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Pastoral or Elder Rule?

I’m convinced that there are few callings more honorable or difficult than that of a pastor-shepherd.

If we think the relationship between husband and wife is problematic, imagine the complexity involved in the relationship between church congregations and their spiritual leaders.

Interestingly, the New Testament likens both church and marriage to a body and discusses at length what happens when the members of either body don’t show mutual love, respect, and cooperation.

Could be one reason that Peter, after learning from Jesus that those who rule need to be as those who serve, wrote,

“And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share his glory and his honor when he returns. As a fellow elder, this is my appeal to you: Care for the flock of God entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly– not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your good example. And when the head Shepherd comes, your reward will be a never-ending share in his glory and honor” (1Peter 5:1-3).

Who can doubt the value of a good example? Who can discount our need for those who will use what God has given them to lead– not by control, or personal intimidation, but by their example…

Maybe that’s why it is so important for all of us, wherever we are in the body, to pray for one another and to realize that the idea of “ruling” doesn’t resonate with the spirit of Christ nearly as well as using whatever we have been given for the good of all (1Peter 4:7-11).

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55 Responses to “Pastoral or Elder Rule?”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Mart, You have summed up my feelings perfectly in this mornings message. Thank You!

    On the subject of Pastor, When Matthew landed in the hospital, our friends Pastor Bill and his wife Nelly lived right there in the hallway with us. Even after I insisted they didn’t need to stay, they stayed.

    They are still today, our best friends and Pastor’s.

  2. bretnb says:

    One of my best friends did a new start, instead of listening to the men he asked to be the elders every thing had to be his way. After 8 years the church finally folded.

    He loves God very much but was very hard headed. He learned a great lesson from this an now is the pastor of a church and is doing great. This church is growing.

    Lesson some time can be hard, but then you may grow from it and do great things for the Lord.

  3. carlj says:

    While serving as chairman of deacons, I attempted to modify the role of the deacons to assist the pastoral staff in their duties. I received positive responses but experienced skepticism. After a while of being frustrated in my attempts, I spoke to a wise woman who worked in the church office. She suggested that what I was experiencing was years of the congregation not trusting the staff and the staff not trusting the congregration.

    I also since have come to realize that when people go through difficult times they seem to either become survivors or become people of grace. I am afraid too many people, laity and pastoral staff, become survivors.

  4. BruceC says:

    I was a cop for 27 years and I still believe being a pastor is a tougher job. I’ve seen a good pastor destroyed by a stubborn, rebellious, and spiteful couple in church. They started the ball rolling. And later he and his wife divorced and he is no longer in the ministry. We need to support our pastors. And we also need to be on guard for those “pastors” who have their own agenda for their own glory and drive the flock hard. Saw a small version of that too. We have many tiny congregations here and I just don’t know how they do it.
    A pastor is always doing a balancing act between his own family and the flock and it is very difficult indeed. They need our continual prayers,support, and love. I just taped a movie on TV called “The Preacher’s Wife” with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. It was terrific and shows what can happen to a pastor and the difficulties he faces. If you get a chance watch or rent it. It is very good.

  5. saled says:

    Do you think that some of the problems pastors and churches experience are because we still are searching for a king, for some one to tell us how to live our lives, for some one to take the responsibility for major decisions in our lives? We are watching a very sad case of this play out right now. Parents, questioning their own wisdom, putting themselves under the rule of a pastor and ending up estranged from their son. True, Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isacc, but he was listening to God directly, not another fallen human being.

  6. pegramsdell says:

    Exactly…..pastors are human too. Sometimes, we expect them to walk on water and are dissappointed when they don’t. At the same time, they are held accountable to God even more so than us. They need to be careful, because some people will use any excuse to stay out of church.
    I know people that say they don’t go because of the pastor or someone in the congregation did this or did that.
    Reminds me of the parable of the workers that were hired at different times throughout the day, but all paid the same amount at the end of the day. Some of the workers felt the ones who came later should not be paid the same as them, but the employer asked them what they were mad about. Wasn’t the employer able to pay whatever amount he wanted.
    I also think some in the congregation get jealous of attention the pastor pays to new people or others. Some think because they give more or are there at every service that they should be treated better.
    We should love our pastors and pray for them and serve them sometimes. And forgive them when they sometimes let us down.

  7. mtman says:

    Indeed we should all pray for each other but as I commented on yesterdays topic I believe that the church has failed all of us. Our prayers for each other should be a call to action. We have lost sight of what our church was intender to be. I referenced the early church and the apology of Tertullian who clearly demonstrates how the early church was. Non believers either hated Christians or wanted to be a part of them. Nowadays churches seem to want to be everything to everybody. Church leaders are mostly teachers and not leaders. Raising funds and number count is more important than having a church that is like the early church. We the body of Christ are willing to accept this as it doesn’t hold us accountable and is a comfortable place to be at least once a week.
    The church has relinquished it responsibilities to the Government. If the church and its leaders are honest they will see that the church is no longer what it was intended to be from the start. Early Christians were drawn to the church by the love they saw. Nowadays they come and hear a good teaching and some beautiful music and go home. What message does that show to non belivers? What they see is people who come together on Sunday and leave their Christian love at the door on the way out. Part time lovers of each other. Why would they want to be comited to a church that has no real commitment or feel drawn to the superficial love they display. How do you demonstrate love if the Gov’t is actually doing the work handed down by the Lord? Deacons, pastors, and Elders are suppose to minister to its members in such a way that outsiders can see the love we have for each other and want to be part of it. Until the church returns to its roots we will have part time Christians. I don’t see church leaders building such a loving family that it resembles early Christians.
    There may be some churches out there that are doing the right things but I have not found many of them and I have lived all over the country. Actually I have found two in all the churches that I have attended, one in Orlando, Fla, and one in Harrisburg, Pa.
    Seems to me that our church leaders lack vision or the ability to conform the church to todays needs and I simply have not found any semblence of the early church in todays ‘enlightened’ church. Church leaders are neglecting responsibility and asleep at the wheel in my opinion. I’m sure this is going to upset many but before I get dumped upon I want to let you know I have been an elder and leader in more than one church and the pastor’s and such do not want to hear about going back to the roots so that modern day church is something that will draw people in because they desire to be a part of it. Until this is realized all the words will be hollow. I have seen so many over the years to come into churches with only the newness a new believer can demonstrate, only to become disappointed. Church leaders try to get them involved when they only want to be a part of loving believers.
    Those are my observations and my opinion and I hope I do not bruise anyones feelings but I think it is time for leaders and all Christians to take a hard look at ourselves. It is no wonder to me that there is so much disfunctional conduct in churches today. Where I see true churches is where the Gospel is preached truthfully and families are built. For those of you who have real churches I would suggest you hold onto them as I just don’t find many.

  8. drkennyg says:

    Our pastor is very loving of his flock. We are very happy with his preaching the Gospel truth from the Bible. He is faithful to us and is always there when needed. We are a church of prayer and have several prayer groups as well as meeting together as a congregation on the 1st Wednesday evening of the month for a group prayer session that he leads. Once we met on a Saturday and prayed for 4 hours – the time went by very quickly. I feel very blessed to be a part of the body in this church. We elect our elders annually and all are pleased with the results.

  9. poohpity says:

    In my reading today I saw that the church was to teach about Christ, teach God’s Word and equip the saints for good works. I have gone to the same church for 20 years this year and have served in many capacities. Our pastor is a very good teacher but the body is falling away slowly but surely. I left just before my surgery because I felt totally uncared for. There was no comfort offered in my mom’s cancer problem or with my recent surgery. The current person that was put into the care ministry was a secretary under our past pastor of care.

    I believe that we all have gifts to serve in the body just as in the marriage if someone doesn’t fulfill the role given them then the body falls apart. If the pastor try’s to be the head rather than pointing people to Christ then he will always let people down. I believe it stems back to the advice given by Paul that the role of the church to teach about Christ, teach God’s word and equip. It seems like with other relationships so many want to take the lead and there aren’t enough to follow.

    Since I started walking with the Lord I had a hunger for the Word and have had the guidance of the Holy Spirit to teach. To learn God’s word is still my desire and it seems that is one thing that is lacking with many believers. Then we understand who is really the leader and become submissive to His leading as a servant to the body.

  10. sjd says:


    Unfortunately much of what you say is true. We should be known by our love. I wonder if that is where we get off track somehow as well. We do want to feel loved, that is appropriate, but sometimes it is turned into a consumer type approach. People come to Church to see what they can receive rather than what they can give. We are reminded in Hebrews 10:24-25 that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together…..but to consider how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds….. My fear is that many are not considering others, but are looking for what they can get out of their “sacrifice” of time. Many seek out a church for the type of music, the order of service, the programs(a visitor last week was complaining that there was no chiildren’s church before the service even started-I wondered how they felt when a 12 year old shared some things from the Word), the way the pastor speaks, what he is speaking on, the way the pastor visits, which version of the Bible is used, and the list can go on and on.

    It is very difficult for a pastor to communicate in this type of environment, yet certainly not impossible. That is where the New Covenant makes it all possible, a sinner forgiven, turned into a saint, given a new heart, and indwelt by the Spirit of God, now can look at his fellow saint and see the reality and the potential in one another. It is now our privilige to be used by God to help one another grow into the worshiper that God was seeking(John 4:23). Among other things, Pastors need to be speaking on the reality of who we are in Christ, and exemplifying that by their lives. As Christ is seen in them, maybe then we will start living like the redeemed people we are, instead of continuing to follow the former pattern of our lives before Christ, living by the flesh. At the same time each of us with Christ within us, each having the same blessings of the New Covenant, have the same opportunity as the pastor does to exhibit Christ to others. Only if we all did our part. (Ephesians 4:15-16)

    just read your note after I was about to post. I am sorry for the lack of love shown to you. It does happen far too often. All the more reason as you say for each of us to understand who the leader really is and be submissive to Him. Then true love can be shown as He is the One able to love perfectly.

  11. poohpity says:

    Loved what you posted sjd.

    It would be nice if we had an attitude of out doing each other with kindness, compassion, empathy and love. You know the old saying killing them with kindness.

  12. kbutterfly says:

    What are your thoughts on a pastors receptionist telling female congregation members that he cannot meet with them out of respect for his wife. Then refering the women to another associate ministers office – knowing that this minister also has a wife?

  13. mtman says:

    sjd: We are the church and those is leadership need to be glowing examples but they too are only human. When I mentioned that we should examine the church, the church is us. Our paid leaders more often than not are there to entertain or simply follow the theme the elders tell them. There is so much wrong with the church that the only way to restore it in my mind is go back to our roots. Seminaries fail their students. I have spoken to many who attended seminary and they tear down their faith and then rebuild it in their model. It all starts with us the church, and if not corrected there it will keep in the downward spiral. Our God is in charge and I totally trust him but there are things we should do too.
    Poohpity: I totally understand your seperation from your 20 year church family. How horrible. I had a similar disconnect when my mother died and the leader called to see if I wanted to meet and pray about it. Of course I did. Last I ever heard about it and it was forgotten as soon as it was said. Our churches are in terrible shape in my opinion and while others surely won’t agree I think it behooves all of us to objectively look at our church.

  14. sitsathisfeet says:

    I have been to many different church’s ,even denominations in my lifetime. I moved a lot and lived different places etc. But I am so grateful to the Lord as He has met my needs in those church’s even with their variety, strength’s and weakness’s. I had what I would call good Pastors’s and bad Pastor’s. Pastor’s who were contoversial and some who were legalistic, but the most important spiritual things were met. We were able to fellowship with other believers, be rubuked, encouraged, uplifted with the word of God. The styles and variety were always interesting, but as long as they held to the word of God as best they could, even meeting some of our physical needs as well I was happy. I don’t think our search for Church, should take precedence over our relationship with the Lord, and our personal walk with him. Wherever two or three are gathered in my name… For those that need a body to fellowship and unite to do their work for the Lord, I pray for you, for those that are in a body that needs help, I pray that Christ will revive, renew and stenghten that body in His image. But, ultimately, I believe church starts with each one of us as individuals, and Jesus is the good shepherd, he will guide us into all things.

  15. daisymarygoldr says:

    BruceC, I will surely try and watch that movie…because once upon a time, long-long ago…I wanted to be a Preacher’s wife. Unfortunately, there is not a single preaching streak in my husband and I still jokingly remind him that its never too late to enroll in a seminary. It is really a divine calling rather than a job and growing up I had the privilege of listening to some very good preachers. Not the getting red-in-the-face-fire-spitting ones but the ones who do not mince words or beat around the bush but boldly proclaim God’s truths…even if it means offending the congregation…just the way Jesus preached about the Kingdom of God.

    I agree that the Pastor’s vocation is both difficult and the most honorable one…in fact that’s the only job that really continues into eternity! It is indeed a blessing for a church flock to have a Pastor-shepherd with a loving father’s heart. I did not grow up with Pastors but did enjoy good pastoral care from Godly Elders and Deacons. My parents had no other family other than the Church family and Steve, I can relate to you having Pastor-best friends. The church back home went out of its way and served in various ways to fulfill the needs of the flock. However, it did lean towards controlling, but we managed to adapt by keeping things in balance and not allowing ourselves to be abused.

    Personally for me, the feeding of God’s word is the most important task of the Pastor-shepherd….i.e. if the Pastor really loves his people. Meeting the physical needs is important but catering to the Spiritual needs is what actually matters. Spiritual leanness of the soul is a dreadful thing which affects even the physical life of a believer and can totally wipe out an entire mega congregation. By God’s grace I was always blessed both here and back home with wonderful and wholesome feeding of God’s word.

    “Rule”….Peter is right, that there should be no lording over. However, the Pastor should be able to maintain orderliness in the church to bring ultimate honor to God. Paul tells Timothy that a church overseer must “rule” his own household well, keeping his children under “control” …For if a man does not know how to “rule” his own household, how is he to take care of the church of God?” (1 Tim 3: 1-5)

    At the church back home, every little sin was promptly addressed in order to avoid spiritual stagnation and death in the congregation. Here, I see a whole different scenario…the church is such a mixed multitude… and I don’t know if Pastors in this country can even talk about things like….sanctification, or being set apart, or keeping our vessels clean and be ready for Christ’s return. It is very important therefore, that we should pray for one another.

  16. diamonds says:

    Wow! This topic intrigues me. I have been reading this blog for several months. However, this is the first time I have written. In fact, I tried to email Mart a question a while ago, and someone else answered. Good advice. I took it. I have been dealing with the issue of forgiving my pastor. I’m pretty much at the end of the process because I can now give him a hug, pray earnestly for him, etc. The spirit of offense was the problem. It all started last June when my pastor started, in my opinion, slandering candidate Barack Obama. He proceeded to do so during the fall and even told the church that we had to vote a list that he had compiled (a pro-life list). My husband and I have been at this church for about six years. We have been active members. We are not the kind of Christians who rely solely on teaching that comes from teh pulpit. We study to show ourselves approved. We felt led to vote our conscience. We are not into labels. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord…that sort of thing. We did not see Obama as the monster he was trying to paint. Both McCain and Obama are professing Christans. We feel the church has become so much involved in the political battles, the cares of this world, that it has forgotten its focus. We were able to endure the rants and ravings, although we did have to skip a few Sundays just to be able to bear it. We know that it was God’s grace that allowed us to hold up under what we feel like was persecution. I say persecution because I did put a sticker on my car which let everyone know I wasn’t drinking the koolaid. Not a Christ-like tactic, I guess, as I ponder the whole saga. I also let my pastor know by letter that I didn’t appreciate coming to church to hear stuff I can hear on FOX news, CNN, etc. I wanted to hear Bible. He in turn began preaching abortion. I realize that abortion is sin, so he was singing to the choir. I also realize that laws have never made people stop sinning. We need to be about the business of introducing people to Christ and discipling them. Only God can make the heart change. His wife even went over it again at the ladies meeting. (We have a small church.) Any way, it finally has died down, but it has taken months to get my joy back because I was holding unforgiveness in my heart toward them. I have let it go, but things are not the same as they used to be. I’ll give it time. Through the whole experience, I know I grew as a believer. We stayed. We didn’t run when it became hard. I think my pastor grew too. He even said one Sunday, “You can’t even get seven pastors in a room to agree; we don’t have to agree on everythng.” Should I mention that my husband and I are African-American? I only say that because it was one of the proudest moments in our lives and we were not able to share it with anyone. We do not live around any relatives and this city has few blacks. I have no regrets about my vote, but I do regret how I responded to my pastor’s teaching. I began to get bitter and resentful, and the Lord let me know these attitudes were not of Him. So…thank you for bringing up this topic. It feels good to share.

  17. Mart De Haan says:

    Hey, Diamonds, welcome and thanks for telling some of what you worked through.

  18. SFDBWV says:

    I have to laugh, I’m sorry. For a couple days we heard from all kinds of women who would not be ruled by their husband. Only to read that now they are to be ruled by pastors, elders, deacons, and even bishops.

    You have to see the irony in this. In order to serve we must learn to submit to authority. God places positions of authority in the structure of family and church. If we refuse to submit to the authority God has placed us under, we are guilty of “rebellion”.

    Hmmm, are we suppose to be like “sheep” and follow our shepherd without question?…Or are we suppose to test every spirit? If we find the spirit to be false, then reject it and seek out the voice of our true “Shepherd”.

    I suggest if any of you can’t fit in a church, then start or participate in a small home gathering of as few as 2 or as many as 6 people for simple prayer and bible study…..but be careful, if you must have a leader, pray on the matter and allow the Holy Spirit to choose.

    Way too many people choose preaching or pastoring as a vocation, rather than being called into the position by God. This is why they fail. But their failure is so severe that Jesus said better that they had never been born….A very huge responsibility this pastoring.

    Goodnight to all.

  19. Charis says:

    Putting any man where the Holy Spirit should be is a form of idolatry. (whether that man be a husband OR a pastor, etc)

    Once people can hear and learn from the Holy Spirit instead of putting their trust in earthy “authority figures” they will learn TRUTH.

    Bible Quotes:
    But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 1 John 2:27

    Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13

    But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: Eph 4:20-21

    “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (from Jeremiah 31.)

  20. Charis says:

    I pastor and shepherd my little flock of 8 children. The goal is maturity- someday, I will have worked myself out of the job. :)

  21. Mart De Haan says:

    daisymarygoldr, In referring to 1Tim 3:1-5 I appreciate your clarifying that “rule” does not mean “lord it over”. Words can be so misleading either in the speaking or hearing. The words referring to a potential overseer’s relationship to his own household, translated “rule” and “have in subjection,” have literal meaning of “stand-before” and “under-set”.

    Strong’s lexicon gives this range of meaning to the word translated “rule”: 1) to set or place before 1a) to set over 1b) to be over, to superintend, preside over 1c) to be a protector or guardian 1c1) to give aid 1d) to care for, give attention to 1d1).

    Leading by example, and lovingly caring for, protecting, and providing (feeding) seem to be at the heart of the oversight that is needed in both home and church.

  22. Mart De Haan says:

    To think through the meaning of “authority/leadership”, could we say that in every area of life (home, church, business, government etc), we need those who will accept the responsibility, and be accountable, and faithful to serve others by offering inspiration, example, attention, care, protection, teaching, wisdom and organization– for those needing direction and help in making good decisions for themselves and one another?

    Could we also say that it is just as obvious that in those same areas of life we as individuals must make decisions as to whether it is to our benefit or loss (and ultimately whether or not it is to God’s honor and the good of others) for us to accept the kind of oversight that is offered?

    Whether we develop the discernment to see the difference between a good or bad example will have a lot to do with our growth and well-being.

    And isn’t that why we feed on the words, thoughts, example, and attitudes of the Lord of lords and Servant of servants, to know whether we are headed together in the right direction?

    I know that’s a bit wordy, but am trying to get to the heart of the kind of leader that serves well in home, church, business, or government.

  23. SFDBWV says:

    Mart, I totaly agree that the kind of leader that serves well in the home,church ,busniness,and government. Must be God led, Spirit filled, and be themselves humble enough to submit to authority God has placed over them.

    The Word of God has given us structure, it is up to we the people to fill the positions and be ourselves worthy to lead as well as willing to follow.

    Pride (self) blocks the way to submission to authority.

    I am reminded of the rebellion in the wilderness, and how God handled that matter. Let us learn from the example of the 40 years of wandering the nation of Israel endured.

  24. diamonds says:

    I wanted to include a very important detail that I missed in my previous posting. Before all of this started happening, I had been praying for God to increase my love walk. Tadah! He gave me the opportunity to grow in this area. I have to admit though, there was no where to run. Pretty much all the churches in this area were doing this kind of preaching. Nevertheless, God is working! He is still on the throne. I’m beginning to understand a little more about unconditional love. :-)

  25. Charis says:

    The goal of any “Christian leadership” should be to build others up toward maturity, unity, and Christ-likeness. Following is the only occurrence of the word “pastor” in the entire NT. Note that God is the one who “gave some to be”. God is the gifter and appointer, not human “authorities”:

    “It was HE who gave some to be … pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ ” Eph 4:11ff

  26. carlj says:

    My wife’s cousin is a pastor of a church and he told me his biggest challenge today is finding support staff to work in the church. He said so many are getting burned out on “people issues”. My daughter is a recruiter for a Christian-based university and she told me that the students pursuing a Christian-based vocation are looking for ministry areas where they don’t have to deal with church members on a direct basis.

    May God raise up multitudes of men and women whose love for Him outweighs the problems and difficulties with church members, and may He give us a love and respect for those who lead us that we may be co-laborers with them.

  27. boaznigel says:

    Further to Charis’ comment there is ONLY ONE direct comment to ‘The Pastor’ in Scripture – the pattern presented seeming to be church leadership being by a team of equal elders.

    So much damage has been done by the ‘one man ministry’ – I myself was leading a Baptist church with a group of other elders, a few years ago, with some success & growth during the interregnum … a ‘Pastor’ was appointed, by the area superintendent, who was a one man ministry who then proceeded to remove the leadership team

    Our resignation was actually demanded from the pulpit on a Sunday morning!

    The damage to the church was tremendous & many of us took years to recover from the episode

    Pastors yes! We need the gift of pastor . . . but one man ministry (?)

  28. boaznigel says:

    Further to me previous comment I am told the right term for what we went through is ‘Sheep Bashing’

  29. mtman says:

    Mart: I have read your post above and respectfully disagree. Our churches have established a hiarchy to put in leadership various layers, and the early church as I have already expressed was much different that what we have today.
    The trouble with hired leaders or different layers of leadership is that the self desire creeps in and can’t be disquinished from where the Lord is leading. The church leaders nowadays have their own concept of what to do and where to take the church. Am I wrong that churches today for the most part are not meeting the needs of people? I think not.
    We as a church have evolved to where a leader is the center of the church and determines where,what, and how things are to be done. The church is all of us and it does not appear to me that we have much say but are just allowing leaders to control the direction.
    If churches today would study the early churches, compare todays churches, determine where they are going wrong, focus on Jesus by word and example and not lip service, and decide by attitude to change what needs to be changed we would once again have vibrant vital churches.
    If you want to hit a stone wall real fast simply suggest to any elder, pastor, or deacon that the church wants input to where the church is going and how it is conducted. Most pastors, elders, and deacons I have known are pretty guarded over the authority they have been given by men and don’t factor in God at all. If you learn the right words, conduct yourself a certain way, quietly exault in the status of your position, you can fool most of the people most of the time. God will not be fooled however.
    Our churches are teaching all sorts of wierd doctrine, getting into area’s that they need not, and controlling people by the mis application of the bible. I contend that our churches are disfunctional and especially when compared to the early churches where non believers were drawn to them because of their love. I am sure there are good churches out there but it appears to me that there are many more intent on bigger and better facilities, money raising, and such, instead of saving souls and drawing non believers into the church by demonstrated love. I believe that anyone would be hard pressed to disprove that and many of us who are the church are willing to lower our standards rather than be what the church was called to be. Our leaders in many cases are obstacles and not servants. That is my opinion and I repeat that the church needs to give itself a close self examination. We need to be a bright shining light and not a flicker.

