Pastors are falling like flies today. I don’t mean into sin, but into states of discouragement and disillusionment that they may never recover from. I’ve been doing this pastoring thing for 30 years now and I know just about as many pastors who have left the pastorate as ones who are still in it over that same time period.
You may take the role of judge and jury if you like, but I caution you to be very careful with it. Most of the pastors I know who have left the ministry were great people with great hearts and who had a genuine desire to serve God and God’s people. Some of them had hearts that were too tender, too caring, and too compassionate. They were not prepared for the ‘business’ of some church folk. The very things that should have made them loved and appreciated were the very traits that set them up to be abused, misused, and pressured by the enemy to perform beyond their abilities and anointing.
So if you want to discourage your pastor to the point of walking away, here’s my list:
• Refuse to accept they are sheep-shepherds who stink at something just like any other sheep would. Refuse to give them the grace you demand they give you.
• Pledge to honor and respect them in the Lord for the appointed office they hold and then undermine their ability to lead with murmuring, complaining, and backbiting. Just so you know, it all gets back to us sooner or later.
• Tell them you are committed to the vision they carry and will walk through hell and back with them if necessary. Then, at the first smell of smoke, run like a coward and leave them to stand-alone.
• Make sure tradition and so-called ‘pillars’ of the congregation dictate and control everything that happens in the church. God forbid fresh vision be allowed to impregnate a congregation.
• Be a big talker but not a doer. Yes, pastors are very encouraged when people step up to the plate promising a home run and then stand there while three strikes are thrown straight down the middle and they didn’t even swing the bat.
• Declare yourself to be a prophet, tell the pastor what they should do, and then sit back and watch rather than believing in your own prophecy enough to get on the field of play to walk it out with them. Pastors just love armchair quarterbacks.
• Continually compare them to the famous preacher who has such great stage presence and presentation and always has an encouraging word. Never mind most of them will not touch what is considered controversial subjects. (Thank God for the ones who do!) Never mind that you don’t know them except for their stage presence and not the way they conduct church and personal business…until it hits the national news.
• Turn us into manipulators and force us to do things to motivate people that may work, but are far from the Biblical pattern. Force us into a position of having to be entertainers rather than proclaimers of both the goodness of God AND at times the severity of God.
Again, be careful how you judge this. Moses was spoken of and commended by Jesus more than any other leader in the OT. He appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Amazing. A leader who couldn’t get them ‘in’ and in fact ‘failed’ himself due in part to the pressure of serving such good church folk, being honored by Jesus Himself in such a way.
…Sometimes the issue is not the pastor who refuses to compromise no matter what the church guru’s of our day say.