God has ordained that His leaders oversee and administer His ministry. But problems arise in the church when humans change the “His” to “my.”
I read a statistic that 75% of people who voluntarily left their jobs did so because of a problem with their boss. In other words, 3-out-of-4 people didn’t quit their job, they quit their boss. In my personal experience this is equally as true in the church world—Most people don’t quit their church, they quit a bad pastor.
Sadly, those who do quit their church usually do so the wrong way. As a result they become either de-churched (they don’t attend anywhere), or cynical in the next church they do attend.
Who is a bad pastor?
- One who is no longer effective because he is stuck in an old way of doing things
- One who is theologically off
- One who is unwilling to admit an error, ask forgiveness, and make amends
- One who uses his position to build his kingdom instead of God’s kingdom
We have a great example of how to handle a bad spiritual leader in the story of David and Saul (see 1 Samuel 24). David had done nothing wrong, yet Saul was trying to kill him. At one point David’s men urged David to take matters into his own hands, and he almost did. He got close enough to Saul to cut off a corner of his robe, but quickly discovered that was too close. Immediately after doing so David was conscience-stricken!
Then look how David responded:
- David rebuked his men as he reminded them that Saul was their “master” and “the Lord’s anointed.”
- David “bowed down and prostrated himself” before Saul as he apologized.
- David called him his “master,” “father,” and “the Lord’s anointed.”
- David said he would leave the matter in God’s hands, allowing God to “judge between you and me.”
- And twice David declared, “My hand will not touch you!”
This humble reply got Saul’s attention. Saul wept as he said, “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly.” Saul then asked David to be kind to his descendants.
Then this conclusion—David gave Saul his oath, and then went away to a safe place.
The New Testament captures these same ideas for today’s Christians. We are told not to lightly entertain an accusation against spiritual leaders (1 Timothy 5:19), but to submit and obey to biblically-correct leaders (Hebrews 13:17).
The Bible gives us only two options for dealing with spiritual leaders…
SUBMIT & OBEY or WALK AWAY
Two wrongs don’t make a right. Responding in an unscriptural way to an unscriptural pastor’s way is just as wrong as what the pastor was doing wrong in the first place!
So give the bad pastor your oath that you will not lay a hand (or a word!) on them, and then remove yourself to a safe place. Submit and obey, or walk away and leave them in God’s capable hands.