  30. SFDBWV says:

    Charis, I will certainly agree that God is the appointer and gifter of Christian leadership.

    How, in your opinion, is this accomplished? Is it a democratic process? Who say’s this person or that has been ordained by God to lead in any congregation?

    Should we abandon the concept of congregational gathering, in favor of everyone doing what they think is best?

    How do we know God’s will in the matter? But through HIS word.

  31. SFDBWV says:

    mtman (Bruce), Most all of us have had our feelings hurt by bad Pastoring, bad church leadership, and by not being involved enough in decisions concerning the congregation.

    Each individual case has its own set of circumstances. I also can quote terrible examples of misguided self rightiousness being forced upon tender Christian hearts. The results are always the same. Destructive reaction.

    I too read the news and see large demoninations, attempting to stay abreast with the changing social climate, make questional decisions. They then hear the shout of negative responses from people who disagree. I also see traditional denominations that won’t change with the tide of popular thinking being criticized for not changing.

    It would seem that the Church is in chaos….Who is the Church but us.

    How now do we fix this? Do we go off and hide from it? Do we get involved and offer leadership? Do we just concern ourselves in the matter and forget all the other brothers and sisters and leave the matter up to them to fix?

    A body that is a pile of seperate parts, isn’t a body at all. 1 Corinthians 12.

  32. cherielyn says:

    I was raised in a brethren church and there was no such thing as a pastor. Each of the mature men in the church took turns at various responsibilities in the areas they were gifted in.

    When I left home to live on my own I began attending the church I was ultimately married in, in a large Wisconsin city. It was a traditional church with a pastor. A pastor was a new concept to me and he pastored that church for 25 years. Therefore, I somehow developed the idea that the relationship between a pastor & a church was somewhat like a marriage, except for “until retirement (instead of death) do us part.”

    When my hubby & I got married, he really liked the pastor & the church. Unfortunately the pastor retired a couple years later. Hubby didn’t care for the new pastor so refused to attend and wouldn’t allow me to either.

    Five years after we married, we moved to a rural area in NE WI. We started attending church again and remained in that church for 16 years. During that time the church went through four pastors. Hubby didn’t care for the last one & stopped attending. At least, this time, he did not prevent me from continuing to attend with our children. After awhile the children started getting disenchanted (mostly due to hubby’s negative comments) and I was worried I was ‘loosing them’ so, one Sunday after Sunday School, the children & I left to attend the morning service of another like-minded church nearby. They loved it and came home excitedly telling their father about the new church. He attended with us the next Sunday and we ended up there for 15 years. Then the pastor’s wife had a mental break-down due to change of life issues and started making false allegations against her husband. The leadership believed her allegations and forced him to resign. I know the allegations were false because I was church clerk and, unofficially, part time pastor’s secretary. We (the pastor, his wife & children & I) had become close friends and when his wife had her break-down, I was present when many of her unreasonable, false allegations were made.

    After he rsigned, hubby didn’t like the new pastor, but kept attending. I didn’t care for the new pastor either, but did not convey my feelings to my hubby or anyone else because I was happy that my hubby was at least still attending church with me. I also felt that the pastor was brought to the church, by God, for a reason and who was I to question it.

    The new pastor was very demanding & demeaning if you did not serve in the church, never mind that I had previously been church clerk for 10 years, which I had to discontinue due to no longer being able to drive after dark (hubby only attended on Sunday mornings). It became obvious that the pastor had anger issues. We were never the kind to join in with those who liked to ‘stir the pot’ and so were not included in the ‘inner circle’ so to speak. Since we were not included in the ‘inner circle’ we do not know what led to his resignation, but after he left, once again hubby wanted to leave & attend elsewhere. He cited not liking churches that dump their pastor’s or pastor’s that can’t plant roots and settle in one place.

    After leaving that church, we alternated between two churches for two years, one of them being the one we had attended for 16 years. He finally decided that he liked the smaller of the two (about 30 in the congregation) and we have been attending there, regularly for about 6 months. Hubby is a very shallow Christian (or possibly not saved at all, although I thought he was when we were dating & got married).

    I love the church I am in now, but not able to serve as I would like to. This doesn’t seem to be an issue and we feel accepted by the pastor & everyone else in the church even though we have not yet officially become members. The church has a sweet spirit of acceptance. Being so small, the pastor receives only a small amount of support from the church and has to hold outside employment as does his wife. I do tithe and make offerings from my personal income, to the church, but hubby won’t allow me to tithe from ‘his’ income. He is retired (another sign to me that is is probably not saved).

    I keep wondering what the outcome would have been if we had attended only one church under one pastor, all these years.

    Forgive me for rambling. These thoughts all came to me after reading all the other posts.

  33. cherielyn says:

    I do wish there was an edit feature. I hate it when I discover my mistakes, too late, and can’t fix them.

    Correction to my statement: “He is retired (another sign to me that is is probably not saved).”

    I did not mean to say that his retirement is a sign, to me that he is not saved, but rather his ideas on tithing. :)

  34. SFDBWV says:

    Cheryl, You have certainly done your part in remaining faithful to Christ. Well done! It is always a struggle.


