How do you approach a lousy pastor?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-22-2000
How do you approach a lousy pastor?
9
Thu, 04-12-2012 - 10:06am

This has been a long time coming. My husband and I have become increasingly dissatisfied with the pastor at our church. Over the past few years, his behavior has become increasingly worse (in my opinion). From the pulpit he preaches politics, demeans his wife, bases his sermon around a fundraiser, etc. Very non-expository and unbecoming behavior. He doesn't seem to have to answer to anyone. If he decides to do something, he just does it. There is no true leadership in the church. Every group just kind of does their own thing and none of them coordinate with the other. He basically has become the only leader for the ever decreasing youth group and he is currently teaching them his latest fancy....confrontational style evangelism. Our daughter is supposed to join youth next fall and we don't support this focus for a youth group, so we don't want her to join.

Our congregation has continued to decrease over the years and we are struggling financially. For the past year, he has focused heavily on increasing "numbers" of congregants. It seems that the focus has gone away from simply preaching the gospel, serving and loving others to increasing the sanctuary population. DH and I both feel that we should at least go to him with our concerns before "jumping ship", but he is not very approachable. He reacts very defensively in a negative way when you "step on his toes" or disagree with him. Basically, if you don't support him 100%, he views you as against him. I can't imagine my husband and I are alone in our observations, but we aren't sure how to find out if others feel the same way without it seeming like we are trying to undermine him. Do you have any advice on how to approach this situation?

Beth

Avatar for zions_daughter
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-18-2001
Thu, 04-12-2012 - 11:39am
I will definitely be praying for your church family. I think you and your husband should meet with the pastor and at least one elder/deacon. Be sure to pray together first when you meet, inviting God to be in that meeting. Then gently present your concerns. Have something written down so that if the pastor interrupts you, you can get back to that list. (An extra copy or two to leave with the elders/deacons would be a good idea too.)

If nothing's going to change after you've had this meeting, you might need to find a new church family, but I'm glad you want to explain before you leave. Sometimes people don't know what to change because they haven't been confronted with their errors.

(An aside here: how is confrontation supposed to work with evangelism? They're totally opposite things! LOL)

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-22-2000
Thu, 04-12-2012 - 12:21pm

Thank you for your input, Becca.

Avatar for zions_daughter
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Registered: 04-18-2001
Thu, 04-12-2012 - 6:23pm
I'm sure it would make you feel better if you weren't the only ones, but I would still think a more private meeting is the way to open the subject. You're not encouraging anyone to talk behind the pastor's back, you're "confronting" him first ;) and dealing with it in a gentle manner, less like mutiny and more like concern!

Even if you're the only ones who feel the way you do, I'd say the pastor should at least examine his motives and methods. He doesn't seem to be following Jesus' example, in my opinion. Maybe no one else in the church family knows enough to question what he's doing? Sometimes you think a thing is the norm because you don't know better.

I've always been more comfortable with the "live your witness" approach. Getting to know people in a friendly way makes them more likely to ask you questions at some point in your friendship, or be receptive to a little talk about church. That happened this week in the parenting group I attend during preschool time. I'm not going to badger the other mothers with chat about church, but it was neat to have a few minutes to give them insight into my faith. :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-22-2000
Thu, 04-12-2012 - 7:06pm

Thanks, Becca. This seems so difficult for me.

Avatar for zions_daughter
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-18-2001
Thu, 04-12-2012 - 9:59pm
I haven't either, so do take my advice with that knowledge. I should have said that first! ;) I just tried to picture the best and gentlest way to let the pastor know what's wrong. Pray on it together because you might decide it's better to just go on to another church.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2005
Thu, 04-12-2012 - 11:33pm
Honestly I wouldn't discuss it w/ him, I think he knows what he is doing or he wouldn't be defensive. I would just start looking for a new place where you feel comfortable again. I know we left our old church after a change in leadership and we didn't agree with the new pastor's way of doing things and felt hurt that he said he would do things for our church and youth during interviews and then decided not to pursue anything once he got the job. Youth is very important to us since we were just starting to have kids. We searched for over a year around town and finally found our AMAZING church and could NOT be happier! They have the best youth program and we FIT there.

I think sometimes the Lord gives you a hint to move to a better place that will speak to your needs more and it might just be time to start looking around for the place He wants you to worship.


Angela - CL Sept 2012 Apple Blossoms - Wife to Andy, Mom to Lily (4), Aiden (1), and Braelynn born 7.27.12

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2007
Fri, 04-13-2012 - 9:03am

Wow, what a difficult situation to be in.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-22-2000
Fri, 04-13-2012 - 9:15am

Thanks so much for the input. This is such a difficult thing for me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2007
Sat, 04-21-2012 - 6:36am

Hi Beth.


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