Character Matters 05 The Golden Rule

Jesus said very clearly that whatever you want people to do to you, you should do also to them (Matthew 7.12). The Passion Translation reads: be careful to treat others in the same way you’d want them to treat you.

That is a standard of character that we all should be keeping to as an absolute minimum. The Nigerians have a proverb: before you stab a bird with a stick, stab yourself, then you will know how it feels to be stabbed with that stick. Godly character involves thinking about how your actions and behaviour as a leader affects other people and their feelings.

We have had to deal with a leader recently who was talking about other leaders behind their back, that was someone who did not consider what it would feel like to have the stick in themselves at all. Even the most basic level of forethought would have made them realize that it is very unpleasant to have people you thought you trusted talk about you behind their back. That person showed a true lack of character.

Character involves thinking about how your actions affect others by considering how you would feel if you were in the same position. As Christian leaders, we need to think about these things and consider others. That is part of being a loving leader. And it is an easy way to consider your actions. You ask yourself before doing something: would I want to be treated that way? We all want to be treated well, so it is an easy way to understand what is the right thing to do in a situation.

There was a pastor who treated me very badly once. They told some people I was a poor man with a small church and not worthy of respect, they lied about me and treated me bad. They thought because our church income was less than ours they could treat me badly. Now, over the years, Tree of Life has grown considerably, and we are larger and much richer than he is. So, I treat him with respect and kindness. I am not treating him how he treated me, that is not character. I am treating him how I would want to be treated. That is what I am talking about.

We often treat people badly because they are not like us, don’t agree with us, or are different from us. That is not the standard people set. You do not treat people according to their income, their talent, their background, their lifestyle. We treat people one way – the way WE WANT TO BE TREATED.

A new person comes to your church? Treat them the way we want to be treated. Have to stand down an elder because of immorality? Stand them down the way you would want to be stood down, with dignity and kindness. Teaching someone a doctrine they are just not getting? Teach them the way you would want to be taught. Having an argument with your wife? Argue the way you would want to be argued with. This principle in Matthew 7.12 can bring you to a place of expressing character in any situation.

You see a lot of people think doing the right thing is hard, it’s not – you do not have to study philosophy, read the whole Bible, pray in tongues for hours – you just have to think – how would I want to be treated if I was in this situation, and treat the other person the same way.

As a leader sometimes you do not know where to go next – well, this is like north. You can always use this principle as a compass to find out what to do next.

Character for Leaders 04 Be Honest!

You need to be honest to have character, and you need to start off by being honest with yourself. The hardest people to pastor and lead are the people who are lying to themselves.

We have had to deal with leaders before who are not honest with themselves, and it always comes out, they stop being honest with others before long. This is one of the easiest way to destroy your influence – be dishonest. Because when people cannot trust you, they cannot follow you. It really is that simple.

Do not be dishonest. Do not say I am always a good person if you have issues you are dealing with, but look in the mirror and say “In the spirit, I am righteous, and I am going to work out my salvation and end up living righteous, I am going to deal with this problem”. I have had to deal with people with huge problems, but they will look me in the eye and say “it’s not a big deal” – a lie they have told themselves hundreds of times before they tell it to me!

Most Christians are trying to live right, but the truth is that a lot of us struggle to live right when it becomes inconvenient to do so. Sometimes doing the right thing can really upset people. Self-discipline is hard, church discipline can upset people so much. Every time I correct someone in the church, I am aware it might be the last conversation I have with them, and next week they suddenly feel “led of the Spirit” to go to another church, or go to Bible College and never go to church, or some other crazy idea that came from their own flesh. They know it is the flesh, but they lie to themselves, justify their flesh rather than subdue it.

We cannot be like that – we have to live for God. Most Christians think living for God is optional, until they meet another Christian who is not living for God and their behaviour directly affects them.

Make a decision today to be an honest person, and most importantly be honest with yourself.

Character for Leaders 03 Character Matters Everywhere

There has been a sort of understanding across the world that character is just for your personal life. It’s got nothing to do with ministry, business or politics. But that’s absolute rubbish.

A lot of the crisis in business today is a crisis of credibility due to a crisis of character. Students are cheating in tests, people lie at work, cheat on their taxes, steal office supplies and they get upset their corporation tells lies to them! The same politician who lies to his wife will lie to the country.

We need to realize that having character is essential in every single area of life. And it’s not just for other people – you have to work on your character.

I want to have good character and I believe that you want to as well, and I want you to know that you can have good character and still win in ministry, business and life. It really breaks my heart to see ministers take short cuts, verbally abuse other ministries to get ahead, play games to get ahead, copy other churches rather than seek the Lord, cosy up to larger ministries to gain advantages. It’s tragic.

Just live for God, live with character and integrity and do what is right. You cannot be long term rich and successful without character. You cannot grow a church without character. You can go from church to church, spout your sermon, but you cannot have lasting fruit without character and integrity, without walking with the Lord.

You can fool people for a season, but in the long term, a lack of character will catch up to you. In the short term doing the right thing can look like a loss, but eventually it will not.

Proverbs 4 in the Passion Translation:

16For troublemakers are restless if they are not involved in evil.

They are not satisfied until they have brought someone harm.

17They feed on darkness and drink

until they’re drunk on the wine of wickedness. 

18But the lovers of God walk on the highway of light, 

and their way shines brighter and brighter

until the perfect day.

19But the wicked walk in thick darkness,

like those who travel in fog,

and yet don’t have a clue why they keep stumbling!

Character for Leaders 02 There is No Victory Without Character

So many people think a win is measured in numbers and finances! Now we love more people coming to Tree of Life because we know we disciple them. We love having more money because we spend it on advancing the kingdom. But all the people and money in the world won’t matter if we do not have character. The best preacher in the world is not in victory if he lacks character. We have seen people lose their ministry if they have no character.

Now I don’t know about you – but I hate losing. I want to win – and if the only way to win is through character – then I am working on character.

You cannot succeed in ministry, in business, in family, in life, in media without character. A lack of character is like building a building with no foundation, it might look beautiful with all those short-cuts you have taken but it will fall down eventually, and probably sooner than you think.

It is a lie that the good guys finish last – immorality is a costly thing to invest in, it will cost you. If you choose not to invest in character, you will lose everything else. It’s that simple.

Some people – even pastors and travelling ministers – think that they can succeed anyway possible, by hook or by crook. I have seen terrible behaviour from some guest speakers. I got a phone call the other day threatening me with judgment if I did not let someone preach in our church. That doesn’t work with me. And these people will fail.

The thing you need to realize and understand and appreciate is this: if you have to make the choice for character and it looks like a losing choice, you will in fact win. If you make a choice to take a short-cut because it looks like a winning choice – you will lose.


Character for Leaders 01 Leaders Need More Character

A lot of people are fed up of leaders for one reason – their lack of character. Politicians lie and break the very rules they make. Business CEOs are dishonest and deal without ethics. Sportsmen cheat, paying judges, taking illegal substances, and so on – not to mention their character off the pitch or field! Pastors fall, in the very sins they preach against, manipulating and taking advantage of the people in their churches. When these things happen, it unsettles us, it upsets us. When it hits home to us, and where we work, and our church, and so on, it can really hurt.

Nothing affects your leadership more than your character, and nothing is more important for you as a leader than to work on your character. Large companies can have their stock price plummet if their leader is exposed as untrustworthy, and ministers can lose their entire ministry.

People no longer trust leaders in any sphere of life and we have an uphill battle to ensure we are trusted – and the secret key is character.

The biggest reason that leaders lack character is in my opinion laziness. When peope have a difficult choice, they just pick the easy path, the quickest way, the short-cut. I have seen pastors do things to grow their churches that are unethical but they are unwilling to do the right thing. Never cut a corner if it is wrong, do not tell yourself it is just this once. It’s laziness that undermines our character. We fold under pressure and take the lazy way.

We cheat in exams because it is easier than studying. We steal someone else’s ministry because it is easier than building one ourselves. We lie to get someone to hate someone, because it is easier than telling the truth. We gossip because it is an easy way to make friends and build a power base.

Doing things right is hard work. It takes effort and energy. That’s the way forward.

I know so many pastors have lost their way taking the easy route. I know Bible Colleges who rather than build ministers who plant churches who then have people who need to go to Bible College, just send students to my churches to try and persuade them they need a Bible College when I am planting churches at a far faster rate than they are, and raising leaders more effectively. It’s just laziness. It will never work. It’s the same heart and lack of moral fibre that starts pyramid schemes to get rich rather than doing prosperity God’s way.

