Paul wrote, “Speak the truth in love” (Eph 4:15), so I must confess that I am hurting for my hurting brothers and disappointed in many who name the name of Christ in relation to the treatment of ministers. I must also confess to a certain amount of anger about the situations I see in many churches.
In seeking out those who are hurting for Redemption Ministry I have come to the conclusion that ministers need an advocate… someone in their corner… someone who will defend, support, and let them know they are not alone in their struggles. They need an Onesiphorus who is not ashamed of their chains but will refresh them!
It is time for congregations to carry out what God commands about forgiveness, mercy, restoration, and reconciliation. This command is not only preachers or staff, but deacons, opinion leaders, and those who tell ministers in secret they support them! Why? Keep reading…
For a while I have been observing a significant number of ministers suffering and hurting… silently… in private… unbeknownst to many. I must say that I have been surprised by the depth and significance of the pain these men are enduring. People who are supposed to be relating to them according to Hebrews 13:17 (“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”) would be better described as abuse. I’ve seen it so many times I am close to agreeing with the quote above… but I’m not there yet.
The depth of pain and hurt inflicted on ministers (Primarily Pastors) by church members is just not right! As I hear my brother’s stories I ask… Where is love? Where is forgiveness? Where is grace? Where is mercy? What happened to compassion?! Yes, I AM defensive for my brothers in the ministry! Yes, I am incensed at the way pastors are treated. I ask… “How long oh Lord will You allow this to continue?”
Consider: Five years after graduating seminary 50% will have quit the ministry. 1,700 ministers are fired every month in the U.S. Why is such true? Because of how dysfunctional many congregations are.
When a pastor (Because he didn’t have good “leadership skills”) is given two weeks to get out of the house and two weeks severance, something is wrong. When a pastor is told he doesn’t have a vision the same as the staff and therefore he must resign, something is terribly wrong. When deacons allow church members to spread rumors, petitions, and lies about the pastor that undercut his credibility with the congregation, there is a problem. When it is acceptable for the tail to wag the dog in a congregation (Rejecting a pastor’s leadership), that fellowship is dysfunctional. When church leadership refuse to support the pastor because the people they’d have to confront are their friends, well… what can be said?
Disappointed? If it weren’t for my strong belief in God’s sovereignty and providence I would be… but it’s close. This I know, there are wolves among the sheep and tares among the wheat. At times it is difficult to tell them apart. Sometimes it isn’t. It is obvious a person is a believer when they seek reconciliation, forgiveness, show mercy… grace… and compassion, to those who they don’t understand… necessarily agree with… and especially with those who have failed.
Please… by the mercies of God… be an encourager! Be part of a solution of restoration and reconciliation. Show mercy, grace, repentance, and forgiveness so that the message of the cross is more credible in the community!
Indeed judgment must begin at the house of God…