Subscribe

Time Out: If the senior pastor isn’t perfect

Topic / Time Out

Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)

Many youth workers seem to have a love-hate relationship with their senior pastor. While respecting and admiring him/her as their boss, you may not agree with everything he/she says and does. Sometimes hidden jealousy arises from within the senior pastor. Or, they hurt your feelings since the youth program may not be getting the focus it needs. Other times a senior pastor may criticizes you and thus harm your relationship. These situations can be fertile ground, a danger zone, a place of destruction that the enemy can use to ruin ministries and churches. If you allow negative feelings toward the senior pastor to fester, the rightly lit spark can set a volatile fuel on fire.

Consider the following scenario. Someone in the congregation comes to you with complaints and accusations against the senior pastor. This happens over time until finally this person approaches you, and tells you that you’d make a better pastor. Perhaps they start a movement to eradicate the pastor – and your name is attached as support, because you listened to the gossip. Maybe the movement wants to withdraw completely from the church, and appoint you as pastor of a new church where things will be done “right.”

These temptations can appeal to our ego in an impressive way. But seldom, if ever, does God work in this way. If there is a legitimate complaint against the pastor, steer the unhappy person, or group, to the proper board or committee. If it is your own complaint, take it to the proper channels only. Be sure to walk through this minefield very carefully. Get good advice from a mature believer outside of the church who is informed of and understands the situation. Do not speak to others and thereby gossip. Search your own heart for hidden hurts, revenges, jealousies, etc. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Do the right thing, the mature thing, not the easy thing, or the ego-motivated thing. Put yourself in the senior pastor’s position and apply the Golden Rule. Treat him as you would want to be treated, because chances are, one day you might be in his position!

Scripture
1 Timothy 5:19-21, “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning. I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.”

1 Chronicles 16:22, “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”

Psalms 105:15, “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”

Matthew 7:1-3, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Reflect

  • Do you harbor any hidden jealousy or secret resentment against the senior pastor or anyone in church leadership?
  • Are there any hurts you have not forgiven? Forgive them now!
  • Are you in any way responsible for passing judgment on anyone in church leadership? Confess it as sin to God. If the leader is aware, apologize personally.
  • Ask God to protect you from wrong feelings toward anyone in authority over you.

———————————————————————-

Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!


Posted on April 20, 2008

  • Sorry..meant community. I still love my job!

  • Jeremy, I can't speak for others, but personally I'd never stay at a church with that kind of dis-unity in the leadership. Even if everyone else was unified, I would resign almost immediately if I worked with a pastor who had that kind of integrity and character. There are unbelievers who treat their staff better than that! It saddens me to hear that a church board would even keep that kind of pastor around.

  • May I ask a question? We are facing almost a polar opposite situation in our congregation that sparks a discussion for me.

    There is a situation where a senior pastor belittles and berates a youth pastor about everything. Yet the youth pastor was sticking it out. Never in my tenure as a youth pastor did I hear this person speak ill of the pastor nor harm him in dialogue with congregation members. They spoke very highly of this pastor and portrayed a game face whenever needed despite hurt feelings. However they were recently fired despite never speaking ill of the pastor and still fully doing their job.

    So my questions revolve around the thought of when do you know that enough is enough? What should a suggested route be for this person? Or maybe a question to probe deeper…. How would someone navigate this conversation to help both parties involved?

  • Alan

    Excellent post and something to keep in mind at all times. The sin nature loves to get a hold of these things and cause us as ministers to be distracted. I would like to add the example of Matthew 18 to the discussion. We must be firm in having people go directly to the pastor or whomever the offender is. We need to be a church that is able to 'speak the truth in love'.

New eBookGo
Focused Youth Ministry ebook

85% off!

Focused Youth Ministry

This practical "how to" ebook will walk you through a 30-step process to discovering God's vision for your unique ministry context. The process also shows you how to implement that vision and put metrics in place to evaluate what is moving the vision forward and what isn't.

Price: $12.95 Limited time: $1.99

footer