  35. Charis says:

    Hi Steve (8:45),

    Lately I have spent quite a bit of time in 1 and 2 Corinthians. I am struck by how they seem rather unaccepting of Paul, not very good at listening, apparently pointing the finger at him as a “failure”. eg here are just a few clips from the close of the second letter 2 Cor 13 “since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me…Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed…. Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

    Personally, I agree with Paul a couple chapters earlier “For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.” 2 Cor 10:17

    I also find Paul’s thoughts about “teachers” in Romans 2:17-24 an indictment on our religiosity. Read it substituting “religious” for “Jew” and “Bible” for Law. I think the institution is shallow, lacks depth, lacks community, and “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles” because of some of what goes on. I think many many people go to the institution on Sunday with a mask tightly on. They are not “naked and unashamed” before God or before one another. Personally, I spent close to 30 years in 12 different prot denominations (we moved 24 times) and 15 childhood years as an RC and I had to go to secular psychological counseling before I experienced deliverance. Jesus came to bring GOOD NEWS. I wish GOOD NEWS was available in the places that are calling themselves “church”. But sadly, I think they bear more resemblance to the Laodicean church of Rev 3:17ff:

    “You say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

  36. mtman says:

    To SFDBWD: To hopefully answer your question. I think the place to start is pausing to take a look at where we are at. I haven’t been hurt by the church, but I have and so many others I talk to have been very disappointed by the church.
    When one looks at the early church and makes a comparison to what we have today it is clear to me that we are sadly lacking. Today we have to have a program to bring people in so we can tell them we love them. That is backwards in my opinion and we the church don’t need to be everything to everyone. We need to be the glowing embodiment of love and draw non believers to us because of that. We have to start by doing a prayerful self examination and being honest with ourselves. From there any change should come through the Holy Spirit. To view the church as a whole is overwhelming but to simply go back to a body of those who love each other will cut to the chase so to speak. At least in my opinion…

  37. mtman says:

    As an after thought I don’t see how anyone can go back and read these posts and not believe the church is not in trouble. I think this blog which gives us opportunity to express what is on our mind is probably the most loving community I have seen for a long while. Of course the past topics on marriage certainly strained that in places but the good thing is that regardless of where we all stood on the issue we all appeared to come back together in a loving way. Praise God! Isn’t that what a loving church is suppose to do??? Everyone has an area of concern and this is and has been one of mine.

  38. poohpity says:

    I believe Jesus described that any good leader has to learn to follow before they can lead. It is so easy to judge or criticize another in no matter what capacity they are in because that persons life is in full view only when we look in the mirror do we have a chance to walk away and forgot what we have seen. Philippians 2:1-11 I think is so beautiful and one worth remembering always.

    1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

    5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
    6Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
    7but made himself nothing,
    taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
    8And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to death—
    even death on a cross!
    9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
    10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

    I know I need a lot of work in my leadership role in church and in my leadership role in my home because I am so quick to not think and ask for direction from the Holy Spirit before I proceed with anything. It is always the Lord who does the best changes in folks rather than me trying to change anyone but myself and that alone is hard enough. I think if I were to just keep my eye on what I am doing I would be a better example.

  39. SFDBWV says:

    Charis, Thank you for your answer. I guess having a Christian leader in a church is a lot like picking a doctor or a lawyer…You never know what you have untill after you pick them.

    I don’t envy you the life you’ve had. It sounds that you,ve had a great deal of religion placed on you. Moved 24 times is stressful enough. Then to be introduced to 12 different Prot. denominations???? I didn’t even know there were that many. There is no doubt that you are discouraged by all the talk. It sounds to me that you have been let down by a lot of people. I am sorry, I hope I have not added to your unhappiness in any way. If I have please forgive me.

    I am sure you have heard the discussions read the books and read all of Revelation 1,2,and 3. Some people believe that the churches Jesus spoke to in these chapters not only represent actual churches but attitudes of believers and periods of church ages.

    I am in agreement with all three. I believe our church age is the last age. The age of Laodicea. I also believe that there is added suffering to all believers. I believe that God is putting the pressure on us all to help us to mature as the end of the age is near.

    I am your friend, I hope we can share, learn and grow here together. Perhaps even help someone else along the way.


  40. SFDBWV says:

    mtman Bruce, i am glad that you’ve never had your feelings hurt from attending or holding office in a church. I can’t say the same.

    I have held a couple church offices over my life. One of the first things I learned was that it made me a target for criticizim and gossip. As I put all of my energies and heart into anything I do. This left me wide open to be hurt, and hurt I have been.

    But this is true in or out of church. Anyone who does anything is going to be criticized by people who do nothing but criticize the efforts of others.

    I have always lived under the attitude that if I don’t like the way things are being run, then I need to be in a position to run them. So I have been Mayor of my community for 36 years. After this long I have finally come to realize this is what God wanted me to do.

    I was not called to preach, though my son Matthew would probably disagree. ( my little attempt at humor ).
    I don’t, at this place in my life, want any positions in church leadership. I have enough enemies, from being Mayor.

    Bruce have you ever read any books or seen any documentories about church history? It is an ugly and bloody history. All about control and dominance, power and money. We do a lot better today than in some ages, but have lost our first love….

    I am not sure we could ever do anything to fix the problem. But be busy feeding the hungry,clothing the poor,comforting the hurting,forgetting the politics of it all and just be happy doers of good to all in the name of Jesus Christ. So when the King returns he finds us doing His work.

    Today is still the only day.

    Your Friend

  41. pegramsdell says:

    Steve, it sounds like you have been a good example for your family and town. Also sounds like you would have made a good pastor. You have a good heart and a lot of love. And you don’t put up with nonsense. That’s good.
    Pastors should also be someone you can trust. My previous pastor would tell everyone everything. He couldn’t wait to talk about you. I really got burned. I hope I can find a pastor and church that I can call home. I really miss that. I am attending different churches, but haven’t found a home yet.

  42. SFDBWV says:

    Peg, Thank you for your kind words, I am sure you will find rest. It’s one of Jesus’s promises. This blog has certainly given us a place to belong.

    Your Friend

  43. Robert Slone says:

    This is probably off subject, but shouldn’t we be informed on the here and now, especially for new Christians. We are entering a very trying time, as each day passes.

    Please forgive me, if I am out of line.

  44. mtman says:

    Steve: I agree with you and have been the subject of gossip, back stabbing, and so forth but I did not let it hurt me. All within the church no less. I have just always figured that who they were really hurting was our Lord himself because I just shrugged it off as human fraility. I did not take it personal even though it is hard. It was a disappointment however. Yes there are always those who are critics but they often have points that I can agree with or at least listen to. You would be surprised how many folks are out there who are never heard because they are labeled critics or something worse. Off and on over the years I have read much about the church history but right now I can’t recall exactly what it all was.
    I think you are what our Lord will rejoice over when he comes back.
    If we could just get our church leaders to take a good self evaluating look at themselves and whether they project the love that was evident in the early church (in spite of all the bloodshed) they might find they need some adjustment. It has to start somewhere, and if it is the Lord’s will it will grow. I hope I live long enough to witness it. Maybe the reason they burn out is attempting to do it all by themselves and they leave the Lord and fellow believers out of the equasion.
    Your friend back, Bruce

  45. daisymarygoldr says:

    Some good discussions going on here…and Robert Slone, I hear you.

    This is only for mature and older Christians…

    Forgive me people, but it is very interesting for me to note, that a nation so enamored with the law of their land should bristle at the mention of God’s Laws. I have been in several countries and honestly, no one can match up to your compulsive obsession with the law. I say this as a compliment., One wrong move at home, church or business, one little scratch on the car … and you literally move your justice system to pay you back eye for an eye tooth for a tooth!

    I’m sure you have plenty of horror stories about abuse by Law enforcement officials. How did you respond to Law abuse? Did you abolish Law enforcement? Do you “freak out and die” when the Police Officer hands you a ticket for speeding? Do you demand that there should be no more Law in the Land of the free? Do you insist Law should be replaced by attitudes of Love? I don’t see any one of you rallying to remove Government authority and I know that you will never want to do that. Why then are you responding to abusive churchmen by insisting on Lawlessness within God’s house? If we say we Love God let us humbly submit to His authority, rule and Laws!

  46. daisymarygoldr says:

    This is in response to the “attitudes of the Lord of lords and Servant of servants… to get to the heart of the kind of leader that serves well in home, church, business, or government… How can a leader serve well in home, church, business, or government?”

    I find the answer in Phillip’s reference to John 13. Jesus laid the perfect example of a servant when He stooped to wash the feet of His disciples. Feet are the very base or foundation upon which the whole Body stands. Clean feet ensure a healthy Body. Eph 6:15 speaks about our feet fitted by the Gospel of peace so we are fully prepared to face the enemy. Rom 10:15 describes those who bring Good news as the ones with “beautiful feet”.

    Jesus was emphatic about clean feet. To Peter’s objection, Jesus replied “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” Feet get unclean due to sin. As long as we live and walk in this sinful world we will invariably get our feet dirtied with sin. Unclean feet hinder our fellowship with Jesus and our fellowship with one another. Unclean feet taint the Gospel of Peace preached by the church. Unclean feet of the Church make the unbelieving world brand us as hypocrites.

    Jesus demonstrated humble servant hood by washing the feet of both… the ones who followed Him to death and the one who refused His authority to “rebel”…and betray! The Word… is the Water (Eph 5:26). The Pastor-leader is called to display servitude by diligently serving the Word of God…not to Lord over and beat people with the Bible… but to wash the feet of God’s people…even those who rebel against the authority of God’s laws. It is not an easy task…and it sure did cost the disciples their lives.

    A well fed flock has clean feet and it keeps the sheep healthy and happy. This also draws other sheep to Jesus’ fold. The same applies to the leader (man/woman?!) at home. That is why it is important we feed on the word because it is the Word that washes our sins to keep us clean and healthy so that as a body we are headed together in the right direction! Just my thoughts…

  47. diamonds says:

    It is amazing to me to see how many “mature” Christians have placed a hierarchy on God’s laws and/or sins of man. This is pure Pharisaical pride. When we draw a line on that list to say that below this line are worse sins and above this line are acceptable, more reputable ones, we have become exactly like the Pharisees of the Bible. While it is our goal to become more Christ-like as we move to our final home, this never gives us the right to judge and condemn our fellow man whom we feel is a bigger sinner than we are. We sit on our self-righteous pedestals instead of saying “but for the grace of God there go I.” Let us not judge one another. Remember, mercy triumphs over judgment. Those who give mercy will receive mercy. Should we be like Peter who cut off one of the guards’ ears, or should we be more like Peter after he had denied Christ three times? That’s when he understood GRACE. Okay, mature believers, are you going to cut off ears or restore them? Why should I look at one candidate who says that we have the choice to sin (pro-choice) and one that has already sinned (divorced) and say that the divorced one is more righteous? Get a grip, people! We’re all sinners! God’s grace should make us want to extend grace, not judgment. (I’m enjoying this blog. It’s allowing me to say some things I’ve been dying to say. :-))

  48. diamonds says:

    And another thing… isn’t it interesting how when we become “mature,” we move away from the foot of the cross, move Jesus off the judgment seat, and become judges ourselves. We need to stop it.

  49. daisymarygoldr says:

    diamonds, Welcome to the blog! Since you are using the word mature I’m assuming your last two posts are referring to my comment. No, it was not in response to your words…I just scrolled back to read your earlier one… and do see that you had mentioned the Laws. Again, sorry if my post was misleading…just wanted to clarify that it was not meant for you, okay? We enjoy reading your thoughts so, keep posting:)

  50. sjd says:

    I have had difficult times in Church through the years. Hurt, yes. Disappointed, yes. Wanting to walk away at times and go elsewhere, yes. Willing to give up on the Church, NO!

    In our last discussion on marriage we saw that the husband was to love his wife as Christ loved the Church.

    In Ephesians 2 and 3 we see the beauty and mystery of what God did in creating the Church. Jesus hasn’t given up on the Church. Seems that He has a future planned out for it.

    We believer’s have the great privilege of reaching out to one another to build one another up, and I believe we do that by helping one another see what Christ has done and is doing in us. Check out Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21. May this be our prayer for one another.

    Ephesians 3:14-21 (NASB95)
    14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
    15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
    16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
    17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
    18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
    19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
    20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
    21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
    The Church should be a priority in our lives as it is a place where God’s glory is to be shown to the world. I can not love the Church in my flesh, but praise God “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20 (NASB95)

    Loving the Church is showing my love for God. God’s design is not wrong. Fleshly living is. If only we would live as who we are in Christ, not as who we once were. The same goes for leaders as it does for the rest of the church.
    For this reason I bow my knees before the Father….

  51. kaliko88 says:

    I really hope this is coherent. I’m currently working two jobs, it’s midnight, I just spent the last half hour reading through all the posts while eating a very late dinner, and the cats keep stepping on or bumping the keyboard in their anxious need to remind me that it is time for their snacks. This is not usually what I pick up for bedtime reading. :)

    After going through all these comments I am caught by a few thoughts. First, I really get annoyed when ‘the church’ is used as a collective term. This is one of those things that should not be generalized or categorized as a single thing. I get enough of that from doubters and unbelievers, in particular my husband. It’s too easy to add an emphasis that’s similar to what I hear people use when they mention ‘the government’. All groups, organizations, institutions, and whatever else you want to call them, are made up of people. Different, varied, and individual people with different, varied, and individual ideas, concerns, thoughts and opinions and yet who want or need to work together. Just as there are different kinds and sorts of government all over the world, there are different kinds and sorts of churches. And when I’m in a really peevish mood, I want to roll my eyes at anyone who says that they’ve been to lots of churches. If the numbers were ever computed I think it would be found that even ‘lots’ is a miniscule percentage of the huge amount that are out there. Thus my frustration when it’s all rounded up together with only a passing thought for how different they each are.

    I personally do not want to assume that the differences are all bad. Yes, there are some truly awful churches and beliefs out there. But for myself, in the churches that I have seen it is not hard for me to find what is commonly right with them. And if they have a different way of sharing the ‘good news’, so be it. People are attracted to churches for a variety of reasons, learn in different ways, and as long as the message remains true, I don’t much care how it’s delivered. The one thing I am always sure of is there is someone there each time who the message was meant for and who needed to hear it. I try to always hope that people are there to seek out Jesus, not just get a happy feeling. But I have no problem with people who want to look for a church that delivers the message in a way they can understand.

    I am also a bit of a “Pollyanna” when it comes to certain things. I’d rather look for the good. If the good is being distorted or tainted, I try to do right and find a way to correct it or help others correct it. In all these stories of pastors and churches going the wrong way, and people having to leave, I hope those doing wrong were at least approached at some time in a loving way and talked to about their wrong attitudes. And I hope in the cases of just mere disappointment, that not everyone gave up on those churches. God doesn’t give up on us, and yet imagine how much more disappointed He is with us. To me it would be a terrible example of forgiveness. Unfortunately I see it all too often, and not just in churches. I have my own hurtful example in my family.

    I get really leary when anyone says that something as a whole needs to be redone a certain way. Examples are good things to learn from, but copying them exactly is impossible and trying to can actually cause more harm. Look at how much we differ here in just a discussion. Can you imagine what would happen if a anyone got together and actually tried to hammer out the nuts and bolts of remodeling ‘the church’ in just one way? I can only imagine near total mayhem, and it would probably start with something like, “And just what makes you think you know better?” Besides, Jesus has already promised he will set the church right, and I’d rather wait for his plan when he’s ready to reveal it, and just do the best I can to help in the meantime.

    As for Mart’s original question, I think he summed it up best in the last two paragraphs. I am fortunate that I have a pastor who leads by example, shares his leadership with trustworthy believers, and who uses the resources given to him to serve as many as are willing to be served. “Ruling” never even comes into consideration. I follow his lead because I recognize his greater growth and understanding in God’s word.

    I think this discussion went way off course and focused too much on the concept of “ruling”, which did not seem to be the original intent. It reminds me very much of something C.S. Lewis said in his Preface of “Mere Christianity” about why he was not going to offer any help on choosing a denomination. I’d quote the whole thing, but it’s a huge paragraph. Suffice to say that he saw such detailed discussions as best left to those who were firm believers, were studied experts in such things, and that the more common beliefs to nearly all Christians were a better subject to focus on as a service to explain and defend to his unbelieving neighbors. (I love his works, particularly this book!)

    kbutterfly, I don’t recall anyone answering your question about pastors meeting with female congregants. I can only tell you how my pastor deals with it. I belong to a small but growing church that is a little more than 10 years old. The staff consists of the pastor, the associate/youth pastor, the pastor’s wife who helps as office assistant, and the music director who also helps with office stuff. Whenever any female comes in to talk to him or seek counseling, he always lets them know in the beginning that his door will be left open. If anything needs to stay absolutely private, then he will invite his wife in with their permission to help with the counseling. And unless specifically asked not to, he will sometimes bring up the counseling with the elders and deacons. He will not mention names or even hint who he is talking about, unless asked to, but he has always believed that when there is a problem, as many people as possible should be praying. I have been counseled by him and his wife a few times over the years. It was incredibly comforting to be listened to and prayed for, but then it helps that they are an extremely loving and dedicated couple. Yes, I am extremely fortunate in my current church.

    Okay, the cats have lost total patience, and it’s bedtime. I think I need to promise to make a shorter comment next time.

  52. Mart De Haan says:

    Another good conversation. Thanks to all who weighed in along the way, and who followed and thought about how church pastors/elders and congregations are and are not consistent with its perfect Lord and Savior.

    From all you’ve said I think we agree that (1) Christ loves the church (both in its universal and local meaning). (2) No one saw our/its flaws/wrongs more clearly than he did. (3)No one is more committed to its mission, growth, importance, and eventual perfection than he is.

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