I loved Mom’s post about the sociological events, and just felt compelled to add my little two bits. When things like this happen, there are a few things that growing up in the home of a faithful pastor taught me.
First of all, don’t get involved if you are neither part of the problem or part of the solution. Long distance judgments never profit anyone. Sometimes you might feel like you are involved, but the truth is that someone has just shared a grievance with you. Accusations and serious sounding things do not a full story make.
This brings me to the second thing. Pastors are very uniquely vulnerable to assaults like this, because (especially when they are respectable men), they cannot fight back in the same way. Someone can gallop around the Internet accusing a pastor of being rude and selfish and generally nasty. The pastor is not at liberty to stand up and say, “FYI folks: Bill is the guy who has been in counseling for six months because of his problems with porn and petty theft, and he is just angry because I turned down his offer of co-pastoring with me.” But if you had been going to coffee with Bill to talk about his concerns, and sympathizing with them, you would (or should) feel foolish if you knew the whole story. Proverbs speaks to the point (18:17) “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him.”
Sometimes, pastoring is an uphill battle that ends in fiery accusations. After three years of midnight phone calls to say, “Pastor! I am thinking of huffing glue! What do you think I should do!?!?!” And three years of, “Don’t do it! It never works out!” finally comes the call “Huffed glue! Now I am in prison! It’s all your fault, I can’t wait to tell everyone! They’ll be shocked!”
So just remember that if you are not actually the person appointed to wade through all the mess and sort it out (and you aren’t), you are not at the security clearance level to hear the pastor’s side. So be gracious, and be judicious, and don’t get your skivvies in a knot. And if it is on your mind, turn it into a prayer that the wronged would be righted, and that God would be honored.
15 thoughts on “One more thing….”
I’m crying. Thank you.
As a fellow PK, I completely agree.
I have lived illustration after illustration of this well said post, as a pastor’s wife of 21yrs. It is a crying shame that most of Christ’s sheep are so in the dark about this and how any pastor worth his salt will not go around uncovering the sheep to defend his own name and so it goes…
I think the most difficult thing that many congregants tend to put expectation on a pastor, his/her time, and efforts despite the reality of the pastor. With that expectation comes an entitlement to the pastor, his/her responses, and choices. What frustrates me the most is that many expect grace extended to them, yet they judge far more harshly of those put into position to shepherd and teach. I have seen numerous youth pastors step down, not even because of poor choices, but because of the weight those expectations and entitlements become, even when the pastor is simply trying to do it Jesus’ way in the best manner they know how. I really hope our Church begins to learn more and more about grace and dealing with conflict with mercy, even if mercy means dusting our sandals.
Absolutely 100% true in my experience! Those who listen to wild accusations against pastors and elders should remember that a true shepherd cannot defend himself with the information he has because it is usually from a private and confidential counseling session. It all comes down to trust. Do you trust the busybody who is stirring up trouble on the internet and in social circles by flinging mud at their counselor, or do you trust the man who is holding his tongue and refusing to fling mud back? In these cases, it would usually be very easy for a pastor or elder to clear his name if he was willing to stoop low enough to the same tactics his accusers are using.
I’d like to add my amen to that too. (My father was a ‘home missioner’ – does that make me a PK or an MK?)
Could I also suggest that while it is sometimes a failing or sin in the life of an elder or pastor – and who can be free from such things – it might also simply arise from the fact that the poor man is only finite after all?
Sometimes the problems arise because a pastor/elder simply misread a situation, or didn’t have the resources to handle it as fully as the person expected. Sometimes it’s just personality differences, or a particular characteristic of the elder/pastor that a person struggled with.
We don’t just need to have lots of grace towards one another when there is sin about (although it is surely needed then), we also need to extend grace to one another because our personalities clash, our tastes differ, our preferences vary and our priorities don’t mesh.
(The above comments are general. I know nothing about the SCG situation, nor need I.)
A very good reminder to pray REGULARLY for our pastors and elders! We’re foolish if we think the enemy is ignoring the work of God in the church. Distrust and self-protection are strong weapons and must be fought with prayer.
I. Love. This. Gossip is the breath of death, and probably the worst source of information to base judgements on.
As a pastors wife: Yes, and Amen! Your observations are SPOT ON! Thank you!!!!!
Can anyone help me get in touch with Rachel? My church would like to get permission to reprint two of her articles in our church newsletter. I’ve not been able to find an email address ~ but, then again, I’m not very comptuer saavy! LOL
Thank you for any help 🙂
As a pastor’s wife, I am SO encouraged by the love and wisdom expressed on this blog and the responses posted. Praise God! May God continue to give us grace to pray and love and be humble.
Thank you for this post and the last one. I am convicted because I’m neither part of the problem or part of the solution, yet it’s easy for me to read the gossip on the internet…things that probably should not have been posted publicly and are not for my eyes to see. Instead I can pray for SGM and for all involved, and trust that God knows and He reigns…there’s no need for me to try to figure it out.
Thank you for this Rachel. 🙂
Great words of wisdom, indeed…
Amy, Rachel has a fb fan page you can like and maybe message her there: