code showing that it does apply to this small congregate. You might cc the next higher governing body as well.

 

It sounds like you have an accounting background, possibly a CPA? You need this documentation to protect yourself. If you have any accounting training and licenses you could be held to a higher standard for these issues.

 

Once you get that squared away, take a deep breath, let yourself decompress before committing to a new church. You can attend without joining for a while.

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Thank you all, :grouphug:

Simka-It's funny you mention feeling safe. Dh said the same thing. Church is supposed to be someplace to feel loved and safe and these people have made it not possible for me.

 

I hate to walk out on my obligations, but with the pastor's attitude I don't see how I can stay until the end of the year. If I stay in the Missouri Synod ring of churches, not finishing my obligation will follow me.

 

Although, I'm not sure, upon further review of the doctrine, that I agree with all of the LCMS beliefs.

 

There's always the WELS. We'd love to have you! :001_smile:

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I hadn't thought of that, but now, thinking of it I'm not sure. There was another church in our district that had similar power structure problems and our district president was notified and didn't even interview all the people involved in the situation. The church ended up splitting.

 

The district treasurer and LCEF VP for our district are aware of the problems. I've been discussing these issues with them for over a year.

 

The issues have been resolved on paper, but the church isn't following them. It's so frustrating!

 

Time to write an official letter (one that you retain a copy of) to protect yourself and bail.

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Thanks. I hadn't thought of sending a certified letter with specifics to the church. I've brought it up at council meetings and voter assemblies so it is part of the church record, but the way this church does business it wouldn't surprise me if they changed their records.

 

This elder keeps insisting that they are too small to follow GAAP and certain IRS regulations. He insists that the IRS has no rights regarding the church's finances. I've shown him the proof and had the district treasurer back me up.

 

Typing this all out, it really sounds bad. I've tried so hard to make them see and some of the congregation does see, but no one is willing to stand by my side, least of all those in positions of power.

 

I know there are sinners everywhere, which is why i've tried to make this church work for so long. There are a few churches, within and with out my denomination that I plan to visit.

 

Thanks for all the :grouphug:, well wishes and advice. I need to protect myself and my family.

 

Re: bold, he is sadly mistaken. Yes, you've done your best...time to protect self & family...you're beyond reproach on this.

 

and I'd consider sending a copy of your resignation letter through the mail to yourself, post-marked and un-opened, and into a personal safety deposit box. Then you have a time-stamped record that you knew and tried to correct the problem, in case you are ever drawn into an IRS investigation.

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As previous posters said you need to get out. You need to send a certified letter to the church, cc the pastor and elders explaining how they don't meet accounting standard, cite IRS code showing that it does apply to this small congregate. You might cc the next higher governing body as well.

 

It sounds like you have an accounting background, possibly a CPA? You need this documentation to protect yourself. If you have any accounting training and licenses you could be held to a higher standard for these issues.

 

Once you get that squared away, take a deep breath, let yourself decompress before committing to a new church. You can attend without joining for a while.

 

Yes, I am a certified bookkeeper, registered with the IRS to prepare taxes and work seasonally as a tax professional. This could affect my livelihood. As well as come back on me personally since the church doesn't have an errors and omissions insurance policy.

 

I plan to visit a few churches and not get involved right away. I have to hold myself back. I tend to jump with both feet and not make sure it's safe.

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and I'd consider sending a copy of your resignation letter through the mail to yourself, post-marked and un-opened, and into a personal safety deposit box. Then you have a time-stamped record that you knew and tried to correct the problem, in case you are ever drawn into an IRS investigation.

 

this is a great idea! Thanks!

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I agree with the other posters who say to get out. Resign with documentation.

 

I am a firm believer that if we are not following the path that God has planned for us, road blocks will be placed in our way. WE can choose to go over and under these road blocks...but he will just keep placing them there over and over. That is what I hear when I read you post. I hear him trying to nudge you a different direction. I hear you trying to stay on a path to fulfill a commitment you made to man. I don't hear you having a crisis moment in your faith that you need to battle and win.....I hear you having a critical battle with man...with mans laws....with people...with power. These are battles, worth walking away from.

