Whenever people find out I’m a pastor they tell me either
1) How awesome their church and pastor are in ways that make me feel like vomiting, or
2) They unload on me all their issues they have with the church.
I don’t believe you either way. Although I care for you, I really don’t care to hear about your church. I cannot possibly stress this point enough.
I know what churches are. I’ve been a pastor for 15 years. My dad and grandpa were pastors. There is nothing new under the sun. I’ve heard the stories and lived a fair share of them.
Church people enjoy ripping apart pastors. Everyone knows how to do this job except those trying to do it.
Many people have stories about how some pastor did some thing that hurt them or ruined them. I know there are bad pastors. I also know there are good pastors who teach wrong things. I know there are good pastors who make mistakes.
The thing that most people don’t understand is that pastors forgive people many, many times. You have no idea how many. But the pastor says or does ONE THING that doesn’t sit well, and BOOM! People get mad and leave.
So you don’t trust pastors? Well, I’ve got some new for you. Pastors don’t trust you either.
Pastors and church members are both people and people are stupid. Patience, love, and submitting to one another in the fear of God, are the only ways we will make it together. In other words: Divine intervention.
When you give me a compliment–I don’t believe you. I’ve heard em all. Not that I don’t appreciate a compliment, I need approval like anyone else. I just don’t really believe you. Everyone who ever told me I was “the best preacher” no longer goes to my church. And, yes, there was more than one. I also don’t believe your compliments because I don’t want to be dependent on them, for my own safety.
When you criticize me–I don’t believe you then either. I listen and check myself, but no, I don’t believe what you say is true unless there is actual proof of your words. I apologize when shown my error. There are many errors I have been accused of that I have not apologized for, because in my book, they weren’t errors.
When you give me a gift–the first thought in my head is, “what do you want?” The reason I think this is because that’s how gifts go. My house is filled with gifts people who left my church “graciously” gave me. I doubt your sincerity. I am not bought off. I have turned down money from some questionable sources to avoid such compromise.
I don’t think these things on purpose, I do these things out of conditioning. Church-going people have trained me to think this way. It is only by grace I can still function in the church.
I know many pastors. There are probably more pastors abused by their churches than churches abused by their pastors. Pastors are often hurt people. We’re about four minutes from resigning at any given moment.
The main reason most pastors are still at their church is because they can’t find another job. This isn’t my opinion, this has been studied.
Some pastors give in and play the game. They give the people what they want so the people will give the pastors what he wants, which is usually more money, more power, or more ego-stroking something or other.
Other pastors quit. It’s just not worth the cost any more.
I decided to fight it out. To not let the stupid ruin me, or get me mad and bitter at the church. I resolved this over a long time, and continually renew that resolve.
I have not sold out. I have not given in. I assume you’ll get ticked off and stab me in the back. Since that’s my basic assumption about you, it helps me graciously deal with you in actual love. I’ve already given up! I’ve got nothing to lose!
This frees me up to tell you the truth. It frees me up to do what I think is right, not what will keep you happy so you don’t get mad and leave on me, which is manipulation, not love.
There is a fine group of people in my church now who appear to like me and appear to desire the truth. This is very cool to me. It wasn’t always this way. My church is much smaller now and I get paid less than ever, but I enjoy it more than ever.
I’m not a perfect man, nor a perfect pastor. But I’ve learned many things. One of those things is how to love people. This wasn’t easy. I had to get rid of me and my desires. I nearly quit so many times it’s not funny. But I’m glad I stayed and resolved these issues.
Church people: don’t play games. Don’t toy with your pastor. He knows what you’re doing. He’s not stupid; he’s being gracious. He doesn’t like your games, but he’s trying to put up with it. But you’re killing him.
Most pastors have been conditioned not to trust words. Love the people in your church. Grow spiritually. Stay calm. Be faithful. Love your pastor, not in words but in deeds, deeds that look like you are becoming Christ.
The best thing you can do for your pastor is tell him how you are applying something he taught, and then tell him about all the people you shared the Gospel with this week. There is no greater compliment than souls saved. He doesn’t believe other compliments anyway.