The authority of a pastor has been a hot button for as long as I can remember. Many years ago, I remember meetings at our church where they would get a little heated. However, the conversations would always end with the pastor pulling the authority card. How many can attest to this in their church? Religious institutions have preserved themselves on the idea that a pastor has some kind of authority over another. I will say, out of all the verses in the bible, the ones that seem to give a pastor any authority over another may be the most abused of them all.
Does anybody stop and think about what a pastor should really be in the life of another? Is it to stand up on stage and regurgitate all the same things you already know over and over again? Is it to guard the doctrine of your denomination (because most churches believe they have the right understanding)? Or maybe it’s to run the church well like a business so that it’s always growing and moving forward? Or, should a pastor bring themselves below those around them…not grasping for a title or lifestyle? Should they have the heart of Jesus that washed his disciples feet? With this attitude comes no spiritual abuse or desire to hold any authority over another.
Do we ever stop and think about what a pastor should not be in the life of another? Of course the bible is very clear to not lord over another, but do we allow the pastor that position to do it anyway? Is it built into the doctrine that your church believes? Do we believe they are anointed from God and it gives them some authoritative position in our lives? Is that a healthy way to view another person? Think about it and ask questions…
Here are some actual guidelines that have come to my attention that some pastors teach…some churches believe the bible says…and some people are enslaved to. I’m showing this for one reason…to think about the authority that we freely give church leadership in our lives that can be both hurtful to us and our families and damaging to how we see who God is. Read through these guidelines and ask yourself if your church follows these. Be honest whether your pastor teaches these points. If they do, you may be in a damaging situation and should start asking more questions about what freedom in Christ is and about what the Love of God is.
1. You are to submit to your pastor’s authority (obey those who have rule over you).
2. Ditto for your deacons.
3. If you want to leave church you need to talk to your pastor and see if he thinks it is okay. If he gives you his blessing than God’s blessing is on it.
4. Your local church is your ‘spiritual family’ and you ought to see it as a marriage. In your marriage if your wife got tired of you she would not have the freedom to put herself under the authority of another husband (pastor inferred).
5. You can never leave a church unless there are doctrinal errors; in that case EVERYONE should leave.
6. At church if you are concerned about something but your pastor is not, then since a pastor is God’s man for today than you can assume God is not concerned with it right now in your church and do not worry about it.
If you have been hurt by a church or pastor, please talk to someone you can trust. Regardless of what your church teaches or the doctrine they believe, talk to someone. Also, if you have a story to share, feel free to do it here. If you want to, you are free to choose…you are free to leave that church. Why? Because God sees you…Love sees you… and you are important.