Summary: The pastor is not a dictator, but a ministering leader.

Matt 20:25-28

25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. KJV

I am afraid that there are many pastors who need to read this passage and ask themselves if they are truly ministers or dictators? Someone once said that no man is a leader until his leadership is affirmed in the hearts of his followers. There is an old joke about a young Lieutenant who asked someone if they had seen a group of soldiers come by there as he was trying to find them because he was their leader.

I have heard too many sermons and comments by pastors using "touch not my anointed" and "don't go up against God's man". A leader who leads by force or threats is not a leader. A leader leads by example. A good Sergeant always take care of his troops. A good pastor cares for the congregation. He is called to feed the sheep, not beat the sheep or fleece the sheep.

If a man has to continually remind the congregation that he is the "man of God" then either he is not the man for that congregation or he is doing something wrong. Yes, there will always be some tares and maybe a Diotrephes or Absalom in the gate, but if you are the man God called to that church then God will weed them out or minimize their influence. If the church is loaded with them then you need to leave and let the dead bury the dead rather than try to threaten corpses back to life.

We have basically two types of attitudes about pastors in our culture. Either we place him on a huge pedestal and then lose our faith when he gets dizzy and falls or we have what I call a Bounty(r) towel philosophy. We bring a man in to wipe up all our messes and then when he has done all he can and is worn and torn we put him the trash and look for another. Balance is hard to find.

What pastors and members need to realize is that the pastor is just a man with the gifts a pastor needs. He is still human and yes can make mistakes. He can even sin. He seeks to do neither, but the possibility is there and he needs to be open to constructive criticism. It is good to even look at not so constructive criticism and see if there is even a mote of value in the log they are using to beat you down. Dismiss the emotions, false accusations and such, but look for anything that might be true, though exaggerated, and use it for improvement.

Now, on the congregation side, you must take great care to not let a pastor bully you or make you believe that he cannot be challenged for that is not true.

Luke 17:3-4

3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. KJV

A pastor/elder is still a brother and if he sins against you have a right to rebuke him as a brother. Matthew 18 is always the rule and the goal is reconciliation not alienation.

1 Tim 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; KJV

The Greek word translated here as rebuke comes from a root of revere. Thus I believe it carries the idea of disrespect especially since the positive way to do it is to intreat him as a father. If you feel the pastor/elder has done something wrong or has an improper interpretation of a passage you don't run up and shove your finger in his face and dress him down like a Drill Sgt might do a raw recruit or secretly stir up a movement to remove him. Instead you get him alone and respectfully present you case praying that truth may be revealed. It may be revealed that you are wrong and not the pastor. It is better to have that truth come out after a private session than after an emotional public one or to have a group of embarrassed people you stirred up look at you.

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