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7 Must-Ask Questions Before Taking a Public Stand

7. What will be the effect on my church?

The pastor is seen as the representative of the congregation, their public face, so to speak. He cannot take refuge in calling himself a private citizen who has the right to take a stand on anything regardless of its consequences upon the congregation.

Some years back, a neighboring pastor of mine made the front page of our newspaper. He was a member of a group from across our part of the world that had formed an organization in protest of the conservative direction our denomination was taking. My friend was named as a leader and a board member of that fledgling movement.

He had not considered how this would be received by his church.

The board of his church was upset. In a quickly called meeting, they let the pastor know not everyone in his congregation agreed with his stance and his continued employment was in jeopardy.

When the pastor insisted he was acting as a private citizen, not as the leader of their church, they reminded him it was his name on the church sign out front, and everything he did reflected on the congregation. He did not enjoy the luxury of being a “private citizen.”

President Theodore Roosevelt used to have a pet dog that was always being beaten up by other dogs. A reporter asked him about that. “Your dog’s not much of a fighter, is he, Mr. President?” Roosevelt replied: “Oh no, he’s a wonderful fighter! He’s just a poor judge of dog!”

No one needs discernment—good judgment—more than the pastor of a local church. God help you to get it right.  

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Joe McKeever has been a preacher for nearly 60 years, a pastor for 42 years, and a cartoonist/writer for Christian publications all his adult life. He lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi.