How To Respond To Bad Pastors

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.

Advertisements

How Great Is Our God (book review)

Mark Gilroy has given both Christian believers and skeptics a unique overview of profound Christian thinkers throughout the entire “AD” calendar. How Great Is Our God is a year-long journey with those historians, eye-witnesses, preachers, and martyrs who have truly captured the sentiment how great is our God!

From the book’s introduction—

How Great Is Our God is compiled to take you on a journey through every century and every tradition of the Christian faith. We want you to experience the heart and thoughts of Christians from the birth of the church until today. …

You will find daily readings that have been selected because they are considered great and enduring thoughts that have contributed to the spiritual growth of Christians in every age, but also because some of the readings represent seminal moments in the history of Christian thought and Western civilization.”

You can read this book by the date on the calendar, or you can read the various writings in the chronological order in which they were written. Although some doctrinal statements may vary from author to author, truly the underlying theme through every age and every author is the greatness and praiseworthiness of our God.

Reading this book I discovered…

  • …how influential people addressed cultural issues in their time through a biblical worldview
  • …an increased appreciation for the historicity of the Christian faith
  • …new insights into Christian theology
  • …authors I may have overlooked
  • …an invigorated passion to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3)

From church history buffs, to pastors, to theologians … all should be pleased with the content they will find in How Great Is Our God.

Revival God’s Way

T.M. MooreI am a part of a weekly gathering of pastors from around the country who are praying for revival. T.M. Moore, who organizes our prayer time, shared some fantastic thoughts about revival.

He said, “The better we know God’s word, way, righteousness, justice, and judgments, the more our prayers for revival will have the right focus, and be more likely to be heard and answered.”

By way of example, T.M. Moore shared some verses from Psalm 119. I think you will be able to spot the pattern pretty quickly—

  • …revive me according to Your word (v. 25)
  • …revive me in Your way (v. 37)
  • …revive me in Your righteousness (v. 40)
  • …revive me according to Your lovingkindness (v. 88)
  • …revive me, O Lord, according to Your word (v. 107)
  • …revive me according to Your justice (v. 149)
  • …revive me according to Your word (v. 154)
  • …revive me according to Your judgments (v. 156)
  • …revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness (v. 159)

Praying for revival never comes on our terms, it’s always on God’s terms. Revival is never focused on me, it’s always focus on God.

By the way, if you would like to join me and these other pastors in our weekly prayer for revival, please send me a message and I will get you all of the details.

10 Quotes From “On This Day”

on-this-dayI love studying church history! Robert Morgan has given us a delightful resource in his book On This Day, in which he shares snippets from history which are still impacting us today. Please check out my review of On This Day by clicking here. Then enjoy some quotes and tidbits from this amazing work.

“If we don’t know our own history, we will simply have to endure all the same mistakes, sacrifices, and absurdities all over again.” —Alexander Solzhenitsyn

“How shall we labor with any effect to build up the church, if we have no thorough knowledge of her history? History is, and must ever continue to be, next to God’s Word, the richest foundation of wisdom, and the surest guide to all successful practical activity.” —Philip Schaff

“Here am I, send me; send me to the ends of the earth; send me to the rough, the savage pagans of the wilderness; send me from all that is called comfort on earth; send me even to death itself, if it be but in Thy service and to promote Thy kingdom.” —David Brainerd

“During his lifetime Charles Spurgeon preached to approximately 10,000,000 people. … Today there is more material written by Spurgeon than by any other Christian author of any generation. The collection of his Sunday sermons stands as the largest set of books by a single author in the history of the church.” —Robert Morgan

“What more glorious and blessed lot can fall to man by the grace of God, than to confess God the Lord amidst tortures and in the face of death itself; to confess Christ the Son of God with lacerated body and with a spirit departing, yet free; and to become fellow-sufferers with Christ. Though we have not yet shed our blood, we are ready to do so.” —Christians in Rome wrote from prison to Bishop Cyprian of Carthage

