Michael Hyatt recently posted an excellent article entitled, “Coaching your boss”. The principles it contains are important in a local congregation as well.
A pastor is not a boss, but since a pastor is usually THE leader in a congregation, the principles apply. It is all too common for people to be intimidated by the nature of a pastor’s job. That intimidation breeds fear of questioning, and that fear breeds unspoken discontent.
One of my biggest frustrations as a pastor is that many other pastors cower people into believing that questioning the pastor is paramount to grieving the Holy Spirit. Any kind of question is viewed as disloyalty and division. Personally, I would rather talk about a problem and try to see things from the other person’s perspective. (I have a hard enough time keeping my ego in check without people telling me I am wonderful to my face and then disagreeing behind closed doors.)
I have always valued those who have spoken their minds. It is important that pastors maintain an open door, and that people in a congregation walk through that door and speak into their lives – with the right attitude and intentions, of course.
One word of caution, however. Public forums are never the place to air differences with your pastor. If you have something to discuss, make an appointment and visit with him in private. Follow Hyatt’s suggestions and approach things properly. You might find out that the pastor shares your concerns, and together you can strengthen the congregation.