I KNOW, I KNOW—it’s not nice to call anyone a jerk. I realize that all of us can have jerk tendencies. Yes, all of us. However, for the sake of many people who are in rough situations, especially many worship pastors, we have to face the fact that sometimes even our pastors can be a … well, you know what I mean. Help!
1. Realize that all of us are broken.
None of us are perfect. None of us have made it. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). All of us. Let’s cut each other some slack.
2. We should deal with our own stuff first.
Jesus said it well when he encouraged us, actually humorously, to get rid of the plank in our own eye, then we can see clearly to remove the speck from our brothers eye. (Matthew 7:5). What is God trying to say to me? What are some of my own planks?
3. Even after we deal with our stuff, we still have to be honest about the faults in others.
According to Matthew 7, our brothers do have specks in their eyes and many times those specks can be extremely “jerky.” I’ve had many awesome pastors and leaders, but I’ve also had a couple of tough ones. After we do everything we can, it’s alright to admit that our pastor may have some issues. We can learn from King David, however. He never did raise his sword against his leader, King Saul, yet all throughout Psalms, he was very, very honest about “his enemy.” The truth was that King Saul was a jerk. And so are many of our leaders.
4. Forgive, forgive, forgive.
When Jesus was asked how many times we should forgive, what did he say? Yea … lots! You get the picture. Even on the cross, Jesus forgave. I remember in one of my darkest moments in ministry, when I felt like I was being “crucified” by my leaders, God softly spoke to me: “like the Pharisees, they really don’t know what they’re doing.” Just like Jesus, I had to forgive. I still do. We all do. If we look at the words of Jesus, it is always our turn to seek forgiveness … no matter where the fault lies.
5. Stay and pray.
Our greatest enemy is not our pastor. It may seem like it at times, but it’s not. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12. The enemy has a strange way of disguising himself as those close to us … even our spiritual leaders. In these moments, we never talk to others. We first go to God. He is our strength, our hope, our truth, our defense.
6. Go to them and not to others.
According to Matthew 18, if our brother or sister (or our pastor) has sinned against us, we are to go to them alone. Period. If that doesn’t work, then we are to take the next steps. It’s so tough to keep our mouths shut, but God will honor his word.
7. It may be time to shake the dust from our feet and move on.
According to Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Sometimes we do all that we can do, and still there is no peace. It may be best to stay silent and move on. No hard feelings, but it’s time to go.
8. Never, never, never take revenge.
Even if you’re right, there’s a price to revenge that none of us can afford. Forgive and leave the results with God (Romans 12:19).
9. No matter what, God still has a plan for our lives.
God is always with us, he is always for us, and he always has a plan. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11
In closing, as a fellow worship leader and pastor, I totally understand your pain. I’ve been there. Seriously. I will pray with you, trust with you, and believe with you. God really is for us!
Stan Sheridan has traveled and shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the industry. Currently, he oversees the Genesis School of Music & Worship Arts, in Birmingham, AL, as well as the Exodus Group, a coaching and mentoring program for worship pastors and leaders. For more information or booking information: understandingworship.com.