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Christian leaders, this is what your people want you to get....

I recently was asked to give a presentation to a group of pastors and Christian leaders on the topic above. First, I assured them that I do not encourage people to complain about their pastors! Having said that, the subject of church comes up regularly. Here are some common themes I've heard in 40 years of ministry, across the whole swath of evangelicaldom. We pastors and leaders should talk about these matters openly and constructively so we can become more effective and godly leaders. Do your study, and you will see that all these concerns are biblical ones.

Note first a foundational truth that ought to be obvious, but leaders easily forget. Before leaders are chosen to lead (by whatever means, to any role or office) they are “brothers” or “sisters” to every other church member. After they become leaders, they do not leave that relationship behind them! Certainly, God has given them particular callings, but at the core, they are still brothers and sisters. That’s why all the New Testament “one another” commands apply to all their relationships. In fact, they apply in a heightened and intensified way because leaders are models for the entire flock.

With that in mind...

"Pastor / leader-- this is what we want you to understand...."

1. We want you to lead with humility, not selfish pride.

No self-centered ambition! No empty self-glory. Rather, esteem each other above yourselves.... (Phil 2:3, my translation)

Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. Proverbs 18:12 (ESV)

2. We want you to give us the hope of the Gospel, not just tell us what to do and not do.

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2 (ESV)

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?....And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV)

3. We want you to communicate clearly with us so that we understand and trust what you are doing and why you are doing it.

(Lady Wisdom speaking): All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverted in them. They are all straightforward to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge. Proverbs 8:8-9 (ESV)

Do not let any rotten word come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their need, that it might give grace to those who hear. Ephesian 4:29 (my trans.)

4. We want you to listen carefully to our concerns, to value them, and to integrate them into your decision-making process.

Rather, esteem each other above yourselves, not focusing just on your own interests, but also the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 (my trans.)

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 1 Corinthians 12:21 (ESV)

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