- Many of our congregations are struggling with diminishing numbers and energy levels.
- Many of our pastors have no idea how to lead a congregation in a 21st Century culture.
- Many congregations say they want to call a pastor who will help them grow.
So what do we do with this situation: A congregation takes the bold step to call a forward-thinking pastor who does know how to lead a church in 21st Century ministry. Maybe the pastor is from another part of the country or from another generation or from another culture. And everybody is fired up! And things are going to change! And things do change!
And now they want to fire the pastor.
When we talked about growing, we didn’t mean with those people.
When we got a younger pastor, we assumed he would listen to his elders.
When she said she wanted to reach out into the community, we thought she was talking about doing that from her office. Now she’s rarely in the office at all.
Pastoral Leaders must first and foremost love their people – because they are God’s people. The ones on our search committees whom we met first might be easy to love because they interviewed and they “get” us.
But we’ve also got to love the ones who are cranky and cynical and don’t like the way we wear our hair. We’ve got to love the ones who still adore their previous pastor and openly compare us to him/her. We’ve got to love the ones who don’t respect us. We’ve got to love even the haters.
Loving the haters is no joke. But we can’t lead God’s people if we don’t love them. If we can’t love them, we might as well hit the road.
So pastors: love your people. And church people: let your pastor lead. It’s said that Jesus was killed by his own congregation because he wanted them to change in ways they resented. There are too many churches who have killed their leaders’ enthusiasm, if not their souls. Please don’t do that.
Image of Ray Charles.