When to Walk Out on a Sermon

But not leaders.

Congregational leaders have a higher responsibility, to safeguard the flock, to keep the church healthy, and if necessary, to hold the pastor accountable. Therefore, leaders of the congregation who are unhappy with a sermon will want to do the following…

–Stay with the bad sermon, whether the preacher is the pastor or a guest. Remain in the pew, paying attention to what is said and to people’s reactions.

–Take good notes. You will want to go over them with the pastor later, and will need to have them handy.

–Listen to comments of the people following the service. Hear, rather than speak. Tell no one how upset you are.

–Leave the matter alone for 24 hours, asking the Father for direction. Make sure you are not over-reacting or doing anything impulsively.

–Check with two or three of the most astute members of the congregation to find out their thoughts. If they were not concerned, ask if they think you are over-reacting. Pay close attention to their counsel.

–If the Holy Spirit green-lights this, make an appointment with the pastor. Go in humbly and sweetly, but alertly (“wise as serpents; harmless as doves”). If the others you consulted feel equally concerned, ask one to accompany you.

–Do not go with an agenda. Do not demand anything. Go with one thing on your mind: to get the pastor’s reaction. You want to know how he felt about what was said, what it means, and what he intends to do about it.

–At the end, thank him, pray for him, and leave. Then, seek the Lord on this.

Leaders of the congregation must be people of courage and wisdom. Sometimes, as I tell deacons in our retreats, the person you have to confront is the pastor himself. That is no fun and should be done with great care. But when necessary, it should be done quickly and firmly.

God bless His church.

This article originally appeared here.

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Joe McKeever
Joe McKeever has been a believer over 60 years, has been preaching the Gospel over 50 years, and has been writing and cartooning for Christian Publications over 40 years. He lives in New Orleans.