Monday, June 06, 2011

So You Want To Pastor A Large Church?

"You have heard that our ancestors were told, 'You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.' But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God." Matthew 5:21-24 (NLT)
Whereas what Jesus first says here is about your responsibility not to get angry at other people or say derogatory things to them, the second part sets forth your obligation - yours, not theirs - to approach and seek reconciliation with or forgiveness from those who feel they've been wronged by you. And that before you proceed with your worship to God.

Did you get that?

If someone acts like or says (or you otherwise learn) that you've wronged them, or if they think that you've wronged them, you are to go to them and seek to be reconciled with them.

Before you do your God thing.

Before you preach your message.

Before you teach your Sunday school class or small group meeting.

Before you go to prayer or continue your prayer or lead others in prayer.

Can you guess how many people on a regular basis in a typical-sized church get offended by, or feel they've been wronged or offended by, the pastor(s) or others in leadership? Jesus doesn't say whether such people are right to feel that way, or whether you actually did anything, or whether if you did something, it was intentional or unintentional, or was done knowingly or unknowingly.

He says, " suddenly remember that someone has something against you,..."

Past a certain size of church, I don't think a pastor or church leader would have any time to do anything but spend all her or his time making peace, or trying to make peace, with those who have been, or felt they've been, hurt or slighted or ignored or wronged by her or him.

Which is why, if one wants to do things Jesus' way, one would almost be constrained to keep one's list of possible offendees - and hence the size of one's congregation - fairly small.

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