Methodists/Rights of Congregation


Rev. Neal,
Our local UM church has a small preschool. Upon the pastor's recommendations a woman from the church was appointed as the preschool director when the position became vacant. With this she also began to oversee the entire children's ministry department (with no previous experience in this area) including monitoring the current coordinator in this area. The preschool director also serves three vital roles of leadership in the church along with running her own business. The concern has arisen that she cannot do all these jobs well as she is being spread too thin. A portion of the congregation do no enjoy working in any area this woman has anything to do with and a number of families who served in many roles at the church have left after encounters with this same woman. She can be very cold and condescending when dealing with others. Furthermore, the preschool enrollment has declined costing the church quite a bit of money. Many people have brought this concern to the pastor, but he blindly supports her (above anyone else on his staff). At least half of SPRC does not seem to want her in the area of children's ministries because of the manner in which she deals with people. My concern is that the pastor will overrule any such decision to limit her power and control. She seems to thrive on this and knows that the pastor will back her up. Is there any recourse that the congregation or church staff can take to ensure that this one bad apple doesn't spoil the bunch?

Rather than responding to her and the situation in a combative way, it would be best to seek reconciliation over these matters.  The problems you've outlined relative to how she conducts ministry need to be documented and presented through the SPR but with an eye toward finding ways to help her improve both her relationships with families and members of the church.  The Pastor needs to step back and be a bit more objective; this is why documentation of issues will be important.

Keep in mind that just personally conflicts really are not good grounds for removal from position.  Issues need to be clearly defined, and the "personal" and "personality' conflicts need to be minimized.


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Rev. Gregory S. Neal


I can answer questions dealing with all issues of United Methodist Doctrine and Wesleyan-Arminian Theology. In particular I can answer questions dealing with the Sacraments and other liturgical and worship-oriented questions. I can also answer questions dealing with the form, structure, and organization of the United Methodist Church and our relationship with other denominations.


I am an ordained United Methodist Elder with more than 20 years of ministerial service experience in the local Church.

I am a Clergy Member in Full Connection and have been a member of the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church since 1991. I am a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion. I am also a member of the Emmaus Community, and am currently serving as Senior Spiritual Director for the Dallas Emmaus Community. I am a member of the Order of Saint Luke in the United Methodist Church.

I have my own website:   I have written two books, "Grace Upon Grace" and "Seeking the Shepherd's Arms," both available at and in bookstores.

I have a BA in Religious Studies, History and Russian. I have an M.Div in Systematic Theology and Biblical Studies and a Ph.D in Sacramental Theology and New Testament.

Awards and Honors
Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church
Fellow of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

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