Pastor to Pastor: 4 Next steps to follow when a fellow pastor has failed.

My heart is broken this morning. Sitting in a pool of tears in a coffee-house this morning, I’m sure I must be concerning the baristas and customers looking my way.  

All morning, I’ve been fine, but sitting down and reading articles about the resignation of a favorite pastor of mine has brought be to a very humbling place.  The news came to me yesterday after a great morning at Kfirst.

Perhaps the shock of it has now settled in after 24 hours of processing it.
Perhaps my own humanity gets realized in these moments.
Perhaps the love for the church I serve is so immense that I’m examining EVERY area of my life today as to make sure I’m reflecting Christ and His Kingdom.

(A boy just walked by me looking at me weird…seriously, I was fine when I left the house.)

So when I struggle to fully grasp or comprehend something, I journal and I blog. It’s my way to work out my thoughts. Why? Because if you’ve been living under a rock, you don’t know that rawness has gotten the best of people on social media and caused more havoc by escalating situations more than needed. (I’d highly recommend a journal as to protect you and your friends from thoughts and emotions yet to be hashed out.)

This hurting pastor doesn’t know me. We’ve tweeted back and forth a few times but that doesn’t make us BFFs. How God has used him in the Kingdom has inspired me and the church he leads has (and continues to ) challenge me. I will not use his name nor refer to the church out of respect for both of them…

But my brokenness isn’t exclusive to just his resignation. It happens with EVERY situation like this. I love pastors. I’ve been a broken pastor before. I am here because of men and women who wouldn’t abandon me in my fracture but spoken into my wounded heart and mind (Luke 10:33-37).

What also breaks my heart is knowing the amount of “carnivorous christians” that will smell blood in the water. There are people who crave these moments. They whore themselves to the attention they get from stirring the pot so that they can promote their self-righteousness. They claim to be about the Kingdom but only care about building an empire that revolves around the box they have placed Christ and His Word into. Instead of rallying to the broken, instead of humbling ourselves and checking our own hearts, they abandon and even attack the hurting. I can sit and point the finger at them, but that tendency lies in all of us. So I say to US ALL…

Brothers and Sisters, this should not be (James 3:10).

So, in blog style, I’ve sat down and begin to pen out next steps for me.  

What is a minister’s response when a fellow minister has failed?

1 – Rally to the broken. The enemy works in isolation; God works in community. We need to be quicker to sit in the dirt with those who are broken rather than stand around ready to hurl rocks (John 8:1-11). We need more advocates in the Kingdom instead of accusers. I may not have a personal relationship with this pastor (or others), but I doesn’t stop me from responding to their pain.  Which brings me to #2…

2 – Pray for the broken. There is a fractured minister. He/she has a hurting marriage and family. There is a hurting congregation. You don’t have to know the details to pray. Don’t allow the desire for “the dirt” be deeper than the desire to pray. Let the Spirit of God pray through you. Let Him give you the words to say. Be obedient to pray when He prompts you.

3 – Stop the attacks. Don’t facilitate infection but be a source of healing. The Good Samaritan had the perfect response of “pouring on oil and wine.” Oil was the soothing agent to remove pain. Wine was the antiseptic to stop further infection. Let your response do both.

4 – Stay humble and learn. These moments that should bring us to a place of humility. They remind us that none of us are exempt from temptation. The Bible gives so many examples of men and women who failed.  And for a majority of them (if not all), it was in a place of isolation, hunger, and/or exhaustion. To every minister of the Gospel (this is a message I’d like to preach to pastors):

  • Have accountability. I love my board. (I don’t always do well communicating how much I value my present and past board members for their wisdom and insight. Despite my demeanor, deep down they are blessed and wise men and women of God and I am very thankful for them).  BUT you desperately need ministers who are IN the trenches and those who WERE in the trenches. Have the presence of both Paul (mentors) and Barnabas (peers) in your life who have permission to ask or inquire of ANYTHING in your life/marriage/family.
  • Don’t stop being teachable. Learn from others regardless of age, denomination, or size of their ministry.
  • Guard your heart against competition; keep the critical attitude at bay.
  • Don’t spread gossip in the name of prayer requests.
  • Keep yourself spiritually fed. Spend time in the Word. Have personal worship time. Listen to podcasts.
  • Get rest. Have good sleep habits. Date your spouse. Have time with your children. Vacation without guilt. Rest may be the most fruitful thing you can do for your ministry.

Would you spend some of your day today in prayer over fellow ministers? If you are struggling WITH temptation and/or struggling IN temptation, would you reach out to someone? If you have no one, I’d be glad to pray for ya. Hit me up in a message or DM on Facebook or Twitter. Don’t feel like you have to be alone.

We must be about the Kingdom. And it won’t happen if we are devouring our own. It’ll happen when we bind the broken and heal the hurting. And those we lead, will follow our example.

Love you all.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: This was the song I’ve been listening to during my blogging today: 

8 comments

  • Hello Dave,
    I want to thank you for the writing and the song at the end. I too had read the news of Perry Noble and my heart was broken at the way it was handled. In times of trouble we are to lift each other up not tear each other down. It is so easy to judge but much harder to just love. Over the last week we have seen lots of judging going on and not near enough love being spread. The one thing we all must remember, we, on the physical side are mere humans, and unfortunately flesh and blood are what we fall back on instinctively. We must release all the stress of this world and follow Paul’s instruction in Romans 12 and renew our minds so we instinctively rely on God’s word in our times of trouble.

    Thank you once again God bless,
    Billy W Sullivan
    Speaker, writer, worship leader, Founder
    Stream of Life Ministry
    http://www.streamoflifeministry.org
    billy@streamoflifeminiistry.org

    • Thanks so much for the comments my friend. Appreciate you taking time to read and the heart you have for people.

    • Billy thank you for naming names, one thing Pastor Dave did not want done…

      • Hello Jay and Pastor Dave I apologize as I was replying to Dave and was not trying to comment to the whole thread. I did not name his name out of disrespect, but merely acknowledging to Pastor Dave that I had read the story as well and felt the same way.
        I also might add that the Pastor in question has nothing to be ashamed of as we are all prone to mistakes and pressure. None of us are perfect no not one, but we are all perfect in God’s eyes through Jesus Christ.
        As for the name it wasn’t said out of malice or I’ll intent. I always ask for people’s names when I pray for someone’s family member. I know God knows everything but feel it doesn’t hurt to be direct, after all there are like 7 billion of us down here.
        Pastor Dave I am truly sorry if I spoke out of turn, please forgive my misstep, it was definitely not intentional.

        God bless,
        Billy

  • Thank you Pastor Dave for sharing these thoughts. I appreciate the way you articulated the care and concern for others. I am part of a team that brings encouragement to fellow Pastors, thankfully, we take care of each other as well.

    Competition and lack of rest seem to seep in and become my biggest hurdles; when I want to have a ministry like so and so, that’s the time I realize I need step back into the presence of God, soaking in His love and grace, and seeking out the purpose He has for me. Actually, your reminder is quite timely; though I am sorry for the motivation that prompted it.

    Blessings to you!

    • Thanks for the read Mike I presheet hearing your heart and seeing the amount of encouragement you are engaging in. As I say so often to our congregation, “can never encourage enough.”

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