Pueblo # 11
A semi-large church located in a steel town made an attractive offer to be their assistant pastor promising a nice home and the largest salary I had ever made. I took the job and moved to where the smoke stacks said, “Come on in!” My wife and I were looking forward to living in a promised nice home for the first time in our troubled marriage. Sorry Charlie! We were unceremoniously deposited in the Sunday school wing of the church and essentially told to “root hog or die.” For all practical purposes, we died. With wife and 2 year old son it was difficult to say the least – church kids running, music blaring, knocking on the door, blasting through the door if we had inadvertenly left it unlocked. I had no indication the big guy, my superior, was having an affair with the church secretary. The general church had very little experience dealing with assistant pastors back in those days since most denominational churches were less than 100 members. There was no need to think through how things would work with additional staff members. Therefore, staff members were expendable and usually blamed and/or fired.
I received a call from the Colorado DBS asking me to be available for a meeting. He arrived with two other pastors. Confused at about 24 year of age, I ushered them to a small room as I animatedly and happily welcomed them. As we sat he began to what could rightly be called an interrogation session. I had no idea what he was talking about. Apparently the pastor used me for his lack of acceptance by the congregation, blaming me for splitting the church. I had been there less than four months for pete’s-sake, and was not acquainted with the politics of the people. I was totally bumfuzzled!
The powers that be of the local congregation had picked up on something nefarious going on between the senior pastor and the secretary, but the DBS was trying to cover his tail by blaming me for the church division. I had only arrived as assistant less than four months prior and hardly knew anyone much less how I could split people up into warring factions. After all, the pastor was a big golfer so we golfed about 4 times each week. This, I thought, was what big church pastors were supposed to do. I thought everything was great. I was in tall cotton. The DBS was known for his heavy-handed administration, but what was that to me – “follow thou me.” Around 8:00pm after this 6 hour interrogation, some members of the church board heard about the meeting, just about broke the door down and ordered the DBS and his two pastors to leave. Six hours, no food, no water, no bathroom break, just question after question. Well, the die was cast!
This position lasted a short six months so off we went to a small church two miles from the Mexican border on a dirt road to live in an adobe parsonage right next to the church. Sinking sand … again!