“After the war William Sangster headed Britain’s Methodist home missions department until he was diagnosed with progressive muscular atrophy. For three years he slowly died, becoming progressively more paralyzed, finally able to move only two fingers. But his attitude didn’t falter, for when first learning of his illness, Sangster made four rules for himself. Many people have rules for living. Sangster composed four rules for dying: ‘I will never complain. I will keep the home bright. I will count my blessings. I will try to turn it to gain.’ He did all those things. And thus the work of God was displayed in his life, and God’s strength was made perfect in his weakness.” —Robert Morgan

“If the veil of the world’s machinery were lifted off, how much we could find is done in answer to the prayers of God’s children.” —Robert Murray McCheyne

“I went to Africa as prejudiced against religion as the worst infidel in London. But I saw this solitary old man there, and I asked myself, ‘What is it that inspires him?’ For months I found myself listening to him, wondering at the old man carrying out the words, ‘leave all and follow Me.’ Little by little, seeing his piety, gentleness, zeal, and how he went quietly about his business, I was converted by him.” —Henry Stanley writing about Dr. David Livingston

“I am greatly a debtor to God, Who has bestowed His grace so largely upon me, that multitudes were born again to God through me. The Irish, who had never had the knowledge of God and worshipped only idols and unclean things, have lately become the people of the Lord, and are called sons of God.” —St. Patrick, in his Confessions

“I cannot tell you what joy it gave me to bring the first soul to the Lord Jesus Christ. I have tasted almost all the pleasures this world can give. Those pleasures were as nothing compared to the joy that the saving of that one soul gave me.” —C.T. Studd

These quotes are just a few of the powerful stories throughout this book. Stay tuned for more!

10 Quotes From “Letters To A Birmingham Jail”

Letters To A Birmingham JailIn Letters To A Birmingham Jail, it was very eye-opening to read how modern-day clergy respond to Dr. Martin Luther King’s 50-year-old “Letter From A Birmingham Jail.” What an innovative book! Check out my review of this book by clicking here, and then enjoy a few quotes.

“Our nation is losing a sense of gratitude for the abundance and great bounty that God has bestowed upon us. In America we have witnessed the god of materialism sink his teeth into the fabric of the human soul. He has unleashed a spirit of rugged individualism, fueled by selfish greed. This has become normalized behavior that discourages a care for the other, and especially for the poor. The hope for America is that we will see our responsibility to care for the least among us in recognition of the truth that every person is created in the very image of God.” —John Perkins

“God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated churches where the gospel is cherished—these are the birthplace of the kind of racial harmony that gives long-term glory to God and long-term gospel good to the world.” —John Piper

“Some may have quoted, ‘Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!’ (Psalm 27:14). But this call to wait for the Lord never meant stop doing what He commanded us to do in the pursuit of holy goals. Waiting for the Lord means our action is essential, but His is decisive. The farmer must wait for the harvest. But no one works harder than the farmer.” —John Piper

“Now, to be sure the Bible teaches that the government does exist for the well-being of the people; but too many Christians got lock-jaw, saying very little or nothing when in fact the country needed the engagement of the church and a word from God. Silence and business as usual did severe damage to our prophetic integrity. We’ve made progress but our efforts are still woefully inadequate.” —Crawford W. Loritts, Jr.

“I believe from Genesis to Revelation that God is the God of all nations and all peoples. He created all things, including all peoples, all people groups, all races, and all skin colors. From the beginning of the Bible to the end of the Bible, you see God redeeming all people to Himself. John 3:16 tells us God sent Jesus because ‘God so loved the world.’ The Acts of the Apostles tells the story of the earliest church plants. The gospel-dominated people of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John spilled over into the launching of gospel communities, or church plants in Acts. Racial and cultural issues surfaced almost immediately. Jesus had actually been the One to begin stirring the pot in His ministry as He intentionally went to Samaria, and did all sorts of things with and for Gentiles that Jewish men were not supposed to do.” —John Bryson

“If the torrential force of the first church as found in the book of Acts is to become our twenty-first-century reality, then the faces of most of our churches must look like the faces of the first-century church: multiethnic.” —Bryan Loritts

