You’re brave and I applaud you for considering yourself a mature Christian. For the last several months, I’ve just been posting directly on Facebook and not on my blog because I’ve wanted to get quick thoughts out (mainly because my time is pretty stretched) and I wanted to keep things a little light. Today, though, I’m going to stretch you. When you’re finished reading this post, maybe you’ll totally agree with me and give me a virtual high five. Maybe you’ll be entirely confused because you thought every Christian already knew this… psst~ I wish they did! Maybe you’ll be entirely confused because you had absolutely no idea that there’s a proper way to handle things in the church because we’re all free to do whatever we want to do. Whatever your reaction, I sure hope it isn’t to be offended. There’s way, way, way too much of that in the world and it hasn’t skipped the church, unfortunately.
Okay, let’s get down to it. I worked in a mega church for a few years but I didn’t know any of this. These situations must have been above my pay grade because I truly thought the church family operated like the Walton’s. If there was a dispute, we cleared it up over the dinner table and then called out good night to each other with pure hearts. I wasn’t introduced to a good old fashioned “church hurt”- that ugly thing that keeps people from being in relationship with a local church- until a few years ago (in a different church) when I saw a couple people flat out abuse their authority and dishonor God with their gossip and slander. I RAN from that church- that’s what we’re supposed to do when we’re in an unclean environment. We don’t honor what dishonors God- not under any circumstances.
I’m glad I got to see that ugly side of fleshly people in the body of Christ, though, because it gave me permission to start using that discernment God gave me and I now use it often. Churches are full of people and people are people….. so now that my husband and I have a church and we shepherd and love people through their every day needs, crises, victories and struggles, I know this one thing for sure. There are disagreements within the body of Christ.
We are at a Leadership conference with our spiritual dad and Pastor this week. This morning, he spoke to the members of the church at large and how they should be handling disagreements or a difference of opinion with their Pastor. Wait, there will be differences of opinion with your Pastor?? Apparently so. Before I recap his list and my impromptu thoughts, let me once again say that if you’re under UNCLEAN authority, go find clean authority. Immediately….. but let’s assume this is just a difference of opinion.
- Stay submitted. You’re not honoring anyone (God included) if you use your offense as permission to “do your own thing”. As Pastors, we don’t bail on you. It is disconcerting how many believers walk from their local church without meeting with the pastor and without a second thought of the void they leave within a family and a ministry.
- Don’t purpose to get out of order. Your perceived offense is not a license to church hop or, worse yet, stay home. The covenant of marriage doesn’t have a loophole for adultery and neither does your two-sided relationship with your Pastor.
- Always edify your Pastors and walk in joy. It’s likely that you took on someone else’s offense or there was a simple miscommunication. Call your Pastor and if he or she is a true shepherd, they want to hear from you and meet with you. No church is so big that people should ever become something there’s no time for.
- Pray for your Pastor. I worked on a staff of a very, very large church and still had absolutely no idea what that Pastor was walking through every single day. It hurts my heart that I didn’t pray more for him or appreciate the attacks on him that came from the body and from the enemy.
- Don’t go public with your disagreement or difference of opinion or recruit people to agree with you behind closed doors. Why? It’s dishonoring and you’re supposed to be a mature disciple.
I’m just going to leave this here for your thoughts. I WELCOME your comments and questions and will respectfully address all respectful invitations to discuss what I’ve written. At the end of the day, let’s just all try to put on our big boy and big girl pants and be able to say good night at the end of the day without question, malice, anger or worry.