How to Keep From Losing your Pastor’s Confidence

This writing is the first lesson of a series entititled, “Ethics in the Ministry,”  by Robert Lewis, and is provided here on the occasion of Pastor Appreciation Month, October, 2012.

 A. Be Agreeable With Him In All Public Situations

Being agreeable is not necessarily approving of all that your pastor says or does. You must remember that he is first of all God’s man and then your pastor. The fact that he is your pastor gives him certain advantages when it comes to the matter of differing opinions. I like to use an example from baseball to describe the priority given to a pastor when there are differing opinions on a matter. In baseball when the batter hits a ball and runs to first base there is a principle that is in effect when he begins to run. If the first baseman receives the ball and tags the base at the same moment that the runner tags the base, then the tie goes to the runner. When there are differing opinions in the church on a matter, God has protected the position of the pastor in a similar fashion. As “the tie goes to the runner,” so in the church the tie goes to the pastor. The foundational scripture for this thinking is:

Heb 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of [their] conversation.

In other words the pastor is to be imitated because he has spoken, and is living according to, the Word of God. He cannot say “Do as I say, not as I do.” The end of his conversation is to lead people in the paths of righteousness and not into sin. Therefore he has a weightier voice when opinions are divided. He is to be remembered for the position he holds, and the person he represents.

Psalms 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!

God hates discord which is produced by false witnesses and liars. They are everywhere. It is not what they do that is most harmful to the church, but how the church and those who are falsely accused respond to the lies. When a person responds in kind to false witnesses and slanderers they are playing into the hands of the devils to destroy their own testimony.

Proverbs 6:19 A false witness [that] speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Proverbs 16:28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

Proverbs 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth [very] friends.

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

Philippians 2:3 [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

I Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

ELDER: 4245. presbuteros {pres-boo’-ter-os}; comparative of presbus (elderly); older; as noun, a senior; specifically, an Israelite Sanhedrist (also figuratively, member of the celestial council) or Christian “presbyter”: -elder(-est), old.[i]

I Timothy 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

B. Be Supportive Of Him And His Family

I Corinthians 9:7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?

In other words, it is normal, right, and reasonable for a pastor to be compensated by his flock from their resources. He is their captain in the war against sin and Satan. He is the husbandman who labors in their vineyard. He is the shepherd who feed the flock. It is clear in the scripture that the pastor to be compensated for his warfare against the devil. He is to find his physical sustenance from the vineyard in which he labors. He is to enjoy the same milk that the flock enjoys.

I Corinthians 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? (Deut 25:4)

I Timothy 5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer [is] worthy of his reward.

Oxen who are “treading out the corn” labor at a steady pace, pulling their load, and eating enough to satisfy them, and keep them strong as they labor.

I Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

RULE: 4291. proistemi {pro-is’-tay-mee}; from 4253 and 2476; to stand before, i.e. (in rank) to preside, or (by implication) to practise: -maintain, be over, rule.

HONOR: 5092. time {tee-may’}; from 5099; a value, i.e. money paid, or (concretely and collectively) valuables; by analogy, esteem (especially of the highest degree), or the dignity itself: -honour, precious, price, some.

Some churches function with a board of elders. Sometimes different duties are ascribed to different elders. There are ruling elders, teaching elders, serving elders and so on. Even in these churches which claim to practice “elder rule” there is always a big elder. That is to say that there is usually one of the elders that actually functions like a pastor, overseeing the church family and the other elders. Pastors would be ruling elders if they are called elders at all. They are to rule. They are to oversee. They are to take charge of the flock. When you have a pastor (an elder that rules well), he is to be taken care of in an unusually generous way. Since he is God’s man who is in a battle with Satan for the souls of men, he must not have the burden of personal poverty to deal with. His compensation is to be greater (double honor) than the sheep he cares for. Even if he is self-sufficient financially he must allow his congregation to supply his needs. If he does not he runs the risk of not thinking in terms of accountability. In addition he is teaching the congregation that they do not have to pay their own way. This is all well and good for him. But when the next pastor comes along who is not financially independent, the congregation will not think correctly about his compensation. They will assume that every pastor should have outside income because they are “poor”. They have been taught to get something for nothing.  Anything from the budget for a pastor will seem to be too much.

I John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

How can a church claim to love a pastor if they are not compassionate towards him and the needs of his family?

C. Be Intolerant Of Criticism Toward Him Or His Family

Church people should know that if they have talked to a deacon, a staff member, a family member, or any close friend of a pastor, they have spoken to him (the pastor himself). When a person hears criticism about a pastor (or anyone else for that matter) they may be able to stop the gossip in the following ways.

1. Let the person who is doing the criticizing know that you have no secrets to keep between you and your friend (pastor) and that whatever they tell you will be repeated to him the next time you see him.

 2. If half-truths, slander or false accusations surface in a conversation, do not argue the point. Simply say, Let’s confront him now. Then either call him or offer to go see him so that the accuser can confront the one he is talking badly about.

Either of these approaches will in all likelihood, take you out of the accuser’s loop.

Genesis 21:23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son: [but] according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.

Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips [is] wise.

Proverbs 22:10 Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.

SCORNER: 3887. luwts {loots}; a primitive root; properly, to make mouths at, i.e. to scoff; hence (from the effort to pronounce a foreign language) to interpret, or (generally) intercede: -ambassador, have in derision, interpreter, make a mock, mocker, scorn(-er, -ful), teacher.

CONTENTION: 4066. madown {maw-dohn’}; from 1777; a contest or quarrel: -brawling, contention(-ous), discord, strife. Compare 4079, 4090.

Proverbs 25:23 The north wind driveth away rain: so [doth] an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.

COUNTENANCE: 6440. paniym {paw-neem’}; plural (but always as singular) of an unused noun [paneh {paw-neh’}; from 6437]; the face (as the part that turns); time(-s) past, (un-)to(-ward), + upon, upside (+ down), with(-in, + -stand), X ye, X you.

Proverbs 26:20 Where no wood is, [there] the fire goeth out: so where [there is] no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

TALRBEARER: 5372. nirgan {neer-gawn’}; from an unused root meaning to roll to pieces; a slanderer: -talebearer, whisperer.

I Samuel 18:1 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

When you love someone as your own soul you will not be thinking of his mistakes or the evil which you perceive that he has done. You will want good for him as you would want it for yourself. You will want him to look good, feel good. And be well provided for.

After King Saul was killed and David ascended to the throne of Israel, David looked for a descendant of Saul to show kindness to. He found Mephibosheth who was the lame son of Jonathan, David’s soul mate. David brought Mephibosheth to the city of David to eat at the king’s table and be cared for because David loved Saul and Jonathan. Saul was wrong in his attitude and his actions against David, but David saw him as God’s anointed servant and therefore blessed him in every way he could. God would deal with the pride and treachery of Saul, but David would not lend himself to be Saul’s judge.

Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

This message is for the members of a church; Christians in general. These are the attributes which have been endowed to us from our Savior. They clearly need to be “put on,” or pursued in lour daily routines. The truth is that no one can be argued into heaven nor into a holy walk. It is something that must be chosen by an individual. It is to be “put on” like a garment.

Romans 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].

II Peter 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

D. See Him As God’s Man

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.

I Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]:

II Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. . .

I Corinthians 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

FOOL: 3474. moros {mo-ros’}; probably from the base of 3466; dull or stupid (as if shut up), i.e. heedless, (morally) blockhead, (apparently) absurd: -fool(-ish, X -ishness).

MIGHTY: 2478. ischuros {is-khoo-ros’}; from 2479; forcible (literally or figuratively): -boisterous, mighty(-ier), powerful, strong(-er, man), valiant.

E. See Him As Your Friend

Exodus 33:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 18:24 A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.

Proverbs 27:6 Faithful [are] the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy [are] deceitful.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

[i] All Greek and Hebrew word definitions in this work are from Strongs Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries as found in  Swordsearcher 6.1 by Brandon Skaggs.

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2 Responses to How to Keep From Losing your Pastor’s Confidence

  1. Pastor Mike Walls says:

    Do you mind if I pass this to others

  2. I have been reading with interest your blogs. These last two are of particular interest to me personally. In the last ten years, I have changed pastorates three times. When I left Temple Baptist in El Dorado, KS the Lord had Bro. Ron Jones on staff with me and they called him as pastor. For ten years previously, the Lord molded me and His church in ways that only eternity will reveal. But my point is, when I moved, I believe it was of God. He used the abilities He had given me to stabilize a wonderful congregation that had suffered some set backs. Today, they are doing well under Pastor Jones’ leadership.
    I moved to Trinity Baptist in Findlay, OH where Gene Milioni started and pastored for 51 years. However, length of tenure doesn’t always mean spiritual health. For over six years, God used me again in a restoration ministry. For six years, I also trained my successor. Pastor Mike Spann has taken the church from 300 to 400 the last three years. I believe God used the abilities and experience He’d given me, to restore an anemic church to spiritual health.
    I’ve been at Neuse Baptist in Raleigh, NC for amost three years. Without question, this has been my most difficult mission in my 30 years in the ministry. Restoring a spiritually sick church is at times, much more taxing than starting a new work.
    Why your blogs have intrigued is this, I believe you have tried to show a balance between churches that are very much worth salvaging, and those pastors whom God has called to invest their love, experience, and knowledge to do the salvaging.
    But if you don’t read the two blogs together, one might miss the balance. Not every pastor that moves frequently is moving up a ladder. Not every pastor that moves, does so upon his whim. I’ve pastored five churches in 30 years, each one has matured me in ways needed for the work God has for me next. I am praying that at 58, I’m able (Lord willing) to stay in Raleigh for the duration of my life.
    I hope to see you at the Heartland Church Planting Conference. I tried to conservatively and biblically serve the BBFI for over 25 years, but the Lord gave me permission to leave a few years ago. I’m trying to be more active in the GIBF and Heartlnd.

    Thanks for your blogs. Your friend in Christ,

    Dave Shaffer
    Neuse Baptist Church
    Raleigh, NC

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