"Just Say It" Series:
"For the good of the church"
I am not referring to when a pastor has a true moral failure, such as an embezzlement or an affair. What I am referring to are times when the pastor is criticized over petty issues or simply does not align with the preferences of others and is railroaded out.
One of the things these people often say is, "well, I'm just doing this for the good of the church..."
Consider one friend of mine who had video games on his computer at the church and occasionally took a break to play them. (How is this any different from me taking a mid-afternoon break to walk down to the lake on our church property, or taking a coffee break? It's not and furthermore it is no one's business.) A secretary went to the board and said of our friend, "Our pastor plays video games in his office when he should be praying and seeking God for our people and this church..." That was the beginning of the end...he didn't last there very long as his resignation was soon called for. (It should have been the secretary who was fired in this case.)
A pastor's wife who is a personal friend of mine had some ladies from the church over for lunch and while there the women couldn't help but notice the huge library in their home. Like most pastors, her husband was a book lover and had them from floor to ceiling at both the church office and at home. Sitting in the parsonage that day, as a few ladies were glancing around at the books on the shelf they noticed the book, The Joy of Sex. Shortly thereafter the pastor was called in by the board over some "explicit materials" that were reportedly in his home, and the deacons finally admitted that all they were referring to was this book. Evidently some of the women thought this was completely inappropriate material for the pastor and his wife to have in their home, let alone openly on the shelf. Two weeks later they were asked to leave the church over it, and the board told the church, "We had to do this for the good of the church. God won't bless our church when the pastor is living an unholy life with filthy literature in his house." That pastor was hurt so badly by the incident that he left pastoral ministry, went successfully into business and he and his wife are leading a peaceful life today, although not fulfilling the call to pastor. I can't say that I blame them. [Side note: I'm sure those church ladies had pathetic to non-existent sex lives.]
Others are criticized because of their families. Pastor's kids (PK's) are targets for many reasons (I will blog about this next week) namely the fact that they've had 18 years intense discipleship by the time they turn of age, and the enemy is scared out of his stupid little mind about them. Lame things can be heard such as, "Their kids should know better, I mean, after all they are pastor's children and they need to set an example...we just felt we had to say something for the good of the church, you know..."
Still others are criticized because of changes they have made in the church. "I don't think God is in this new thing that our pastor is proposing. We've never done it this way before and as a matter of fact somebody did try something like that here years ago, but it never flew and for the good of the church, he just needs to listen to us."
This last one deserves it's own post so I am going to do a follow up in more detail, but there are always those who believe they are more "spiritual" than their pastor. They believe they have a personal hotline to God that others don't, and unfortunately the pastor is doing something different than what God told THEM should happen. And... "For the good of the church, I must say something because God spoke to me, and the pastor is just not hearing from God correctly...I'm feeling something different in my spirit..., and I've tried to tell them what God is saying, and well...to save our church before things go too far, I must speak up so that God's will can unfold for our church..."
Have any of you heard these things before? There is one origin to all of these type of comments. Although they may be well intentioned, they do come straight from hell.
People better be very careful what they are doing for "the good of the church." I have never seen it truly work for GOOD. Every time I've ever seen someone act on something like this, a church falls apart. Some actually have to close their doors for good. This is because you are not doing God, the church or yourself any favors by criticizing or attacking your pastor. In fact, the scripture says that when you strike the shepherd, the sheep will scatter! (Matthew 26 and Mark 14) If you are a church member who is guilty of any of this type of behavior there is a place you need to head to as soon as possible: the altar.
The Bible says that it is NOT for your BENEFIT to bring sorrow of this kind to your leader. "Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit." Hebrews 13:17