The eye cannot tell the hand I don’t need you! And we, as pastors, are placed in towns and cities with other pastors. They don’t go to your church, they don’t think like you think, they have different ideas than you, your church doesn’t look like their church. Sometimes people who you rely on walk out of your church into theirs! Sometimes people they rely on walk out of their church into yours!
We need to be cordial with these people, and not be pastors behaving badly regarding other pastors. I am not saying all these other pastors will or even can be your best friends, you are unique and doing your thing. In fact, I tend to stay away from local pastor’s gatherings for several reasons:
- It is not a good use of my time. Those kind of meetings rarely generate useful ideas or plans to help do what the Lord has called me to do.
- Often there is a lot of conflict in those meetings, pastors can despise other pastors, disregard them, and they are always wary of the new kid on the block! They want to suss you out, and it’s not a nice experience.
- You get to avoid a whole bunch of interchurch politics.
- You get to spend time before God and finding out what God wants you to do rather than copying others!
- A lot of times these gatherings are run under the banner of a control freak of a pastor who thinks all churches in the town are really accountable to him and should do things his way, sometimes even asking for money from the other churches in town!
You are a unique individual and if you are called to your town, then you do not need anyone else to approve or validate your call. If you are part of a movement or denomination, you should be drawing from there more than anywhere else. They opened the door for your ministry and you must honour that and never forget that, not someone who just happens to be closer!
There is a case for these meetings, if you can get the input and ideas of others and learn more about your city from pastors, but this rarely happens, I hate to say. However, we still need to be delicate when it comes to relating to local ministers. We need to not be the badly behaving pastors in our town and we can do that in several ways:
- Never ever use your pulpit to speak evil of any minister or churc hin your town. If you speak about them, remember what Nana used to say: if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything. Remember what Paul used to say to a pastor: speak evil of no man (Titus 3.2)
- If you need to deal with a practise or teaching in another church that is infecting your church, one that is not encouraging people to walk in victory, is not Biblical or just plain bizarre, address the issue and compare it to the Bible, there is no need to name names.
- Do not mock or make jokes about other churches or ministers in your church, it will be taken the wrong way by someone.
You need to be like David – don’t kill Saul! If you kill Saul, that’s how other people will treat you. If you get down in the mud for others, they will get down in the mud for you. David acted terribly as king – he failed so badly, and impregnated Bathsheda, murdered Uriah, but hie men never thought “kill him and take the kingship” – why? Because he built that into them. If you never get dirty with others, you build it into your culture and if you fall in the mud your people will not kick you while you are down.
Now as a pastor you must expose your people to other ministry gifts, you must invite evangelists, prophets, teachers to your church to equip your people. Never be insecure, you are still the pastor, you are still the father of the house, but people need the full fivefold to help them grow. Here are some things about guest ministers you must realize:
- If you are not confident in another minister coming and not sure what they might say or do, do not invite them. Do not let people use your church to start a church near them. We had a group of missionaries want to come to our church to do a short-term mission, and someone asked if I would take them. This person was not normally keen on our church and my radar went off, and I did some research, turns out the missionaries wanted to start a church in London and lacked both the integrity to tell us honestly their purpose and not try and rip our church apart to build theirs. So that did not happen! Do not invite anyone who is looking to build their mailing list from your people!
- Respect your visiting ministers. I will do a whole blog post on this in the future, it’s so important. So many churches and ministries do not have a clue how to respect visiting ministers, and it is tragic. Invite them with honour, treat them with honour when they are with you and give them an honourarium that is full of honour!
Hope this helps you all!