Emil Turner's weekly blog from ABSC
“I Don’t Like My Pastor”
Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2009
How could anyone not like a pastor? But, we do hear this from time to time. We hear it from church staff, church members, and occasionally from pastor’s wives—not really, just a little humor to lighten things up. In hopes that some of the folks that struggle with their pastors read this blog, here are some suggestions about what to do if you don’t like your pastor.
God wants you to be part of a local church. Not liking a pastor, staff member, deacon, or church member is no excuse for dropping out, withholding tithes, or refusing to serve in a church. The church is more important than the pastor. Pastors serve the church, just as you do.
God sent your pastor to your church. God is more grieved than you with your pastor’s faults. He is the one to whom you should appeal, not your fellow church members, or others in the community.
Pray for your pastor’s spiritual and physical health, his family, his ability to exercise his call to ministry. Don’t spend time asking God to change your pastor, instead ask God to either change you or confirm your opinions about your pastor.
Talk to your pastor honestly, but with Christian kindness. Do not talk in a way that will require you to explain what you said. “I was speaking the truth in love” does not erase words like “you are a tyrant and you are destroying this church”. Now, I am embarrassed to type these words, but here goes…: before you have this talk, ask your pastor not to mention the conversation from the pulpit. The pulpit is a place for ministry, not retribution.
Not all your differences with your pastor require action. Disagreement with your pastor does not necessarily mean you should seek another church. Even some theological differences can be “weathered”. A prayerful, humble spirit will enable you to stay engaged in a church you love, even when you struggle with the pastor’s leadership.
When the problem is so severe that action is required, there are two paths available. The extreme path is opposition to the pastor’s continued leadership in a church business meeting. Take this path only if heresy or the death of the church is at stake. The other path is to ask God to lead you to a church whose pastor and ministry you can endorse and by which you can be blessed. (By the way, voting against something your pastor desires is not opposition; it is simply expressing the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life.)
Finally, remember that you are part of the church, not a sports team, or a community service organization. God rules the church, and we serve in humble submission to Him. In all such struggles, the way you conduct yourself is more important than the struggle itself. Godliness, kindness, and prayerfulness should guide your actions. Peace should be your goal.