I came across an excellent blog post today by a guy named Jonathan Herron who is a pastor in Ohio. This man wrote an incredible post called, "A Pointed Observation" and it's about pastors, encouragement and criticism. This guy really knows how to break it down. At first I was just going to tell all my pastor-friends to check out this post but then I realized, many people who aren't pastors read my blog from all over the place and really, it's church people all over the world who need to hear this. I encourage you to read this man's post and pass the information along to your church people. If everyone would realize the importance of what this man shares, things would be A LOT different in ministry.
I also want to say before anyone even reads this, that by and large I have a fantastic situation with my church. The vast majority of Northsiders are just incredible when it comes to this. God has given me some INCREDIBLE encouragers. We also have some people who are just so incredibly loyal, they would do anything for us. Some have even moved to our neighborhood to be closer to us. :-) But we have our few difficult situations to deal with like anyone else, and we have also been around the block quite a bit in 21 years of ministry and dealt with some stuff in the past, so I know EXACTLY what this man speaks of. No situation is perfect. And occasionally "stuff" happens. I found his post worthy of printing the entire thing here for those who might be too lazy to click and go to his blog, (yeah, I'm sometimes too tired to click, are you?) so here ya go:
A Pointed Observation
Pardon me for a moment while I make a pointed observation: I have never met an over-encouraged pastor. It's almost an oxymoron. Almost all are walking-wounded. Bitten by their own sheep.
It has always boggled my mind when someone who has never undertook the tremendous physical, mental & spiritual challenge of planting a church criticizes a church planter. That takes a lot of gumption, y'know?
Likewise, it has always astounded me when someone who has never pastored a church criticizes their pastor. I think Paul said something about this in 1 Timothy 1.6-7. It would be like me trying to tell my primary physician he's doing everything wrong while he's trying to treat me. Ludicrous & judgmental, right?
Further, it has also always struck me as audacious when seminary students criticize pastors. This is like a first-year med student walking up to a tenured brain surgeon with years of mettle and experience and saying, "Hey Doc, I'll take the scalpel here. I obviously have a steadier arm having been watching from the sidelines. You can scrub out."
My point? Your pastor doesn't need your criticisms & judgments, trust me. He needs your prayers and loud encouragements. Allow me to go a step further with this observation: If you have a long critical email/blog post/phone call that you can't wait to use to get your pastor's attention, read Hebrews 13.17-18 first. And then if you're still feeling moved to speak, watch Session 2 from Unleash (unpacks Heb 13.17 perfectly).
Bottom-line: It's hard to create something beautiful with a sledgehammer. Criticize by creating. Trust that the true Senior Pastor (1 Peter 5) is consuming & guiding your local pastor's heart - the workman already approved.