Over the years I’ve heard horror stories about how pastors have been mistreated by congregations or by factions within congregations. Before I became a pastor, I saw it firsthand at a church I was attending. I was horrified because I had grown up in the Roman Catholic Church in the 1950s where the priests were treated with the utmost respect (I’m not sure how it is today).
October is clergy appreciation month, so that might be a good time to show your appreciation to your pastor. A better way to show your appreciation is to not sit idly by when he or she is being mistreated by malcontents in the congregation. Don’t let these people, who want the church run THEIR way, to cause dissent. Such people cause conflict and disruption, and create a spirit of oppression. As a result such churches aren’t growing because any visitor to that church feels the oppression and will never come back.
People that dominate churches and make them their own little fiefdom aren’t following the teaching of Christ, who said in Matthew 20:25b-28:
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many." (NRSV)
If your church is disrupted by discontent, pray for it, stand up for your pastor, and don’t let these people dominate the life of the church. They aren’t following God’s will but their own selfish desires.