Doing what God wants is hard. It takes time and pressure, and there are always short-cuts. Always ways of doing things that are wrong, and the reason why people do is laziness. Rather than shine and earn respect so that people follow you, it is much easier to whisper about another leader behind their back. Rather than start a church in a town where the gospel is not well known, you start a church across the road where you used to go and you contact all your old friends and beg them to come.

Biblical Leaders 02: Abraham

God's Covenant With Abraham | Bible Message

Last week we looked at leadership lessons from Noah, today we skip forward to a remarkable leader, Abraham. He started the Jewish nation and religion, and was a man of remarkable faith in God. He took a long time to get to the point where He fully trusted God, but eventually He found out you can trust God.

Abraham is the father of all those who believe (Romans 4.16) so one of the main aspects of his leadership that we can all learn from is that we can trust God. We have faith in God when we find out that God is faithful. We can trust God.

Abraham had several moments in his life where it looks like God could not be trusted, there was time between God’s promises being spoken and being fulfilled, a long time. When there is time between seed and harvest, we end up like children waiting for Christmas – if it does not happen tomorrow we don’t believe it. The fallen man is not good at waiting for things. Abraham got impatient with God and decided to try and do things his way.

You Can Trust God When Things Take a Long Time

Abraham I think took the step that I have seen many take – from IMPATIENCE to SELF-PITY. It takes a long time to build a church, and I have seen pastors get impatient for growth step into self-pity. When you get into self-pity, you compromise, you start to lick your wounds, you play the victim card, then you use that fact that life is so hard as an excuse to do what you want.

“I’ve left my father’s house for you, God, I’ve left my country because you said you would bless me and my children, I’ve been through famine, I’ve got Pharaoh chasing my life, Lot is an idiot – but I still risked my life to rescue him, but I still have no baby.. and God that’s on you”. So he went and had a baby with his maidservant.

We have to be careful not to step into self-pity while waiting for God’s promises to come to pass, while waiting for our harvest to come in.

God knew that and told Abraham that He was His shield, and then in the middle of this God made a covenant with Abraham, but still Abraham did things his way because he didn’t get his way with the timing.

One of the lessons we can learn from Abraham (and that is better than learning it the hard way) is that a promise delayed is never a promise denied. God is in no rush – His sense of time, maybe because He has been around for all eternity, does not match ours. We think it is a long time but God still comes through. Now we can delay things by our unbelief and rebellion, but even when we are in exactly the right place, doing the right thing, it might take some time still. You cannot build a million pounds overnight, you cannot build a healthy, thriving church overnight, things take time!

You Can Trust God Even When He Does Not Trust You!

There were times where it would have been hard to trust Abraham! He lied about his wife being his sister, not once by twice. He slept with his maidservant. He took Lot with him when God said leave your family behind. But God still came through for Abraham when Abraham was not coming through for God.

This is powerful – God will come through for you, even when you do not come through for Him. God can be trusted, even when you cannot. You do not need to be perfect, you just need to know God is. Your deliverance, healing, success, your ministerial success, is due to God’s faithfulness, not yours. You will not be a successful leader by trusting yourself, you will be a successful leader by trusting God.

I’m sure, like you and like me, Abraham was aware that he was not perfect. I’m sure he thought “why on earth would God call me and bless me, how on earth can I help God” – but he was not perfect, and nor are you, and that’s not the point, walk with God, trust Him, and let Him change your heart!

You Can Trust God When It is Irrational

There was a moment in Abraham’s life where God spoke to him and asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac. You cannot make sense of this on a rational level – it does not make sense, it goes against God’s promise to make his family into a great nation. But Abraham did not ration it out, he did not demand God make sense to his peanut, carnal brain – no, he got up early the next morning and just did what God said. Finally, after years of arguing with God, trying to do things his own way, negotiating, lying – Abraham reached, over time, a level of trust in God, and realized how good God is. He had tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and he believed God and did what God said. Did it work – yes, it did. He got a revelation of God’s character – Jehovah-Jireh – that no one had ever realized or seen before. He got his son, and he became the father of a great multitude. There is no better way to live, and no better lesson in leadership to learn from Abraham than if God says it, get up early the next morning and go do it with all of your heart.