 

Open your heart to Gods path and plan. Ask him what path he has placed before you that you are no seeing due to this battle with man you are having.

 

Sometimes, I think that our path has many, many small stopovers like this one for you. You were supposed to be involved with this situation, but only as far as you have been, and now it is time to move on.

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I would get out now, before the church finds a way to turn this back around on you. Before alerting anyone at the church as to my plans, I would get legal counsel, even if it s informally from a friend who is a lawyer, on what exactly you need to do to cover your self in case the plot thickens or the IRS goes after the church. Maybe even make copies of everything you have access to.

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Okay, so I was planning to leave before posting here, but all of your responses have encouraged me.

 

I have another question. Isn't it wrong to just abruptly quit? I mean, this is basically a bookkeeping position we are talking about here. If I quit today, they need to have someone to pay the bills tomorrow. I'm feeling a bit guilty about this. Although, the elder that's been giving me problems will probably step in.

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Okay, so I was planning to leave before posting here, but all of your responses have encouraged me.

 

I have another question. Isn't it wrong to just abruptly quit? I mean, this is basically a bookkeeping position we are talking about here. If I quit today, they need to have someone to pay the bills tomorrow. I'm feeling a bit guilty about this. Although, the elder that's been giving me problems will probably step in.

 

I think the pastor made it clear that it is ok if you just quit.

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Cheryl, it's okay to quit and here is why. They've pushed you beyond the boundaries of your conscience, your morals, and your ethics. It's wrong to assume you will continue to do something you have ethical problem with and you've warned this pastor more than once of what is going on....he has not exhibited a correct attitude. You've given warning, they refuse to rectify the situation, you have told them this is wrong, and they persist. Guess what? They have to face the consequences of their actions which is....no pay check tomorrow if that is what you choose. I highly recommend that you don't go back to this church. If you have personal items, call the pastor, demand that he meet you at the church to unlock so you can retrieve them and tender your resignation, and let him worry about the paychecks come tomorrow. There is nothing like missing out on your money to make you rethink the ill treatment of your treasurer.

 

Seriously, we are not confrontational people and we prefer to be at peace with other Christians and work towards peaceful resolutions with others. Therefore, I don't say any of this lightly. But, this is just over the line by a long ways so peacefully is not an option!

 

Faith

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I agree with the other posters who say to get out. Resign with documentation.

 

I am a firm believer that if we are not following the path that God has planned for us, road blocks will be placed in our way. WE can choose to go over and under these road blocks...but he will just keep placing them there over and over. That is what I hear when I read you post. I hear him trying to nudge you a different direction. I hear you trying to stay on a path to fulfill a commitment you made to man. I don't hear you having a crisis moment in your faith that you need to battle and win.....I hear you having a critical battle with man...with mans laws....with people...with power. These are battles, worth walking away from.

 

 

:iagree:OH yeah, i'm completely in agreement here. God's moving you, and you will someday look back and understand why. btdt. :grouphug:

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Thanks everyone. I've been working on my resignation letter for the last few hours (off and on). I have documentation of every time I notified the council and congregation of the law. So I will keep that along with my copy of the certified letter, unopened and post marked.

 

You know, it's funny. Every time someone posts something like this (a no-brainer) I always kind of chuckle to myself. "Can't they see how bad the situation is?" Now that I'm in the thick of one of these situations I can appreciate how hard it is to actually make a decision!

 

I thank God for all of you virtual friends.

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You have two options. Run or go above their heads. In the Missouri Synod, it doesn't end at the elders within your church; there are higher authorities in the Synod ;) You still will probably face slander and shunning, but it would be a heads up to them about mismanagement before you would have to leave.

 

I'm sorry you are dealing with this.

 

:iagree::iagree: Yes, you should go to the denominational/district level- whatever it is called. Document the facts (dates, transactions) and send it certified to the proper folks. It is better for you to do this FIRST before your name and reputation could be maligned by this elder/pastor.'

The powers that be also need to know that the dealings of this elder are not scriptural and the pastor is a coward.

 

I'm so sorry you're going thru this- you're brave and it's evident you want to do the right thing. But, you need to protect yourself. Maybe even a visit with a lawyer would be a good idea.

