When Church Members Keep Second-Guessing Your Pastoral Decisions

What do pastors, politicians and major league coaches have in common? A whole lot of people who’ve never done their job are convinced they could do it better.

The less experience they have the more certain they are, because those who’ve actually done it know how hard it is.

I can’t speak to how it feels as a politician or coach to constantly be second-guessed by everyone who’s ever watched a game or (not) voted in an election, but I do know how pastors feel when we’re constantly criticized by people who don’t have enough information, but still give lots of advice.

In fact it may be harder on pastors because, unlike politicians and major league coaches, most of our critics aren’t strangers in the stands, they’re people we know very closely.

If this is something you’re experiencing as a pastor in your church today, let me offer a few words of comfort and advice.

6 Principles Healthy Churches Use To Deal With Conflict Well

Conflict is inevitable.

Even in a healthy marriage, family and church.

Like healthy marriages and families, healthy churches don’t avoid conflict, but they deal with it well.

I’ve been in pastoral ministry for more than 35 years. In the early days, I dealt with more conflict than in recent years. Not because the early churches were bad, but because I didn’t know how to deal with conflict as well as I do today.

Unfortunately, I learned how to deal with conflict the hard way – by making mistakes.

Through those mistakes, then through watching and learning from other churches who manage conflict well., I have landed on 6 principles that healthy churches use to deal with conflict well:

Leading A Church Through Difficult Times: A Lesson From “The Most Bombed Hotel In The World”

Leading a church is often a lesson in managing and overcoming frustration. Hopefully not all the time. But there are those seasons…

This week I’ve learned a great lesson about triumphing over extreme difficulty and frustration from a very unlikely source – a hotel my wife and I are staying at that’s known as “The Most Bombed Hotel In The World.”

If you Google that phrase (or click here where I’ve done it for you), you’ll find out a whole lot about the Hotel Europa. We’re staying here courtesy of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland who we’ve come to encourage this week.

The hotel hasn’t been bombed since 1994, and it’s a beautiful building in the heart of downtown Belfast. It’s an unexpected blessing to stay in such a nice hotel. And it’s always great to learn something new, too.

First, let me give you a little history of this hotel, then I’ll share what it can teach us about managing difficulties as church leaders.

Eight Ways to Deal with Control Freaks in the Small Church

Big churches tend to attract passive, anonymous audience members.

Small churches tend to attract control freaks.

Big church pastors are aware of the problem of anonymity, so healthy big churches work very hard at small groups.

It’s hard to be an anonymous audience member in a small church. But it’s much easier to exert your influence – sometimes in unhealthy ways. Often on governing boards, but not always.

Small pond, meet the big fish.

So what does the small church pastor do when we feel hindered by control freaks?

Here are eight principles that have helped our church get past those petty squabbles: