Or anyone in leadership at your church, but especially your pastor.
‘Cause it will happen. You will not find a pastor or church with whom you completely and totally see eye-to-eye. If you think you do, you probably just don’t know what it is you disagree about yet.
I’ve been at my church for about five years. I’ve been on staff for a couple years now. It changes things. Sometimes for the better, sometimes it just makes things more difficult. One thing that changes (and whether it’s for better or worse depends on your people) is seeing the leadership and the pastor “behind the scenes.” On Monday.
And that has changed how I deal with disagreements. And it seems to be working a lot better, so I thought I’d share. Whether it’s instrumentation on the worship team, theology, mission statements, people selected for leadership, where the coffee beans come from … this might help you.
Shut up. Seriously, don’t tell anyone just yet. Several reasons: (1) It’s gossip and it’s not Matthew 18. (2) If you’re wrong, it’ll save you from looking like a doofus in the near future. (3) You need to wait until you’re not frustrated or angry to talk to even the right person anyway.
Don’t stop going to church. Remember that Divide And Conquer is the oldest play in the book, and that wolves tend to separate a sheep from the flock to take it down. Don’t give way to offense, and don’t let it become an excuse for your own spiritual anemia (and that of your family).
Pray. In. Humility. This part is key. The whole of your prayer on the issue should not be focused on the leader you disagree with, and it should not be your singular request that the Holy Spirit open the blind eyes of said leader to his or her heathenistic ways.
Instead, ask Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to whomever needs to see it. Ask that, if leadership is right, your heart be softened, your agendas exposed so you can repent of them, and your eyes opened. Then ask that if you are right, Holy Spirit would speak to that leader and convict or guide him or her as needed.
Honestly, you’ll probably never get this far. I’m typing this paragraph to humor you. If nothing changes after weeks or months of prayer (not hours or days) and if – in total humility, submission, and the fear of the Lord – you feel something must be said, read Matthew 18 and do it that way.
If you pray in sincerity and speak in love, and nothing changes – pray some more. It is unlikely that it is some sort of sign that you should leave that congregation. (If this is the next thing in a long line of issues you have with the leadership, then, by all means find a local church that better suits you.)
You might be surprised how often your disagreement is settled at Step 3.
We like to think, in these seasons, that we have been placed in a particular congregation to reform it or root out some evil. But that’s not generally how God works. That’s arrogance. God raises up leaders; the devil raises up cancers. We need to remember that all authority comes from God, that even when David knew he was the next king over Israel he did not allow his men to harm King Saul – “God’s elect.”
God promotes men and gives them the vision and the Spiritual giftings to carry out their tasks. If you support the vision that God has given your pastor for a local church, then support it – even if you don’t love one detail. If you can’t, go find one you can.