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This is a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. The Pastor is responsible for the spiritual guidance of the congregation, but not the business affairs of the church. His termination can be recommended by the elders.

 

I have been having trouble with 2 other parishioners in our church for over a year now. I am church treasurer and the complete board of christian education. We are a very small church, about 100 members, about 55 of which attend and 15 who actively participate in keeping the church's business. One of the parishioners was the treasurer before me. he has no accounting or bookkeeping knowledge or background. When i took over I realized that the books had not been kept properly and certain practices went against IRS regulations that we were required to follow regarding payroll and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) that businesses are expected to follow. I brought it to the attention of the elders, the council and the congregation when I wasn't access to the information I needed to complete my job properly. I ended up having to have the bylaws changed. This man refuses to participate but the minute I speak in a council meeting or voter's assembly is actively trying to shoot down any of my propositions and is extremely negative towards me, even disdainful at times. His wife recently organized a secret social committee meeting. I have been active in the past even though I haven't been a voting member of the committee. Her and her husband have quit announcing meetings that I need to attend. When I brought this up in the council meeting I was yelled at and told that if I wanted to attend the meetings of a board I should have signed up to be a voting member of the board back in November. In our church, you don't have to be a voting member to attend or speak at meetings and they are commonly announced at church so that anyone who wishes to attend can. The woman quit teaching Sunday school when I took over the board; told me she didn't have time, but then 3 months later is chairing the social committee. The man is 1 of 3 elders.

 

So I've been struggling with them and their trying to ostracize me for the last year. After this last council meeting where I had both of them yelling at me I called Pastor (who was in attendance at the meeting) and asked him how I can resolve this problem. he told me I couldn't, but I asked him how to resolve it in my heart so that i wouldn't be bitter and could continue my service at our church. he told me that people behave like they are in 3rd grade, that's just the way it is, some people will never get along and those who can't get along should find another church. The last part is the same advice I got from him about 6 months ago on the issue.

 

Does it sound like he's telling me to tow the line or leave? Isn't it his job to give my spiritual guidance on how to deal with the situation? Isn't it his job to try to mediate the situation? How can a church that wishes to grow adapt this attitude?

 

 

I'm Missouri Synod myself, by conviction and membership.

 

I would say, first, that I'm really shocked that your pastor is not always at the Council meetings. Am I understanding that correctly? That is without precedent in my experience. I wonder what that says about him or about the church? Does it say that he is gearing down toward retirement? Does it say that the church prefers to run things without him? Does it say that he hates meetings and is shirking them?

 

I would say, secondly, that a lot of how this kind of thing goes has to do with 'how' instead of 'what' is said.

It sounds like you surfaced some very important issues, and some people got embarrassed by either that fact or how that was communicated. I encourage you to think about that question--was it the 'what' or the 'how' that started the difficulty? And could it have ever been implied that there was misappropriation of funds? Because that determines what to do next, IMO.

If you think about this and in your heart of hearts believe that you have contributed to the rift by the 'how' of what was surfaced a year ago, then I encourage you to prayerfully consider trying to heal that wound one on one, in a very peaceful way, with the previous treasurer--not backing down on the issue, but saying something like, "I've been thinking about it, and although I did need to bring this problem to the church's attention, I should have gone further in trying to make it clear that you've taken on a tough job and done it more effectively than anyone else in the church would have done. I want us to get along well--we are brothers and sisters in Christ." In any spiritually sane situation, that should resolve it. If it doesn't, then by all means consider shaking the dust off your feet as others have said. If there is malfeasance beyond incompetance, fury will ensue, and you should add your words and the response to your documentation. Then move out, very quickly, and in a well-documented way, as others have said. Think about calling for an outside audit as well.

 

Lastly, chances are that most of the people in the church are in sympathy with you if people are yelling at you and you're just trying to do what is right and keep the peace. I don't agree with your pastor's approach, and I would be concerned about whether he is spiritually weak. He should be talking to that couple and asking them to change their ways. It may be, though, that he is doing that but is also protecting their privacy as they work through this with him. It doesn't sound like it, though. Still, I would prayerfully consider whether that might be the case before I made any final decision.