“If folks feel that this kind of ‘affirmative action’ equals ‘reverse discrimination,’ we can gently lead them to the apostolic solution to the racial controversy in Acts 6:1-7, where the men appointed to resolve a serious ethnic crisis all appear to be from the minority Hellenistic population! It’s called Christian wisdom.” —Sandy Willson

“The mission of the church, the pursuit of the legacy of Christ, cannot simply be about business and culture as usual. If we allow it to be so simple, we will soon find ourselves in the trap the disciples are caught in as they begin to walk around Samaria out of habit, only to notice that Jesus is going a different way. How often this conflict arises when we attempt to follow Jesus! We set out with the best of intentions, and soon find ourselves not following Him but expecting Him to follow us. The sin in us longs to travel only the road that offers comfort and familiarity. Yet Jesus unapologetically walks the more challenging road, inviting us to witness what He will do if we choose to follow.” —Albert Tate

“Diversity is an implication and hope fueled by the gospel, but it is not the good news. Yet, while the gospel and diversity are not equal ideas, diversity is nevertheless an issue that we are weak in and need to grow in—an issue that requires much time, energy, and prayer.” —Matt Chandler

“Producing homogenous churches can be done with relative ease and a total lack of dependence on the Spirit.” —Matt Chandler

8 Ways Pastors Can Minister Like The Apostle Paul

PreachingThe Apostle Paul reminded the Thessalonians of how he ministered among them (“You know…” [1 Thessalonians 2:1]). This gives all of us pastors now an example of how to minister.

(1) “With the help of God we dared to tell you His gospel” (v. 2). I cannot minister out of my own strength; everything must flow from God’s strength.

(2) The message “does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you” (v. 3). I must constantly allow the Holy Spirit to check my motives and check my theology.

(3) “We speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel”( v. 4a). I am merely a vessel that God chooses to use to share His gospel. This must keep me humble.

(4) “We are not trying to please men but God, Who tests our hearts” (v. 4b). I minister only for God’s approval, only for the applause of Nail-Scarred hands. “We were not looking for praise from men” (v. 6).

(5) “We were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children … We dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God” (vv. 7, 11, 12).

(6) “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” (v. 8). Paul didn’t just show up to preach, but he was in day-to-day interaction with the saints.

(7) “We worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you” (v. 9). My salary should not be too much of a burden for my congregation.

(8) “Holy, righteous and blameless we were among you” (v. 10). My life of integrity adds weight to the message that I preach (v. 5).

May all of us who are pastors live and minister like this!

Praying For Your Congregation

I heart my churchPastors often ask for their congregation to pray for them. This is a good thing! But the Apostle Paul gives pastors a model for praying for their congregation.

In his letter to the Church at Philippi, Paul says, “And this is my prayer…” (Philippians 1:9).

First, notice the motivation for Paul’s prayer: thankfulness. He’s not skeptical nor cynical. He doesn’t browbeat them for any shortcomings. He doesn’t think, “Ministry would be great if it weren’t for these people.” No! He was full of thanks that bubbled up in joyful prayer for these precious people (vv. 3, 4).

Paul also had an attitude of confidence for this congregation. He believed they could carry out ministry responsibilities, and that in the process they could continue to mature in Christ (vv. 5, 6).

Paul had affection for this church: he really liked these people! It’s one thing to love someone (after all, Jesus commanded us to do that), but something entirely different when we like being around people. The King James Version says Paul greatly longed after these folks. The Greek is even better—it says he doted on them (v. 8).

With this in mind, look how Paul prayed for these precious folks on whom he doted. He prayed that…

  • …their love might abound
  • …they would increase in knowledge and insight
  • …their level of spiritual discernment would help them always see the best
  • …their purity and blamelessness would remain intact all the days of their life
  • …they would be filled with God’s righteousness
  • …they would bring glory to God

Pastor, this is a great prayer to pray over the precious people on whom you dote!

%d bloggers like this: