Posted in: What's So Hard About Being a Pastor?
I think it's important to understand that ministry is BOTH a calling and a job. Yes, it is a calling; something you feel God has led you to do. And if one doesn't feel called by God, then I agree, they shouldn't be in the role.
That said, if you are saying that every pastor who, after a season of service, can't feel called to something else, or that to leave the parish for any other role is a dereliction of responsibility, then I strongly disagree.
When I was new to ministry, I remember being in a pastoral support group where we once spent an afternoon reflecting on the rash of Article 17's, and one older pastor, who I count as one of the wisest men I know...once said...."perhaps our mistake is in this idea of "lifelong calling". There are honorable ways in, but there seems to be no honorable way out". Sometimes, for all sorts of reasons, pastors need a break, or a change. That doesn't necessarily make them unfaithful.
I agree with what's been said here, but I also think there's a missing piece. We tend to always point towards lack of supervision or accountabiity, and in this case the church has admitted that certain questions weren't asked, and that there was a bias. But in many of these kinds of situations, there is also a lack of transparency on the part of the pastors. I say that as a pastor....all the necessary checks and balances are in place...but if I can't admit that I'm being tempted to cross a line....then they just become more places to lie....
But there is another side to this. When I look at the CRC situation, outside of lack of transparency among those tempted to cross lines, the biggest challenge I see is conflict between creating a "safe space" for pastors to admit to temptation while also providing real accountability. All of the people who I, for example, might confide in about a temptation (a trusted group of elders, collegues, etc) are also the people who might some day have to vote on my suspension or fitness for ministry. I haven't found a solution to that dilemna.