What If It’s the Pastor Behaving Badly?
Yes, sometimes, it’s the people who are supposed to demonstrate to us what a Christian is supposed to act like who misbehave the most. In case you missed it, check out my post about two pastors who did not lead by example on Inauguration Day.
Every now and then, I run across a post that takes the form of criticizing church members for being less than perfect by taking the angle, “What if a pastor behaved the way you do towards God or church?”
They’re almost always obnoxious, self-serving whining sessions by frustrated men of the cloth. I can certainly understand the frustration. As a blogger, I can certainly understand the need to vent.
But I can’t lose sight of the fact that the posts are still on the obnoxious, self-serving, whining side.
Common complaints include a lack of punctuality, a lack of regular attendance, a lack of committed giving and a lack of volunteerism among church groups. I suspect the Apostle Paul might suggest that these whiny pastors get over themselves: they’ve never been beaten, they’ve never been imprisoned, and they’ve never faced a genuine threat of crucifixion. Oh, and that regular salary? Sure, a pastor doesn’t get paid what he deserves and certainly not a high salary. But for most of them, the salary is regular.
Oddly enough, some of these pastors seem unable — or more likely, unwilling — to look at the other side of the story: What if a pastor’s church members behaved the way he did on those times when he isn’t in church?
Just take a look at the social media feed of some of these outspoken pastors: if they’re the example to follow, we’re truly in deep trouble. And if their church’s members actually did follow that example, they’d be more likely to:
- Tear down instead of building up
- Be snide instead of being kind
- Be divisive instead of being uniting
- Seek attention rather than seeking genuine, loving relationships
- Reflect the talking points of a political party before reflecting God
Is that what they’d really want? What happened to leading by example?
If we’re really going to look at the problem of bad behavior, we need to understand that it can go both ways. And if it’s acceptable to “call out” the church members in one’s little rants, one should expect those members to take a second look at their church leader whom they’re being scolded to follow.