Lesson 3

The third lesson I've learned from my time at my last church is that people that don't agree with a pastor's decisions are not to be feared. In this and other churches I've been a part of, pastors have been quick to brush aside and marginalize those who question their judgment.

Now I realize that there are some people out there that will never be satisfied with a particular pastor, no matter what happens. These ungodly church makers continually sow disunity and gossip, and we know how hard-to-get-along-with these people can be. I'm sure these people exist. I've heard stories. I just haven't met very many of them. Maybe thats just because I'm not a pastor yet and I'll be singing a different song in a year or two. But right now, I remain convinced that most people that disagree with the leadership of a church really have the best interest of the church in mind.

So what should happen when a pastor has a significant part of his congregation that disagrees with the direction he wants to go with a church? In my thinking he has two primary options.

First, he can meet with those who disagree and spend more time trying to convince them his direction is best. This includes listening to the concerns of the dissenters and convincing them their concerns will be addressed sufficiently. In this, the pastor brings on board those who were perviously opposed to his leadership.

Second, if this group cannot be convinced their concerns will be addressed sufficiently, the pastor has left the option of revising his original plan and compromising with those who disagree with him. This also has the effect of unifying the church behind a common vision.

I do not see pushing an agenda through a church as an option. Maintaining unity in purpose and action is one of the jobs of a pastor. Even if, in the end, there is still a small (5-15%) group that disagrees with the direction, that group should be respected and not marginalized because they have honest disagreements. Thats my 3 cents anyways.
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