When I entered my first pastorate, I knew I would have difficulties. This is understood when you are dealing with people. As I began to pastor the church, I quickly discovered I had 3 churches under one roof: those who warmed a pew, those who tried to control matters, and those who truly wanted to be the church Jesus intended. I was called to lovingly pastor all 3 groups, but I knew that my ministry would be received differently by each group.
I discovered that the pew warmers were appreciative. They had no vested interest other than attending some Sunday morning services, maybe Sunday School, and dropping some money in the plate. They didn’t cause problems, but they were not your main workers. When things got ugly, they were not going to be voices that would be heard.
The clique that tried to operate things was content with the status quo. Nothing I did ever satisfied them. They did not want to change anything and really liked the power they had held for many years. They don’t like when a pastor gets his direction from God without consulting them first. The “good old boy system” takes precedence over biblical principle.
The third group I discovered stuck through the hard times but tended to be drowned out by the clique. They were, however, my chief encouragers. Although these folks held positions, they did not like to rock the boat. Many people fail to realize that Jesus was confrontational, and confrontation can be done spiritually.
I quickly discovered that I could not let the “powers that be” drive the ministry. I would have dishonored God had I done that. They did not like it, but I wanted to be able to answer to God with a clear conscience. My calling was to empower those who wanted to do things God’s way and give them a voice, so that is what I did during my rather brief pastorate. I had people tell me, “Matthew, I have been in this church 30 years and feel like I finally have a voice.” I was speechless yet thankful. The cream rose to the top, and many of these people found their voice.
When your naysayers are the loudest, give the real backbone of the church a megaphone. They will develop courage and ultimately become your key leaders. Others will become brave enough to become sick of the corruption and Head a different direction. Don’t enable! Empower!