What you do not want is a spiritual leader who is too impressed with the membership, too thrilled with the prestige of pastoring “this great church,” and too excited with himself for being named your pastor.
Pastors are instruments of a holy God sent to lead us, to prod us, to teach us, to comfort us when we need it and to hound us when we are straying.
3) Even so, what “I” want and what “you” want in the pastor has nothing to do with anything. The only question is: Did God send that person to the church?
If God sent him,* please do the Lord the honor of getting out of his way. Do yourself a favor and get on board. Do the church a favor and stand up to those who would oust him because they don’t like the way he ties his tie (or the fact that he doesn’t wear one at all!), or wears his shirts outside his jeans (jeans! horrors!).
The next time you find yourself on a committee that is a) working against the pastor, b) seeking to oust the pastor, or c) trying to change the pastor, ask yourself the big question: Why?
Why are we doing this? Who is behind this? Do they have ulterior motives or are they sincerely trying to do the Lord’s will? Will the effect of this be to bless that minister’s service for Christ or handicap it? Is this worthwhile?
Then ask it of the others on the committee. And do not take anything less than a solid answer.
There are times I will ask my grandchildren a question about their day, their grades or some activity they’re involved in. Often, I will preface it with this: “I want to ask you something. And you are not allowed to say, ‘I don’t know.’ I want an answer.” (When done in love and with a sweet spirit, it generally produces the desired effect.)
Sometimes we have to treat our colleagues in church leadership like children and ask for their reasons for what they are doing.
4) Before leaving the subject, let’s state the obvious: It is possible for a pastor to be wrong for a church. (Thought I’d never come to that, didn’t you? Smiley-face here.)
Perhaps your church is conservative, and the pastor is liberal. Your church is Baptist, and the pastor is a Jehovah Witness. Your church is mission-minded, and the pastor is anti-missions. Your church is in dire need of hands-on leadership, and the pastor wants to live in the next town and drive in on weekends.
Nothing about this is good.
Let’s admit the obvious here: Sometimes pastor search committees make huge mistakes. And pastors make mistakes too by going to churches they know they are wrong for.
When this happens, the lay leadership of the church has a major responsibility of dealing with it. They should approach it cautiously with prayer and fasting, seeking the Lord’s direction on how to proceed. They will want to call in outside counsel from the denomination and other veteran leaders who will have insights on how to proceed. Let them do nothing precipitously and disruptively, but go forward in faith and love, admitting their mistakes and seeking to bless everyone involved.
Let them do nothing to handicap the ministry of a God-called servant, even if it is the unanimous decision that he needs to leave.
Pray for our leaders. Pray for our pastors. Pray for yourself, that the Lord will guide your steps and “help you to walk on your high places” (Habakkuk 3:19).
(*Note: As always, I write from the standpoint of a Southern Baptist. We do not have women pastors, although women serve in leadership positions and on church staffs. Many good churches doing the work of the Lord do have women pastors.)