What do you do when your pastor says something you don’t want to hear?
I don’t know if you are all like me, but I can’t really think of anything wrong in my life. No real sins that I am dealing with. My moral, theological, and political views are all in line with Jesus’. So, if a pastor has something to say to me during a weekend service that I disagree with, then it must be that he/she is mistaken.
Seriously though, what should we do when a pastor says something we don’t want to hear? Leave! Go to another church. (I am being facetious, of course. I hate the notion of church shopping and I am frustrated with how easily people leave one church and head to another)
Okay, in all seriousness (mind you that is hard for me), we all have issues! The simple fact is that from time to time the Word proclaimed should ruffle my feathers! I should be convicted in my heart. How about if I say it this way: If the preacher does not get under my skin at times, then I dare say that he/she is not preaching the Word!
I expect the preacher to say things I don’t agree with.
The simple fact is that we don’t all agree! So what if he/she expresses his/her opinion on a matter and it happens to conflict with what I think? This should be fine. We can all learn from each other. I may not be convinced of someone else’s opinion, but what is wrong with hearing the other side?
Nothing is wrong with it! In fact, hearing opposing viewpoints is often critical in fostering understanding. I may not agree with you but at least I understand where you are coming from. I may not agree, but I will respect you.
But for some reason it seems as though Christians are more and more resistant to hearing differing opinions. We have always had a strain of narrow-mindedness in the Church. But today it seems even more intense. We just don’t want to hear ideas that we don’t agree with.
But, doesn’t being a Christian mean that we understand that we don’t have it all figure out?
We make it very hard on our pastors.
You need to understand that as a pastor this is hard. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to exercise caution over what not to say, what to say, and how to say it. Sure, sometimes it is important to not speak. My job is to lead the sheep; not to beat them. I am to guide them and help them along on this journey towards Christlikeness.
Now I fully respect the fact that the pulpit is not always the place to have a conversation. Some matters are simply best left for other settings—a classroom, small group, or even a private conversation.
But, sometimes I wonder if I am just a coward. Only saying what I think the people want to hear. And I hold back. I resist the opportunity to proclaim important aspects of the Gospel to the Church.
Let’s be honest that one of the reasons we pastors are afraid to speak up is that we know that when we do we will have lots of angry congregants. So it is just not worth it.
One of the best ways, however, to pursue peace and break down walls that divide us is to understand the other side. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us as pastors to “preach the Word” (2 Tim 4:2).
When the pastors are afraid to dissent from the popular opinion in public,
the net result is that we become further entrenched in our convictions. As a result, we have less understanding and less chances for peace.
PS: Funny thing here: how many of you are unsure if you will read my blog anymore because I used both male and female pronouns (he/she) to refer to pastors? Here is an example in which some will decide to no longer read my blog because we don’t agree on something. Let us learn from each other even when we don’t agree!