Biblical Leaders 01: Noah

The Bible is full of examples of great leaders. People who made a difference in the lives of others, who influenced people, who changed lives, communities, and nations. But when we start with Noah we start with a man who changed the world. Without Noah, you would not even be here right now. No human would. The flood would have destroyed us all. The world would be all fish! Now, that’s leadership!

He lived 950 years, but even then he packed more into it than most of us would have done given that chance! He lived in the wickedest generation there had ever been in all of history, but rather than go with the flow, he followed God and walked with God and “found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6.8).

So, our first lesson from Noah is that he walked to the beat of a different drum. He was not the same as everyone else. He did not share in the wickedness of the world. This is one of the essential keys to leadership – to not be running with the crowd. Paul told the Corinthian church that He thanked God that He prayed in tongues more than all of them. Someone had to lead the Corinthian church out of all their selfish and foolish misuse of the gifts of the Spirit, and it wasn’t someone who only prayed in tongues on Sunday when the music was just right. No it was the person who prayed in tongues the most. It was the one who was different who led, not the one who was the same. We have to be different to this wicked world, and we have to stand out to lead. Do not worry about being fanatical about the Word, about praying in tongues, about developing your character. That is what marks you as a leader. God was looking for a man, and God found Noah, the man who was different.

Never be afraid to be different. Never be afraid to be the only one doing what you do. If no-one else lives for God, live for you. If no one else prays. pray. If no one else turns up on time for church, turn up on time for church. If no one else tithes, tithe. You do it because it is right – make the right choice.

All our influence as leaders comes from the choices we make. We need to choose God, choose to pray, choose to live right no matter what society is doing, we need to choose to study the Word, to build what God tells us to build. God is looking for people who will walk with Him. Noah was making decisions in his own life, simple choices to obey God, and through that became a leader that changed the whole world, and we are still talking about him today.

Our second lesson from Noah is do not be afraid to do something that no one else has done. No one has ever built a boat on dry land, no one ever built an ark like that, no one had ever preached about a coming worldwide flood. People could not even have that immense image, but Noah did and he preached it and taught it. Do not be afraid to do what God has called you to do, do not let “it’s never been done that way before” stop you ever!

A third thing we learn about Noah is he impacted his family. His children came on the ark with him. He made a difference in his family. When you live a life that is different from the world, a life before God, your family will notice. God chose Noah to build the ark because Noah was a man of faith, but Noah’s building of faith did not just benefit him. It benefitted all his family too. When you do what is right, your whole family will be better off.

A fourth thing we find out about Noah is that his faith benefitted future generations. I have just been reading some books by Kenneth Hagin. I never met him, he passed in 2003, and I never had the opportunity to have heard him preach. But some of my closest friends and mentors were mentored by him, his books and videos have changed my whole life. That’s a generational legacy. Maybe no one has the generational legacy of Noah because he literally saved the human race, but he actually did even more than that. After the flood, he introduced laws and shared about the truth and his story has influenced people from children to adults for generations to stand for God, to build what we are told and to trust His love. We are all links in a chain, so be a good link!

Dealing With Actors 07: Breaking Over-Familiarity

Over the last few weeks, we have looked at a particular type of actor you may find in your church (or business or ministry, etc). We have looked at people who are pretending to be your friend, and we have called this kind of pretending over-familiarity. We found out that this kind of pretending, a form of friendship to a leader with no corresponding respect, led to Jesus Himself being unable to work miracles.

When we all want to have miracle ministries, we must therefore learn not just to recognize but we must learn about how to handle over-familiarity. Here are five ways to help you as a pastor handle people who are over-familiar.

  1. REBUKE OR RETRAIN THE PERSON. When Peter was over-familiar with Jesus to the point he tried to correct Jesus about the plan of salvation, and tell Jesus what God’s will for Jesus’ life is, Jesus looked him in the eye, and immediately said “Get behind me, Satan”. Peter had reached a place where he lost his respect for Jesus, he got presumptuous and was in a bad place. Had Jesus not dealt with this, Peter would have lost his destiny and ministry. Imagine thinking because you were Jesus’ friend you now have the right to correct Jesus and tell him what to do. That’s not divine order at all. Imagine reaching a place where you felt you could say “Hey Jesus, that’s a bad plan, let me tell you a better plan”. That’s a tragic place to be. I have had people tell me Heal the Nations was a bad idea, that I should not travel overseas to minister, that I should not give away so much money. These are all things that God Himself told me to do. I had a pastor once, one that I promoted and platformed tell me I was not allowed to plant another church unless I had run it by him! Over-familiarity. Wendell Parr once told me I needed to take care as I was so friendly that people around me would presume over-familiarity with me. Now I have never called someone satan, but there have been a few times I have had to rebuke people right there and then.

