Summary: Part 2 of this series - this one dealing with supporting the leadership as they seek God’s face in vision, direction, etc.
Foundations for Healthy Church Relationships
Part 2 – Supporting the Leadership
August 29, 2010
Me: I’ve had good bosses and I’ve had bad bosses.
I’ve mentioned some of them, and I won’t get into all that, except to say that it’s easier to work for someone you not only get along with, but who also seems to know what they’re doing and is confident that they are taking the company in the right direction.
We: We all find it easier to follow a leader we not only get along with, but even more importantly, a leader who shares our goals for whatever that organization should stand for and work toward.
And in churches that’s especially true and especially important, because the Church is the chosen instrument of God for bringing about His plan on earth.
Many of you have been in churches where there has been good leadership – both in the pastor and in the elder board, or the local board of administration like we have in the Wesleyan Church.
Some of you have had situations in a church where you’ve had terrible leadership in one way or another.
And it not only makes the church ineffective, it brings heartache.
On the other hand, I can tell you the stories of pastors whose congregations are filled with strife and infighting, and no matter how hard he works, it’s never good enough, and they refuse to adopt Christ’s mission for the church.
Yet there are other pastors who can say that it’s a joy, because the leadership and congregation are serious about Jesus and about empowering the leadership to help them move on to greater effectiveness for Christ and His Kingdom.
And those churches are healthy and vibrant, filled with joy and seeing fruit in their efforts for Jesus.
One of the keys to this is the attitude of the congregation toward its leadership – its pastor and other congregational leaders.
And there is a particular verse from Scripture that gives some insight into what that attitude should be.
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
I’ve actually avoided preaching about this verse during my time here because I was afraid that it might be seen by some as looking for a way to force my personal agenda on the church, and that is not the case at all.
But as I was working and praying about what God would have me talk about in this area of healthy church relationships, there was no getting around this passage.
So let me just say that what I’m going to share with you is stuff that you can apply to any church you’re a part of. Okay?
Let’s look at some things this passage is NOT saying:
> The pastor is the dictator.
There are some pastors who think the church revolves around them, and that what they say goes, no matter what, and if anyone gets in their way, they’re shown the door so quick it makes their heads spin.
By the way, what does that mean, “so quick it makes their head spin?”
Some pastors think that they’re the only ones who know what’s going on or what God wants for that church, and they rule with an iron fist.
They throw the first part of this verse in the face of their congregation and just expect everyone to walk lock-step behind them and keep quiet about it.
Well, problem number one is that pastors don’t rule anything. They don’t have a kingdom. The church is ruled by Jesus, not by a board, not by a committee, not by a generous giver or a bunch of generous giver, and it’s certainly not ruled by a pastor.
Now, the pastor isn’t a hireling who needs to bow to every whim of everyone in the church, including the church board, either.
The pastor is a leader who is supposed to lead the church in effectiveness for Christ and His kingdom.
I’m going to talk about that more in a bit.
In the case of the Wesleyan Church, I am accountable to my boss, the District Superintendent, and the District Board of Administration.
They can and do remove pastors who get out of line. Dictator pastors don’t last long in our district.
A second thing this verse is NOT saying is…
> We are to blindly obey the leadership.
The fact is that you should be able to question your leaders, as long as it’s done in a gracious and adult manner and not like a spoiled child who doesn’t get their way about something.