I know a fellow pastor who is going through some real trials with his church. Apparently, preaching the full-counsel of God does not sit well with many in his congregation. Now, before you go and say that I’m just saying this, realize that I have downloaded quite a few of his sermons and listened to them. Others in his presbytery have done the same, and had the same sentiments. He is preaching the full counsel of God, faithfully.
Basically, what my friend is going through is the beginning of the end of that particular church. The more carnal people in the congregation have realized how much power they yield by going to the elders and demanding that my friend be forced to resign. The elders, being the staunch spiritual leaders that they are, caved so quickly that I have to question their leadership ability. The church is becoming subject to mob rule. And when mobs rule in the church, the church dies. I’ve seen it firsthand and understand how sad it is.
The reason mobs are so successful is because they are usually the loudest portion of the church. They are given over to their fleshly desires and their fleshly desires are the gauge by which the judge everything, not Scripture. The more godly, and humble, tend to stand quietly by while the mobs rule. Then… the godly leave, giving the mob more power than before. It is a vicious cycle and eventually the church becomes filled with the tares who kill off the remaining wheat.
Where mobs rule, Christ does not. This is why the elders need to stand against the mobs. No matter how many times the mob threatens to leave or quit giving to the church, the elders need to rebuke them in their carnality. Sadly, too many elders fail to do so, and thus fail in shepherding. This is why so many churches are small and dysfunctional. At some point, the elders are faced with following Scripture and the Spirit in the midst of a conflict, or following the loudest voices. When the loudest voices rule, the congregation suffers.
It is in view of all this that there are a few things I wish every congregation would realize. I know that the more carnal congregations will not give heed to my words because they feel they are always right to begin with. In their mind, they think they are doing God a great service by sending a pastor packing when that pastor fails to tickle their ears. Unless the more godly in the congregation are willing to stand up to these congregational mobs, the mobs will continue to rule. Please know that these things do not apply to all churches. Some congregations are truly godly and look out for and care for their pastors. But this is for those who see no problem in running a pastor off simply because they do not like something about him.
Here are a few things for congregations to consider:
- The pastor and his family are the ones that are taking a risk when they accept a call to a church, not the other way around. The pastor has to move his family, leaving behind friends and, often times a home, in order to serve in the new call. Yes, I know that many people in the business world do the same, but I point this out because when he loses his pastorate, he very often loses his home as well. The ne’er do wells get to keep their homes and their churches when they run a pastor off. This is why it is so important to stand up for pastors when they are being ill treated by members of the congregation.
- You called a pastor to lead you and feed you spiritually. You need to realize that you are calling a man who has been called by God to do so. When you rebel against the faithful pastor, you rebel against God. According to Ephesians 4, the pastor is Christ’s gift to the church, for the edification of the flock. He is not called to be famous, or a celebrity. You don’t need famous or a celebrity. You need a man faithful to God’s word.
- You don’t deserve to sit under godly preaching. I know, shocking huh? But you don’t. You are in God’s church by His grace and grace alone. So when you enter into worship, you need to humble yourself under the preaching that God has provided for you, in His sovereignty. Sadly, far too many think they deserve to have the absolute best preachers the country has to offer. I’m not advocating for shoddy preaching. But not all men are Chuck Swindoll, or R.C. Sproul. Thank goodness. Apparently in God’s providence, He thinks we only need one of each.
- Quit thinking you know best how to rule the church. Leading a church is very difficult and when you sit and try to do so on the sidelines, you show your contempt for God’s authority that is placed over you. Remember, you are to submit to the leadership of the elders, not the other way around.
- Beware what you are asking for when you run off men who faithfully preach God’s word. You are asking for God’s judgment. He will gladly give you someone to preach nonsense to you if you keep demanding it. This is the worst form of judgment, since you have tasted of the things of God, but rejected them. He will give you over to your base nature.
These are just a few things that I put together in view of my friend’s situation, and given some of the situations I have encountered in the past. I am hoping my friend will stand strong, and his elders will realize the sinfulness of giving into mob rule. Anyone who takes such a mentality, that of threatening to leave if they don’t get their way, should be disciplined because pride and arrogance rule such individuals. The more that beast is fed and set free, the more it will ravage the body. It is far better to deal with that wickedness up front, with the possibility of losing some members, than it is to give into it, because that spirit is never satisfied.