    Now it’s easier when you can retrain people rather than rebuke them, and training about this is important. Remember people are destroyed by what they do not know, so teaching on this will help people how to win and deal with this temptation.

    You need to teach people never to presume on privileges and never ever to complain about privileges. Pastors and elders should not be behaving like spoiled children whining that their brother got a better Christmas present than they did. I have met spoiled pastors whining that another pastor gets more privilege than them! Children in the pulpit! Try being grateful! I had an elder once phone me up and whine and moan that they were not getting to preach more – I thought if I let them preach they would just whine and moan from the pulpit, that’s not going to feed the people. I tried to explain what kind of attitudes would lead to me giving them the pulpit, but they suddenly felt “led of the Lord” to leave our church!
  2. REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THE PEOPLE. Obviously if it is your church that’s not possible. You need to rebuke and retrain them, and quickly. But as a travelling preacher, I have been to churches where they have treated me terribly. I don’t go back, life is too short and there are so many places that really like me and what I do. If you go back to Mark 6, when the synagogue in Nazareth was over-familiar with Jesus, He went out of Nazareth and went and preached elsewhere. One of my biggest mistakes in my life is not doing this quicker. Now if your ministry is young and you are new to it, I recommend going everywhere you are invited, because no matter how badly you are treated, you need experience in ministry and it’s all experience. But when you get to the place where you can make choices, choose the people who actually like you. I actually thought I had to minister in places where I was utterly unappreciated (generally due to over-familiarity and envy) to make me humble. Thankfully God set me free, and I now spend my life preaching in places that love to have me there. I’ve got to the point where I have been prepared to remove a whole church from the Tree of Life Family because they are not honouring me.
  3. REWARD YOURSELF. This one might be the most controversial, but read the Bible! Jesus was happy to ride a donkey into town when His disciples had to walk. Jesus could have afforded a dozen donkeys easily enough. He was happy to have a snooze in the back of the boat when the disciples are rowing (not rowing, rowing). Sometimes as the leader, you need to distinguish yourself from the people who are following you, especially when you are a leader of leaders because you cannot afford to get into over-familiarity. Do not be ashamed to reward yourself and distinguish yourself. It might save your disciples from being over-familiar. There is of course a balance to this, but most people in the UK are on the side of not distinguishing themselves enough.
  4. REARRANGE THINGS. One thing I have found is that the over-familiar do not like changes, they like comfort. If things are in the same routine, they feel as comfortable as you do and they can ignore the fact that you are the one God has called to lead. So, mix it up. Get up after the first song and lead the congregation into a time of singing in the Sprit. Preach on a totally different topic, take things in a new (but godly) direction.
  5. REMIND PEOPLE. The most important antidote to over-familiarity is gratitude. Stop getting upset that your lead pastor gets paid more than you as the youth pastor, be grateful you get paid to preach the gospel. Don’t get upset you haven’t got the pulpit, be grateful you have someone preaching the Word to you in such a powerful way. Don’t get upset your prophetic word was not allowed in the service, be grateful God speaks to you!

Dealing With Actors 06: Spotting Over-Familiarity

In our last two posts, we shared the dangers of over-familiarity. Over-familiarity is when someone acts like they are your friend, that they are intimate with you, but they only know surface things about you. Because of this, their friendship does not have the appropriate level of respect. An attitude like that stopped Jesus working miracles in Nazareth, so that it is vital that as a leader you learn to spot the signs. Both in yourself so you can make sure you receive your miracles, and in others so you can teach and train them so they can receive their miracles.

