Bad Pastor? Part 2 of 2

Q. What can we do about a pastor who is doing a poor job but blames us for not supporting him? He scolds us for not respecting his leadership, but people are leaving because of him. What should we do?

A.  (Cont’d. from yesterday)

Yesterday we discussed some principles on examining yourselves before receiving an accusation against a pastor. Today we continue with what to do next. Why that sequence? Because of Mt 7:3-5:

  • Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Unless you correct any wrong in your own attitude and behavior first, you are in no position to judge your pastor, who is also your brother.

Assuming you are in the right, what next? There are other passages in the OT and NT about good and bad shepherds. For example:

  • Ezk 34:2-6 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered.My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them.”’”

The bad shepherds are those who feed themselves rather than the flock. He did not strengthen the sick, heal the diseased, bind up the broken, nor bring back the scattered and the lost. Instead, he dominated them with force and severity. The Lord will stop them from tending sheep.

What makes a shepherd good?

  • John 10:11-15 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

The Lord is not asking all pastors to die for His sheep like He did, but He is asking them to put the interests of His sheep ahead of his own. A hired hand is not concerned about the sheep and won’t do that. The bad pastors do not know the sheep and they don’t know him. There is no close relationship.

If you have a good pastor, thank God and work with him. But what do you do if you have a bad one? Start with the principles in Matthew 18:15-17:

  • “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

This passage is about a sinning brother, and a bad pastor is still a brother. First confront him in private. If it doesn’t work, bring two or three witnesses, not to gang up on him, but to confirm the facts. Remember 1 Tim 5:19?

  • 1 Tim 5:19-20 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.

If he is unrepentant, bring it to the church openly, no longer in private. If he still does not listen, then the church should let him go. I hope your church would not come to this, but all these are according to God’s word; I did not make them up myself. Church discipline is always a difficult matter, so I pray you will have wisdom from the Lord as you handle this hard subject.

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