A friend of mine wrote me recently telling me how upset he was over his (sorta/kinda) pastor resigning. He couldn't understand why God would allow that. He questioned whether the pastor even knew the will of God. He questioned the pastor's integrity.
I've had to deal with and answer this type questioning many times. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of pastors and leaders out there that live sinful lives and abuse the people. There are thousands of pastors that are greedy and power hungry. There's plenty of examples of preachers compromising and doing terrible things.
I also know that "good" men are stereotyped because of these wicked hirelings. I don't mind rebuking the sinful preacher, but I'm also quick to fight for the men and women of God that are trying to work for Jesus.
For 22 years of ministry I've heard unqualified pew sitters talk about what's wrong with preachers and the church. Very seldom do I hear them take responsibility.
This will be a very long post, but I am going to share my response to him with you, hoping you can see things from a pastor's perspective. I know there are great churches and very faithful saints out there, so the things I said to him aren't applicable to everyone. If you are one of the faithful, Thank You. Please, continue what you're doing. The kingdom depends on you. Souls depend on you. Keep praying. We're living in the days of the great falling away, you're important!
"Dear Brother. I understand what you're saying and I understand why you're hurting. It's perfectly normal. And I want to be sensitive to your situation. I count you as a friend and you've been through a lot lately.
With that said, I'm having a hard time agreeing with your perspective because, not only do I understand how you feel, I understand how it feels to be a pastor.
In a previous message, you said the following to me:
"We have become discouraged. about not having a home church..."
And then later, in another, message:
"of course the _______ Church and the people are nice and treat us good but we still don't feel a part of or at home there."
After reading that and then seeing how you questioned them for leaving, I feel like you were wrong and certainly weren't being fair. (I'm speaking to you as a friend. I'm not bothered at all.)
Here's some things you need to understand:
People celebrate when we (pastors) start churches. They believe us when we say God sent us. They tell everyone how much they confident us. They tell people we're their favorite preacher. That all sounds good, but God didn't send us so we can be people's favorite preacher. He sends us so we can build the kingdom of God, winning the lost, and discipling men and women. We can't do that without help, so God sends people to help us, but it's here we find the problem.
The members expect us to be faithful. They expect us to always show up. They expect us to be at every service until we die, yet they come and go as they please. The members can stay home for any reason, or no reason, and if we challenge them they get mad at us and come to church even less ... or find another church to not attend.
People have all kinds of reasons and excuses for not being at church, but that doesn't change one thing when it comes to a pastor and his wife's broken heart. They study and seek God for the message and then the people they studied for don't even show up. They stayed home to clean their house, or had a family reunion, or a birthday party, or were tired, or went to the park, or had a headache, or had to work, or had company, and/or a thousand other silly reasons. Church is the last thing on their priority list. Everything else takes precedence over church. They will be too sick or tired to come to church, but miraculously make it to work the next morning. They can live without church, the pastor, his teaching, the preaching, and fellowship, but they can't live without the almighty dollar. People do what they want when they want, but expect the pastor and his wife to stay faithful to the ministry, even if they have to work alone.
I've actually had people take new jobs that wouldn't allow them to come to church services and then ask me to change the service days or start another service night just so they can come. I hadn't forgotten that they missed half of the services before they took the new job. The only thing better than having 2 services that people don't attend is having 3! I was already dying from preaching to empty pews and fireless hearts. I guess they wanted to kill me quicker.
God gives the pastor a burden for their city, but again, the people have a thousand excuses why they can't come and be a part of ministries that will effect that city. They won't volunteer for evangelism work, they won't commit to children's ministries, they won't show up to prayer meetings, won't clean the church, and hardly show up on work days, yet they still expect everything to get done. They can go out to eat several times a week; they can buy anything they want, but won't tithe. Do the church suffers financially, hindering what the pastor can and cannot do to fulfill the vision of reaching the city.
God can give the pastor a vision, but often can't implement the vision due to the unfaithfulness of the people.
I see this everyday all across the country.
Dear brother, your reasons for not going to their church may be valid, but for you to get upset when they left is simply wrong. If God sends a pastor to a group of people and the people won't help him, God will move him somewhere else. God doesn't love the church members any more than he loves the pastor and his wife. He won't allow us to be destroyed by unconcerned church members.
Furthermore, there are times the Pastor and church get along fine and work beautifully together and God will still move them somewhere else. It's His business.
If we confidented the pastor when he said God brought him we should confident him when he says God is moving him.
God moves church members to other churches. God moves pastors to other churches, but that's His business, not yours.
Now, I know that was a little hard, but it's the truth. I just wanted you to see it from another perspective.
I love you, Brother."