  1. When People Enter Into Discussions that are not their concern. Remember Peter actually rebuked Jesus for saying that He was going to die. Just because Jesus and Peter were close enough for Jesus to share this important information, did not mean Peter was at the level where he could rebuke Jesus for having the “wrong” plan of salvation. I have people comment on what I eat, my cat, my travel schedule. If people feel they can make comments on personal things without you asking their input, they are stepping into over-familiarity. Peter had one revelation. One good prophetic word, about who Jesus was. Jesus told Him “you got that straight from the Father”, and the praise went straight to Peter’s ego, who before that same conversation was over was correcting Jesus. (Leaders should be corrected, but not by the people who are working for them, not by the people they have raised up, and not by people pretending to be over-familiar!)
  2. Over-Familiar People Find Faults. They look at you on a natural level, so over time will make carnal judgments about you. In Nazareth they thought about Jesus’ family, brothers, sisters, and on a natural level “realized” he could do no mighty work, and guess what happened – they received nothing from Him. Being over-familiar becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of receiving nothing.
  3. Over-Familiar People Attract Fault-Finders. Always beware of the people in any church who all the grumblers and complainers are attracted to! Church does not need a union rep!
  4. Over-Familiar People Tell Rather than Ask.
  5. Over-Familiar People Presume they are Entitled to Your Privileges. We have people get up and start praying for people on Sunday like they are elders and were never given permission. They presume on privilege! That is a dangerous familiarity! We had a pastor recently change his title on his emails. He stopped using the title we gave him, and started using his own one. That is a dangerous level of presumption. He didn’t even ask once. If that kind of over-familiarity is not dealt with, it will grow into pride and rebellion. Anyone who resents you and your privilege can be tempted into over-familiarity.
  6. Over-Familiar People Are Never Thankful. They just feel entitled to be doing what they are doing. They never thank you for getting up early to write a message to help them. It is all about them.
  7. Over-Familiar People are Bored when you are Preaching. The people who fall asleep, yawn and watch their watch. They are over-familiar with you. I have never been stabbed in the back by someone who takes notes when I preach! If they get up and start talking to others while you are preaching, that’s a giant big sign.
  8. Over-Familiar People Are Rude. They just have no manners when talking to you, they are stroppy, immature and may storm off. They will also be rude to anyone you have given authority to – that is a real sign! When people raise their voice to you, they are not respecting their friendship with you.

Dealing with Actors 05: Who is Most Vulnerable to Familiarity

As a pastor or other leader, you have to recognize that certain groups of people are more vulnerable to over-familiarity. and help those people. Some people have a much greater tendency to over-familiar. There are five groups you need to be careful with, because none of us want to be in a place where we can do no mighty work!

  1. People Who Have Known You A Long Time. In Mark 6, the people who grew up with Jesus were over-familiar with Him. They thought they knew him, but could only see him as a carpenter and a boy from a family in their town. They did not see or know Him really, because they had no clue how anointed He was. They let their past image of him define who they thought he was and were over-familiar and that was a bad thing.
  2. People Who Know A Lot of Facts About You. The people knew Jesus was a carpenter, they knew his mum’s name, his brothers’ names. They knew him as their mates’ brother, the guy who built their shed, the boy who they saw at weddings and funerals and festivals. In other towns where people did not know those facts, Jesus could raise the dead and heal the sick and cast out devils. It’s strange that knowing facts leads to an over-familiarity, but it is true, people start to define you by facts not the call of God on your life.
  3. People Who Know Your Problems. Listen carefully, if you are a leader do not share your problems in public. You share them with your pastor, your mentor or your peers. Not your congregation. This sounds counter-intuitive, but you want to help people and pastor people – the more people know about your private discipleship, issues and just reality around you – the less they will be able to receive from you. I am not saying make yourself a mystery man, but speak life and not your problems if you want to have a miracle ministry!
  4. People Who Are Your Friends Can Be Tempted to Over-Familiarity. Pick your friends carefully, because friendship can expose over-familiarity. Jesus was friends with His disciples, and as pastors we should definitely be friends with our disciples, but we need to keep an eye on it. Jesus asked Peter a question once about what direction the ministry was going in – that’s a question you only ask safe people, that’s a question for friends. And Peter stepped out of line and tried to actually stop Jesus doing God’s will, so Jesus immediately rebuked him! Peter actually thought he had a better plan to reach the world than Jesus! Jesus knew not to let his friendship with Peter stop him doing God’s will or stop him being the leader. Selah!
  5. People Who Are Recently Promoted. New pastors often think they are at the same rank as other pastors and even the pastor who lay hands on them and commission them. That over-familiarity can cause them to stop listening. A little elevation and suddenly some people think they are equal to their leaders and pastors, and that will always end up in trouble. I have had to deal with that a few times – we appoint someone as an elder and they think they can now run the church and pastor us!