One thing you need to know about me is one of my spiritual gifts is administration. Whenever I am in a discussion with a decision to be made, I find I am not thinking about the repercussions of the difference choices. I am thinking of the repercussions of the repercussions of the repercussions of the different choices. This can be a great benefit to any ministry.
It also can have it’s downsides. If it’s not managed well, an administrative gifted person can be controlling and micromanage others under their leadership. This certainly proved true in my life in my early years of being a pastor. I had a hard time finding the balance of releasing areas to people called to different roles and still providing oversight from a “big picture” view point as the lead pastor. I will always be learning in this area and I appreciate the people who gave me grace in those early years as well as the people who still do today when I slip up.
That said, I am thankful that today does not look like yesterday. That a better balance is at hand and I can see the beauty of it in the ministries of several people within our church family. Not everything in our church is 100% the way I would do it. It’s better that way. It all works together in harmony for the larger vision I am charged with and it is what God has raised up within the blending of personalities and gifts.
So, I have to say, it does throw me when once or twice a year, someone who is upset says that I’m controlling. I always take alligations to our elders and review it with them to see if I’m off base but for the most part, we don’t find that we can confirm their accusation. I find often times that when someone is now saying I am controlling, they are actually saying something slightly different.
It is usually stemming from me leading as the pastor of the church. That’s all. They are upset about something or disagree with something and instead of talking it through, it’s easier to label me as a control freak when I was simply working with other leaders in our church to …. well, lead.
Why do I bring this up? It’s because I have a huge heart for people who have been hurt by church before. I have been in that boat and I know what it’s like to have a pastor or church who is off base treat you badly and crush your heart.
However, I also know sometimes what we call church hurt is not 100% the fault of the church or the pastor. Sometimes, we don’t want to submit to the leadership of a church so we make it about them instead of our heart issue. Not all the time but sometimes. It would do us well to really examine our own hearts before we pick up stones or build up walls.
It is important for pastors and other church leaders to be confident but not cocky. They can be damaging for sure. However, this is true for any of us.
As Peter shares with us in I Peter 5: 1-14…
“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”