 

I agree with you that it's much easier to be discerning on other people's behalf than on your own. It's much easier to tell someone to leave a bad situation than it is to do so. And that is how it should be. We are the body of Christ. We are supposed to love and care for each other. We are supposed to regard each other as family--annoying at times, but still basically related and committed to each other. And yet at times we do have to move on. Kudos to you for having difficulty with this--it means that you're on the right track spiritually. If only the whole church and pastor were there with you. So in conclusion, I would say that I hope that you can find another church to join before you leave this one, so that you're not running from something bad, but running TO something better. :grouphug:

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I'm Missouri Synod myself, by conviction and membership.

 

I would say, first, that I'm really shocked that your pastor is not always at the Council meetings. Am I understanding that correctly? That is without precedent in my experience. I wonder what that says about him or about the church? Does it say that he is gearing down toward retirement? Does it say that the church prefers to run things without him? Does it say that he hates meetings and is shirking them?

 

I would say, secondly, that a lot of how this kind of thing goes has to do with 'how' instead of 'what' is said.

It sounds like you surfaced some very important issues, and some people got embarrassed by either that fact or how that was communicated. I encourage you to think about that question--was it the 'what' or the 'how' that started the difficulty? And could it have ever been implied that there was misappropriation of funds? Because that determines what to do next, IMO.

If you think about this and in your heart of hearts believe that you have contributed to the rift by the 'how' of what was surfaced a year ago, then I encourage you to prayerfully consider trying to heal that wound one on one, in a very peaceful way, with the previous treasurer--not backing down on the issue, but saying something like, "I've been thinking about it, and although I did need to bring this problem to the church's attention, I should have gone further in trying to make it clear that you've taken on a tough job and done it more effectively than anyone else in the church would have done. I want us to get along well--we are brothers and sisters in Christ." In any spiritually sane situation, that should resolve it. If it doesn't, then by all means consider shaking the dust off your feet as others have said. If there is malfeasance beyond incompetance, fury will ensue, and you should add your words and the response to your documentation. Then move out, very quickly, and in a well-documented way, as others have said. Think about calling for an outside audit as well.

 

Lastly, chances are that most of the people in the church are in sympathy with you if people are yelling at you and you're just trying to do what is right and keep the peace. I don't agree with your pastor's approach, and I would be concerned about whether he is spiritually weak. He should be talking to that couple and asking them to change their ways. It may be, though, that he is doing that but is also protecting their privacy as they work through this with him. It doesn't sound like it, though. Still, I would prayerfully consider whether that might be the case before I made any final decision.

 

I agree with you that it's much easier to be discerning on other people's behalf than on your own. It's much easier to tell someone to leave a bad situation than it is to do so. And that is how it should be. We are the body of Christ. We are supposed to love and care for each other. We are supposed to regard each other as family--annoying at times, but still basically related and committed to each other. And yet at times we do have to move on. Kudos to you for having difficulty with this--it means that you're on the right track spiritually. If only the whole church and pastor were there with you. So in conclusion, I would say that I hope that you can find another church to join before you leave this one, so that you're not running from something bad, but running TO something better. :grouphug:

 

Thanks for your insight. I did the soul searching a year ago about "how" I brought the needed changes to light. I apologized personally and publicly and acknowledged the good job the previous treasurer did. What's been going on for the last year was after the apology.

 

Our Pastor was at the council meeting that I was yelled at. He was able to re-word what I was trying to say and stop the yelling. He did not admonish the ones yelling at me. I simply requested the meetings be posted so that newcomers to our church see what we have to offer. He attends most council meetings, but does not always attend other meetings. He came to us 2 years ago from a severely split church and doesn't wish to engage in any bickering. The problem is that he refuses to re-direct those who wish to bicker and cause trouble. Instead, he talks about them behind their back to the person they have problems with. I know this, because he has told me before that these 2 people are out of control and need to be "reigned in". So you can see how it would be hurtful when he dismisses my hurt feelings and plea for spiritual guidance on how to heal my own heart so that I can continue serving in this church.

 

I wish this were a different situation, but I've tried to resolve it several times over the last year, while putting myself, my job outside of work and my family in financial danger. A treasurer can be held personally liable for inaccurate books. It's a small risk that the IRS will look at us and/or sanction us for not following guidelines, but it's a risk and I've simply tried to follow the law. It doesn't go against God's law, so in this case, man's law should be followed.

