For goodness sake…

For goodness sake…can’t the church be more gracious to their pastors? 

I talked with a couple friends last week that shared similar heartaches.  One is a layman and the other is a pastor.  Both were struggling with men within the church that were trying to undermine the lead pastor.

When people within the church rise up and try and subtly take out their lead pastor what would God have you to do?  I must admit each situation must be considered on a case by case scenario.  Sometimes a pastor is given too much grace for way too long to the detriment of a local body.  But more often Diotrephes’ are allowed to run unchecked.  

One would hope that in moments like this a fellow elder or deacon would step in and defend the truth and God’s servant of the truth.  Sadly, I have heard of too many instances when this does not happen.  A Pastor is left defenseless as his congregation and his leadership team stand aloof.  

No godly Pastor wants to take up his own cause and risk the perception of being viewed as prideful or being perceived as a ‘personal kingdom builder type’.  Sometimes good men are led by God to take “the high ground.”  They’re forced out of the church without a new ministry opportunity to go to.  They choose not to have another round of debates within their leadership circle.  They just quietly leave, in fear of another Christ dishonoring church-split taking place within a particular community.

Other times godly men are led by God to humbly raise some questions with reference to their own ministries.  I think of Paul’s own example in 2 Corinthians 10-12.

The sad thing in all these cases is that Pastors are forced to make a decision in matters they never should have to agonize over.  This is where i believe sanctified and mature congregation members and especially elders and deacons should step in and intervene on behalf of their pastors.  In the words of Rob Wilkerson, “These are the kind of friends who are loyal to him (the pastor) because of their belief in the hand of God in their pastor’s life.  This was the case with at least some of those who were Saul’s companions, 1 Sam 10:26-27.”  

If some within the Corinthian church would have done this imagine what the book of 2 Corinthians might have read like?

I am qualified to write this post because by God’s grace I’m not speaking to my own situation.  I grieve however when i hear about fellow ministers of the gospel being forced into situations when they must choose between either defending themselves and their ministries or picking up their Bibles and going somewhere else.   It’s in this context i ask: For goodness sake, can’t the church be gracious to their pastors?

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Caleb:

    Ditto!

    Speaking, sadly, from experience,

  2. Caleb

    Good article and is so true. Also I am glad about your new call to ministry as pastor/teacher, its a responsibility.

    FIrst let me say, as pastor don’t play the good cop and let your elders play the bad cop. In other words you say the good things and you let the asso. or elders say the bad things. That doesn’t work well. And its wrong.

    Secondly if the Elders believe somethings is wrong with what you are doing, don’t get bad at the elder.

    Thirdly be honest, what you say you are saying it because its true. Say what you mean and do what you mean.

    Pastor’s might need protection. But the buck stops at the pulpit. Don’t let someone else look bad when you should take the responsiblity for what you say and believe.

    Forty years of ministry as taught me a lot.

    Have a wonderful fruitful and up front ministry.

    Charles

  3. Posted by Erik on May 12, 2008 at 5:33 am

    Thought provoking post Caleb. As a laymen who sits in the pew, I have seen far too many instances of graceless members. Grace on either side will lead to more dialogue and less church splits.

  4. Posted by Caleb Kolstad on May 12, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Erik, you’re right brother!

  5. Posted by Eric Hutsell on May 13, 2008 at 1:59 am

    Perhaps the pastor is preaching the Truth and the congregation doesn’t want to hear the Truth. John 3:20

  6. Posted by Charles Good on May 13, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Where’s the Bible Exposition?

    Your post is so vague and generalized it boils down to, “If he’s right, support him.” “If he’s wrong, get rid of him.” I think we already knew that.

    You mentioned 2 Cor. 10-12. What are your “Expository Thoughts” on these three chapters?

  7. Charles-

    The post above is not intended to be a sermon exposition. I agree that the points made in the post are rather clear.

    It is one thing to know something and another thing to actually have the wisdom, faith, and courage to do it! That is the main point of the post.

    Grace

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