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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Are You Supposed to Obey Your Church Leaders?

Many people they know more about how to run the church than the leaders they have chosen. The pastor is second-guessed. The Minister of Education is thought to be clueless about what she is doing. The Youth Minister is believed to be spending money frivolously. The Children's Minister is reported he never asks the right people to teach. It makes for such great gossip. It is full of error. It is not of God.

For some reason people believe that going to church qualifies them for running a church. They seem to think they have observed all that can happen in a church. Let's think about this. Do you learn to cook by eating? Do you know how to raise children by having been a child? Do you know how to teach because you went to school? Can you be a mechanic because you have ridden in a car?

Each of these seem ridiculous, yet people who are otherwise sane believe they know more than their leaders. They believe that their answers to the problems the church faces will be the ones that make things so much better. They even believe their complaints make things better because they garner support for their ideas.

One Sunday we received a note that said, "Don't worry, my friend and I will straighten out this church." It came with a list of "improvements" that the church needed to make. It came from my own daughter! She was in elementary school at the time.

The Bible says that people should obey their spiritual leaders because they keep watch over their souls. The greatest error in failing to support the leader is the danger that it places on the rogue church member. These leaders have a serious responsibility to care for their flock. They will have to answer to God if they don't. The members who are going their own path step outside of God's plan. They stand in a spiritually dangerous area. They open themselves to unshielded attacks.

Isn't it strange that people say that God called a minister when he first arrives at the church but claim they have to get rid of him when he doesn't do what they want? Why is it that one is the act of God and the other is their own act?

Of course, that doesn't mean that every minister is in the place that God has called him. This is where a church and minister need to recognize the mistake of coming to a place in which he is not called. It should be the church who helps him find another place of service. It doesn't take gossip, criticism and back-stabbing to do this.

The best way to get rid of a minister is to make him extremely successful. Obey him and pray for him. Participate in his programs and work hard to get the church to grow. Rapidly growing churches will attract committees from other churches. They will soon be talking to your minister about greener pastures.

Yes, you should obey those church leaders except when they lead you to do something that is clearly outside of God's will. This must not be a matter of opinion. It should be a violation of Scriptural principle. It must stand on the best understanding of this scripture as given by previous saints and the leading of the Holy Spirit. This should never be done cavalierly.

The Scripture that tells people to obey their leaders also tells them to so that it is no burden to their leaders. It says that this is so things will go well with you. That's what I always want for my own church members. I want things to go well with them.

I invite you to come by our church if you are ever in Virginia Beach. The members here have made serving as pastor a joy. It has really helped me understand my responsibility for watching over their souls. Their attitude has made me want to work harder to fulfill what God wants to do. I pray that each pastor and church can have this. It is God's plan for His Church.

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