My pastor is a jerk sometimes.
Question: What do I do? My pastor is rude and sometimes a jerk!
Before we dive into this blog, I want to fully disclose. I’ve been a pastor for 20 years. I have an aggressive personality, and I know that I have been rude and a jerk to people in the churches I have led. That wasn’t my intent, of course, but at times it was the reality.
Over the years God has worked in me and various peacemakers have really helped me smooth my edges, so that my interactions are more palatable for those I lead. I want to share with you some ways those people lived out the gospel with me, loving me enough to say something to me.
First, let’s look at Scripture.
“He is a shield for those who live with integrity
so that He may guard the paths of justice
and protect the way of His faithful followers.” (Proverbs 2:7b-8, CSB)
Of course, the Lord doesn’t want his pastors – his shepherds – or the leaders of his church to be rude or act like a jerk to anyone. It’s clear in the Bible that God wants them to be compassionate, loving, and respectful. So, when you experience this type of injustice, apply the biblical principles in the Path of a Peacemaker.
The Path of a Peacemaker – God loves justice.
God loves justice so much that he “guards” its paths. This is so reassuring! If we’re dealing with an aggressive leader, we may think God doesn’t care that it’s happening. We may ask, “Where is God’s justice in this?” But let me assure you that because God is just, we leaders will give account to him for our leadership. As Jesus taught in one of his stories, “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones . . .?”(Luke 18:7, NIV)
The next two principles helped me become a more effective and compassionate leader.
The Path of a Peacemaker – Truth is spoken in love.
Many times, after I had been aggressive, someone would speak the truth to me lovingly. Typically, they asked a question such as:“How do you feel that conversation went?” or “May I share another perspective with you?” or “Was that the way you intended to communicate?” These questions usually prepared me for a truth statement from the person, such as, “You were very aggressive,” or “I think you hurt your relationship with him,” or “It seemed that you exaggerated to get what you wanted.” Statements like these, when communicated with love, were very helpful to me although at the time they were hard to hear. These conversations were “iron sharpening iron” experiences for me.
What can you do if your pastor is a jerk? First and foremost, pray. Ask God to both work in your pastor’s heart and give you wisdom regarding your role in speaking the truth in love. Second, I encourage you to evaluate whether the incident was a one-time occurrence or a pattern you have seen. If it’s a pattern, then prayerfully prepare to talk humbly with your pastor: one sinner to another. Remember that what you say needs to contain enough truth to be clear and enough love to be palatable.
The Path of a Peacemaker – The gospel is applied.
In the times that I was facing my rudeness, I had to apply the gospel to my situation in order to see a new kind of life that glorified God. Questions I asked myself included these: What does newness of life look like? What do I need to repent of and die to? How can I show kindness and compassion to others by beginning to walk in that newness of life?
Remember that your pastor is in process as much as you are and maybe even more so. Also, remember that we all need the gospel lived out with us. So, there is hope for you and for your pastor. Let’s remind each other that we have new life because of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Here’s what I am saying: God desires justice in relationships and gives us principles to use in seeking it. When a pastor is rude an injustice happens. The one who was treated rudely can lovingly speak truth to the pastor and communicate the gospel . . . then watch what the Lord does in the pastor’s life.
I hope that this helps! If there is any way we may assist you please do not hesitate to call Peacemaker Ministries. 1-800-711-7118
P. Brian Noble