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Resignation, Part 40

Dale heard the last few notes of Just As I Am finish up.  It had been a good day.  There was a good response to his morning sermon.  He had gotten a good nap in during the afternoon and then watched a bit of the NFL playoffs.  He had preached his heart out again and really felt like he was getting back in the groove and rhythm of pastoring and preaching.  Now, however, he was about to return to one of the pieces of the job that he really didn’t care for.  He walked behind the pulpit and asked a question.

“Does anyone need to go to the restroom or get a drink of water before we declare the business meeting in session?”

It’s not that Dale thought that business meetings were not needed or beneath him.  He knew better than that.  It was just that too often they were really a waste of everyone’s time.  Much of the time nothing of any consequence happened and the only reason the business meeting was held at all was because the church’s constitution and by-laws required it, not because there was any true business was discussed.

There were several nods and more than a few people headed out the door to the facilities.  As long as the meeting didn’t go long, Dale would be ok.  He decided that he would head to the restroom quickly before he opened the business session up.  As interim pastor, he functioned in the same role as a permanent pastor, moderating the business meeting with no actual vote on any of the proceedings.  He couldn’t vote anyway, since he was not a member of the church.  He would leave his membership and his home church until he completed his interim position and found a permanent pastorate.

As he was leaving the restroom, he could see Fred McGinley standing at the side as thought he was waiting on him.  He greeted Fred and intended to move along.  Fred, however, had other ideas.

“Be on your toes out there.  Something is brewing and I don’t think it’s good.”

Dale just looked at Fred.  He had been in enough churches to know that there were certain people who you listened to when they gave you advice.  Fred was one of those kind of guys.  He simply nodded and went on to the auditorium.  His stomach tightened a bit as this was not something he was counting on.  He didn’t want any trouble, but based on this warning and his conversation Tom Jennings, he supposed it would happen.  He hoped it wouldn’t get ugly, whatever it was, but at least his family wasn’t there this evening.

Dale didn’t want to chit-chat with anyone, so he climbed the steps to the stage and stood behind the pulpit.  He glanced at a few notes and scanned the crowd.  Most of the folks were filing back in.  He saw what he was afraid of.  Tom Jennings had a small crowd around him.  A few of them kept glancing at him and then back to Tom.  He supposed he knew where trouble might be coming from if something happened during the business meeting.

After it seemed like everyone was in, Dale finally spoke.

“If everyone is here, I would like to declare the business session open.  I would like to ask Fred McGinley to open us up in prayer.”  Dale kind of chuckled to himself.  If Fred was going to give him the warning, then he would help fight the spiritual battle as well.

Fred prayed a short, but to the point prayer.  He called for wisdom and unity to be had in the meeting.  Dale couldn’t have prayed a better prayer, and doubted anyone else could either.

“We’ll now have the reading of the minutes from the last meeting.”  Dale shook his head to himself and smiled.  Ninety percent of the minutes read in ninety percent of the churches were probably just like these, nothing really happening.  After these minutes were read, Dale moved to the next item.

“Do we have any old business to discuss?”  Dale looked around with no movement being made.  So far, so good.

“Do we have any new business to discuss?”  Still no movement.  Dale was hoping that Fred’s warning was just a false alarm.

“Do we have any committee reports?”  No movement.  Dale was beginning to believe that he was going to get out of this unscathed and be home shortly.

“If we have nothing else to discuss, do we have a motion to adjourn?’  Dale hoped that someone would quickly make that motion and a second would move them to vote.

“I have something to say.”  Dale heard a familiar voice  to his right.  Sure enough, it was Tom Jennings.  He groaned because they had been so close, yet just far enough away from getting out of there.

Dale spoke up. “The floor is open, Tom.”

“I want to make a motion that we replace Bill Johnson on the pastor search committee.  He hasn’t been to a meeting in a while.  For that matter, he hasn’t been to church either.  I think we need an active church member on that team instead of one that has decided not to come to church or fulfill the responsibilities he was voted in to perform.”  Tom said this with a look of self-satisfaction on his face as he grinned slightly at Dale.

Dale just stared at Tom for a moment.  He could hear just a bit of murmuring from the congregation.  He decided to let that quiet down before he said anything.  That gave him a moment to calm down.  What Tom was doing angered him and he didn’t want to spout off in front of everyone.  He wondered if that wasn’t part of Tom’s agenda, as well.  Finally, it was quiet again.

“You put this in the form of a motion.  Do we have a second?”  Dale knew the second was coming from Tom’s crowd.  It wasn’t big, but he didn’t know how the rest of the folks felt about Tom or Bill for that matter.

“Second!!!”  Someone from Dale’s right, sitting with Tom, made the second.

Dale looked around.  “Do we have any discussion for the motion that has been made?”  No one said a word.  Dale continued to scan around the crowd as he was buying himself just a  bit of time.

“Alright, we’ll bring this to a vote.  The motion we have on the floor is to replace Bill Johnson on the pastor search team due to the fact that he has not been to church in a while nor attended a meeting due to having a terminal brain tumor.  All those in favor of voting for this in front of his wife, say Aye.”  Dale looked at Bill’s wife, Sharon, who was dabbing her eyes with a tissue.  She smiled at him and mouthed a thank you.  She understood what Dale was doing.

There were about twenty Aye’s that came from Tom Jennings and his group.  The remainder of the church drowned them with Aye’s of their own when Dale called for those opposed.  Tom and most of his group got up and walked out angrily.

“Before we leave, I do have one more thing.”  Dale opened up his Bible and pulled out the letter Bill had given him when he had visited.  “In my hands is Bill Johnson’s  resignation letter from all positions he currently holds within the church.  His illness doesn’t allow him to fulfill any of the responsibilities of his positions.  We will follow the guidelines of the constitution and by-laws and have a special election to select his replacement in two weeks.”

Dale smiled.  Tom Jennings didn’t get what he wanted the way he wanted it.  He was glad he didn’t get the satisfaction of getting Bill voted off the search team.

“Do I have a motion to adjourn?”

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