Dear Pastor: A Letter from a Humble Church Member


Dear Pastor, I don’t think I need to apologize for anything but here it is…

I sincerely apologize for anything, or apparently the many things I have said and/or done to offend you and/or made you feel defensive towards me and my efforts to do what I have felt was serving the Lord with all the blessings He had provided. I truly respect your spiritual leadership. I feel that we are all purposefully imperfectly made with strengths and weaknesses. I definitely have a need for a spiritual leader. I am thankful that He has put you in my life.

I have pride issues but I think you do too

I realize that I have to fight the battle of pride and perhaps that is also why God has put you in my life. On the other hand, perhaps in this pride I felt you had been blessed for me to be put here to help YOU make our church even more successful than you have already made it.

Pastor, I have often been successful and consider myself a great #2 guy, but analyzing your poor leadership, I may as well be the # 1 guy.

We all have convictions, feelings and make decisions based upon our training, and experiences. These are some of mine:

CREDIBILITY: A person cannot be an effective leader unless he/she has credibility with his/her followers. Building credibility comes about when “would be followers” feel that following the “would be leader” somehow is helping them to make desired progress in their lives… and/or simply creates feelings of well being about them selves.

A SERVANT’S HEART: A “would be leader” must show their “servant’s heart,” and they can be depended on to always put the wellbeing of the group they lead above their own interests. This is a BIG plus for any ‘would be leader.”

WALKING THE WALK: When a “would be leader,” practices what they preach… when the walk matches the talk, it helps building this needed credibility. Unfortunately, “would be leaders” live in glass houses. A single misstep can undo a thousand times doing the right thing.

SEEKING ADVISORS: A good leader encourages and considers the input from those he leads as equal or greater than his/her own. However, the leader has the heavy responsibility to listen, to receive and weigh all the received and make final decisions that are in the best interest of the group he/she hopes to lead. A misstep would be to make a decision based upon pride, personal preference or fear of losing control can destroy a “would be leader’s” credibility.

SELF CONFIDENCE: Mature “would be followers” do not expect all knowing perfection from their leaders; however, perceived fear, deceit and/or conceit would be a critical stumbling block and cause a loss of credibility for a “would be leader.”.

COURAGE TO PROGRESS: Unless one considers themselves perfect (none of us are), we all recognize that we are a work in progress. Progress involves being open to learning new things and/or being open to leaving where we are to go to where we want to be. Making progress involves changing what we are doing to get something better than we have been getting. Oft times this involves seeking and accepting information and needed guidance from others who may be more knowledgeable or experienced. Often too, change is not comfortable. It takes courage to move away from what or how we have been doing something in the past. Courage in the face of fear usually builds credibility too.

Pastor, I know you studied theology and you know the Bible and all that, but I know the Bible too.

I may not be a Bible scholar, but I have found a few verses that support these feelings and convictions:

PR 15:22 – Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

PR 24:6 – for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers.

1 Tim 4:15-16. 15 – Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 – Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

By the way, you don’t measure up with my former pastor.

Our church in SoCal had a congregation of about 2,000 with a regular Sunday attendance of about 1,300. Our pastor Keith Elliott, was greatly admired and respected as our spiritual leader. He had about 10 members on our Elders Board, and about 20 on our Deacon’s Board, and a staff of about 10 associate pastors and other staff.

It seemed to me that our pastor always sought wisdom and guidance from those resources the Lord had provided to him. He appeared to all of us to be a very humble man. Yet in 17 years this church more than tripled in the number of people it served. It seems to me that he had a good way of teaching others how to be a good servant leader.

I often say that PRIDE is the enemy’s favorite tool. And perhaps he is using it on you now. I have not been able to control negative thinking or even judging your feelings or motives as they much of what I have seen seems contrary to the above. Clearly this is a stumbling block for me to be the effective helper I had hoped to be to you. Thus, I have decided it best, at this time, for me to back off and allow the Holy Spirit to miraculously do His thing and hopefully change my feelings.

As I have made commitments to God, to you and other members of the church, I will do my best to follow through on them. But clearly you can see my lack of enthusiasm or even reluctance to take on anything new at this time. Also, as not to become a stumbling block, I will attempt to keep my feelings and this email confidential between you and me.

I welcome your thoughts and prayers.

I am just trying to be courteous here, but I don’t think you have anything of value to add to my life. It is clear you lack the credibility and courage a true leader should have. You talk the talk but you’ve failed to walk the walk. You don’t seek advisors and clearly no one wants to follow you because you are too controlling. I frankly don’t see what I can learn from you.

In His service,

By the way, I am in His service too… just so you know.

Frank

13 responses to “Dear Pastor: A Letter from a Humble Church Member

  1. My dear sister in the Lord thank you for your comment. I am glad to know this kind of thing is not unique to me alone. I also thank God for the courage, longsuffering and love He continues to pour into our hearts as we serve people. Thanks for the blessings on my ministry and I humbly extend to same to you. How is your dad? Hope he is doing well.

  2. Walter, I have seen members publicly tell my father that he is a “hypocrite” in church (he’s a pastor). I remember standing up and crying that day, telling the church that he is a human, that he is leading as best as he can, that he already apologized for the “change in schedule”…..but why continue to berate him publicly? I’m a music director and sometimes feel like I just don’t want to do it anymore, because of the negativity that I confront on a regular basis. But I realize at the same time, that I am negative too…maybe it’s just one big cycle. It gets very tiring to try to turn everything into a positive. Having faith that you’re doing the right thing is really hard. Scripture is a guideline, but people can also misuse Scripture. Blessings on your ministry!

  3. Hey Kevin, it is indeed a joy to be a pastor but sometimes it is a pain in the blessed assurance. But our God is faithful, He carries us through the rough and tough times.

    Like Paul says,
    We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

    “thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”

    Stay blessed my friend
    Walter

  4. Walter, you are a blessing! I’m glad I’m not a Pastor.

    But I’m really glad I’m not a fixer! I am free to enjoy a fine meal even if “one” thing wasn’t right. I am free to listen and receive because I refuse to fixate on ‘one’ thing. I am free to love because He forgave me and I can love those who don’t always agree with me.

    But most of all I am free to follow Jesus. This means I can follow anyone because Jesus cleary said that if I want to be first (a leader) I should be last. So Walter, until I’ve washed your feet with my shirt, I will not worry about the other things I see. I prefer to focus on Christ in you the hope of glory!

    Pastors carry many burdens, especially with spiritual ‘teens’ who like human teens have all the answers. Lol

    Bless you brother!

  5. We sheep can be so…sheep-like…sometimes. We kick and bite at the shepherd the Lord has placed over us. As one of the sheep, I apologize for this person. It sounds like validation, pride, and a need to be seen as significant are issues for him. I would recommend The Bait of Satan – an excellent Bible study all about this sort of thing.

    Keep running the race, dear Pastor. No doubt you’ve taken up the things he presents with the Lord to see if there’s any truth – and then discarded the rest.

    Praying for peace for you!
    Another silly sheep,
    \o/

  6. Sorry to hear it Walt. I have witnessed some serious covert aggression, with it’s maniuplative veiled compliments and subtle put downs. This is a real insight into the issues (conflicts) some pastors have to deal with. It is further evidence that, for some of the christian brethen, church has become a place of consumerism.

  7. it is true… I have five 6 more of these… from the same member of my church.
    But Changed the name of the sender and the name of his former pastor

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