 

I do appreciate your input though as a fellow LCMS member. We will be visiting another LCMS church that is twice as far from home, 30 minutes, but if it's a fit, that will be good. Maybe their pastor can answer my doctrinal questions.

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Just a quick thought. When I read your pastor's response to you, I thought he was saying the other couple should leave without saying the other couple. I didnt take it that he was saying you should leave. As the pastor, he cant really say "so and so should leave". KWIM? To me, it wasnt really clear who he was talking about. Perhapes he was offering condolences without being specific?? I know that depends on his tone too.

 

Even though I had those thoughts, it doesnt change the fact that the church is not corecting their IRS violations. That is a big problem. I think everyone gave you some good advice.

I think your pastor is immature and isnt quite prepared to lead a congregation. If he alredy came from a split church before, you can bet he had an opportunity to act as the mediator and didnt do it. Just like he did with you. I would find it very hard to put myself under his leadership. Isn't a shepherd suppose to protect the flock?

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Something I have learned from years of church membership in churches in the south...the elders rule the roost. They WILL call the shots. You have absolutely no control over that and neither does the pastor. He is not willing to be involved because he is not willing to lose his position within the church.

 

Is it Biblical? No. Is it Christian-like? Absolutely Not. Will they have to answer for it one day? You betcha!

 

Get out, now...But only if you are also hearing this from God in your prayers for help. If He wants you there, then He has a purpose for you there...strife and all. That is something I had to deal with time and again at my current church. I kept saying GOD...WHY????????? Can't I leave yet??? PLEASE??? And He kept saying, "Not yet." Now, I know why. He had a plan for me and he is using me and others in that church to make a change. Be still and listen...

Edited by Tree House Academy
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Thanks for your insight. I did the soul searching a year ago about "how" I brought the needed changes to light. I apologized personally and publicly and acknowledged the good job the previous treasurer did. What's been going on for the last year was after the apology.

 

Well, then you have truly bent over backwards in this difficult situation. I admire you for it. It's not easy to do that. Good for you for showing such grace.

 

Our Pastor was at the council meeting that I was yelled at. He was able to re-word what I was trying to say and stop the yelling. He did not admonish the ones yelling at me. I simply requested the meetings be posted so that newcomers to our church see what we have to offer. He attends most council meetings, but does not always attend other meetings. He came to us 2 years ago from a severely split church and doesn't wish to engage in any bickering. The problem is that he refuses to re-direct those who wish to bicker and cause trouble. Instead, he talks about them behind their back to the person they have problems with. I know this, because he has told me before that these 2 people are out of control and need to be "reigned in". So you can see how it would be hurtful when he dismisses my hurt feelings and plea for spiritual guidance on how to heal my own heart so that I can continue serving in this church.

 

It sounds like he is trying to placate everybody. It's hard to know how someone like that really thinks. I hope for and expect more leadership from a pastor.

 

I wish this were a different situation, but I've tried to resolve it several times over the last year, while putting myself, my job outside of work and my family in financial danger. A treasurer can be held personally liable for inaccurate books. It's a small risk that the IRS will look at us and/or sanction us for not following guidelines, but it's a risk and I've simply tried to follow the law. It doesn't go against God's law, so in this case, man's law should be followed.

You can't let this hurt you professionally. That's just not right. I think that you have already gone the distance here.

 

I do appreciate your input though as a fellow LCMS member. We will be visiting another LCMS church that is twice as far from home, 30 minutes, but if it's a fit, that will be good. Maybe their pastor can answer my doctrinal questions.

 

Do you have the book "A Summary of Christian Doctrine" by Koehler? That's the most definitive laity-friendly description of LCMS doctrine that I know of. Maybe you'd like to take a look at it in the meantime. I sure hope that you can find a church home where you can be at peace.

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Something I have learned from years of church membership in churches in the south...the elders rule the roost. They WILL call the shots. You have absolutely no control over that and neither does the pastor. He is not willing to be involved because he is not willing to lose his position within the church.

