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5 Secrets Pastors Refuse to Tell

“I let a handful of critics control me.”

These pastors wish the squeaky wheel didn’t always get oiled, but such is the reality in many churches. “If I ignore them (the critics),” one pastor told me, “they will make life miserable for me and my family. Sometimes it’s just best to give them their way.”

“I often have anger toward the supportive church members who don’t defend me to my critics.” 

“It’s not my critics who bother me personally,” the pastor shared with me. “It’s the so-called supportive members who refuse to come to my defense when I’m attacked by a critic. Going into a business meeting, one of these supporters told me how much he loved me and how he would always have my back. Fifteen minutes later, I’m being castigated by three members who hardly ever attend church. What does my supporter do or say? Absolutely nothing. That’s what really hurts.”

“I’ve thought about quitting several times.” 

These pastors are truly called men of God. They really do love their congregations. Most of them will endure the criticisms aimed at them personally. But when supportive members really don’t support them or when family members are hurt, many pastors think about quitting. “Only one thing has stopped me from quitting,” the pastor said. “It’s the call of God. That’s what keeps me hanging on.”

Through this blog and through other venues, I intend to do everything I can in God’s power to be the pastor’s advocate. The pastorate is one of the toughest jobs in the world. Indeed, it’s an impossible job in human power alone.

Pastors, how can we best help you? Church members, what can we do to be the best pastor advocate possible?

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Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (LifeWay.com). Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and six grandchildren. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.