Pastors make many, many decisions every day. And, in a fast-paced ministry organization, decisions can be made that cause a person to question whether or not the Pastor has your interest at heart. After all, he would never have made the choice he made if he really cared about what you, right?
You’ve got two choices. You can get mad, swell up like a toad frog, and update your resume, or you can assume the best and move forward with your responsibility.
Below I’ve shared a few points that Dr. Jim Futral shared with me while we were serving together at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison, Mississippi. I’ve never forgotten these “nuggets of gold” about developing a trust relationship with my leader. Here goes:
When it feels like your Pastor has let you down you should…
…Choose to not take his decision personally. Sure, his choice may have had a negative impact on something you had planned to do. But, you do not have to assume he intentionally was trying to thwart your cause. More than likely, the impact on you never crossed his mind.
…Assume there is something he knows that he can’t tell you. Very often your Pastor will have information that you don’t have and can’t share with you. It might be something he has been asked to keep in confidence or something so sensitive in nature it would be inappropriate to share. Regardless of the reason, he may know something that totally changes the dynamic of the decision that was made. You can choose to assume that if you knew what he knew you would understand his decision.
…Assume there is something he doesn’t know. It may very well be that if he had your perspective, he would have made a different decision. But, that’s just it – he may not have had your perspective when the decision was made. That’s why communication with your Pastor is so critically important. When he chooses a direction that seems to go against what you need him to choose, you can assume he doesn’t have the full picture that you have. Then, commit yourself to giving him better information that will help him with future decisions.
…Assume God is working through your leader and giving him the direction that led him to this decision. Your leader is praying for God’s leadership in his life – and you are praying the same thing for your leader, right? Choose to believe that God could be answering those prayers in the decision he just made. Have the personal discipline to evaluate the decision from the perspective that God may well have led him to it.
In every case it is important that you “lead up” well by keeping your lines of communication open and by asking great questions of your Pastor. Usually when we are wounded, we withdraw and shut down. But if you isolate yourself from your leader when you don’t understand his direction, the misunderstanding will grow and lead to more problems.
Do you know the simple way to say all this? Give your Pastor the benefit of the doubt when you don’t understand what he is doing. And, don’t give the enemy a single inch of opening by allowing misunderstanding to undermine your relationship with your leader.
It is not important that you always agree with your Pastor. But it is vitally important that you lead in unity that comes from trust. Ask God to help you trust your leader even when you don’t understand him.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.