Oh, it doesn't just happen in the South. A friend in Sacramento belonged to denomination that was ruled by the deacons (the deacons took turns being the preaching pastor). This denomination is nationwide.

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First of all, your dh thinks you should have left last year. There's the biggest reason to leave.

Secondly, this is not a healthy church. Move on. I agree with the others who said don't look back. All things happen for a reason, and I believe there is a better body waiting for you and it will really work like a Body should: together, not opposing other parts.

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Here are a couple of things I would do;

 

1. Resign your position overseeing the finances. Do this in a certified letter and in it state that you cannot continue in that position because of the church's unwillingness to follow IRS guidelines. Be specific. In the event that the IRS comes after them in the future, you want to have something that shows that you were not a part of mishandling the books.

 

2. It's probably time to move on. No one is willing to address this bully, and it sounds like the congregation is participating (by attending secret meetings and not letting you know). I would be out. of. there. That's not how Christ would do business, imo.

 

:grouphug: I'm very sorry. Leaving a church is very difficult, particularly under such circumstances.

 

:iagree:

I would do this and also CC a copy of the letter to whoever oversees the financial regulations/reporting of the church at a higher level... the conference or whatever. Sorry I am not familiar with that denomination, but surely there is someone you can notify. They can choose whether or not to do something about it, but at least you have the notification on record.

 

Although I am sure you are feeling very hurt and betrayed, keep that out of the letter. Just keep it professional, similar to if you had to fire a tax client. Briefly list the reasons and your concerns about the accounting procedures in a non-emotional way. Pray over it, mail it and then shake the dust off!

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A treasurer can be in very hot water if the IRS decides to go after this church. Please protect yourself. Also- by doing this in this matter, you are letting them know how serious this is.

 

P.S. If you do decide that you want to stay in that denomination, this letter should go a long way to clearing your own reputation. If other churches ignore it, then you know right there that there is a problem.

:iagree:

First of all, your dh thinks you should have left last year. There's the biggest reason to leave.

Secondly, this is not a healthy church. Move on. I agree with the others who said don't look back. All things happen for a reason, and I believe there is a better body waiting for you and it will really work like a Body should: together, not opposing other parts.

:iagree::iagree:

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Thanks all, I really appreciate all the responses.

 

One of you posted that it looks like God is placing stumbling blocks in my in an effort to guide me elsewhwere. This thought has not left my mind since I read it.

 

I've completed my letter resignation letter listing the ways the church is in non-compliance and the ways in which I've tried to resolve each issue.

 

I'm sending it to the church, pastor, head elder and district treasurer. I'll also send a certified copy to myself and attach it unopened to my copy of the letter.

 

I must admit, I am feeling a little guilty leaving them in the lurch, but I really see no other way. If I continue, I am culpable. I've given them ample opportunity to change their ways. It's to the point now where I'm being ostracized in the church.

 

Again, thanks for all your help!

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Cheryl,

 

What you are doing is good! I will also throw this out there, not because I want to muddy the waters any or claim anything about God's leading in your own life, but just because of my own experiences.

 

When we needed to leave our previous church, there were several stumbling blocks to leaving and leaving graciously. At first, we took this as a sign from God that we weren't supposed to leave. Then we had a kind of clear picture that it wasn't God trying to keep us from leaving, but Satan. Due to the fact that we couldn't continue to support the senior pastor and the head elder, it would have been more divisive for us to stay...something that Satan loves...problems between Christians that he can keep stirring up. We finally realized that staying, though we were trying not to be a source of division, actually made us pot stirrers.

 

After we left, several other couples who had been too fearful to speak up, did. It was the impetus they needed. Some ended up leaving, some stayed, but the church leadership changed. So, our leaving was a very good thing because it allowed that particular part of the Body Of Christ to see what was happening and institute change. We were involved in a lot of ministry in the church and very visible. Leaving brought to light, some things that had been swept under the rug. Does that make sense?

 

You will need to ultimately only do what God asks of you. But, if your husband is unhappy and wanted you to leave before now, I would take that seriously. God does not want spiritual disension between couples and being ostracized is just plain wrong!

 

(((HUGS))) praying for you in this difficult situation because we've BTDT!

 

Faith

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