Forgotten Word Ministries
Light A Fire Under Your Pastor
By Coach Dave Daubenmire
March 13, 2008.
I never knew that I would hit such a nerve. I was merely verbalizing what I had experienced over the past eight years.
Because of my last commentary “…And The Pulpits Are Silent I almost had to get a new internet server to handle all of the emails that came flooding in. Not ONE….I’ll say that again….not one disagreed with what I wrote. Now I know that not all of the readers agreed with me, but it says something when even the dissenters are mute. They usually LOVE to take me to task….but they were strangely silent on this issue.
I could share with you copies of emails that I received, but I don’t want to take up the space. Suffice it to say that nearly all of them were hungry for Biblical leadership.
Here is a stern warning to pastors. Write it off if you like. The folks in the pew are greatly dissatisfied. I hear it when I speak in churches and I hear it every time I write a commentary. George Barna tells us that churches are hemorrhaging members and sadly, the leadership wants to blame the sheep. [http://www.barna.org:80/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdateNarrow&BarnaUpdateID=293]
A good coach never blames the players. The sheep are a reflection of the shepherd.
Pastors are coaches. They deal with people. Most successful coaches have a very firm set of fundamentals by which they operate. They are not running a popularity contest, they are leading a team. The best way to get your butt beat is to compromise on what you believe.
MANY have emailed me asking,
“What should we do, Coach? Our pastor won’t preach the hard truth anymore. It is all the “feel-good” stuff. We are dying of starvation.”
I am often accused of pointing out problems but rarely offering solutions. Well, you asked for it, so I will tell you what I think.
This is risky because the “Church of the Status Quo” and her apostles are sure to attack you. They will accuse you of “criticizing the local church” and “church bashing.” But you should love them enough to tell them the Truth. President Lincoln said,
“I do the best I know how; the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings us out wrong ten thousand angels swearing I was right will not make any difference."
Paul said it this way,
“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” [Galations 4:16]
My dad was a great guy but little things used to drive him crazy. One of the things that used to bug him the most was when he would come home from the factory in the winter and the fire in the fireplace was barely burning. He would grab the poker and turn to one of us and say,
“How many times do I have to tell you that you can’t lay a big log on top of the fire or you will smother it? A big log will only burn if there is a good base of hot coals burning underneath. You can’t start a fire with a big log.”
So here is the analogy. (I’m sure my dad never dreamed his words would go around the world.)
The pastor is the log and those sitting in the pews are the kindling…the little wood that sets the big log on fire. For too long we have tried to convince the big log that he needed to catch on fire. Every time a spark was lit he would roll over and smother the flame. “Wild fire” is one thing the big logs hate. The big logs want “natural-gas” fires that they can control the flame on.
“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." --Samuel Adams.
Okay, Mr. Kindling-Wood, you have a decision you are going to have to make. Are you sick and tired enough to come out of your comfort zone and begin to set little brush- fires? If you are not willing to make a stand then you have no reason to complain. It is time to stop waiting on the big log to set the rest of you on fire. As my friend Pete, once said, “Our leaders will never see the light until we turn up the heat.”
Here are a few things to do to change the temperature in your church. (Warning: You will be called all kinds of names by your “brothers in Christ.” They will say you are “sowing discord amongst the brethren….that you shouldn’t bring politics into the church, and the worse name of all, "a resister.”
You’re not sowing discord. You are asking questions. It is a church body….not a monarchy. Pastors deserve your respect, not blind allegiance.
1. Stop calling your elected officials and start calling your pastor. Every time you see something that your local church should be concerned about, call your pastor and ask him a very simple question: “Pastor, what is our church going to do about it?” His response will tell you a lot about him. Do it privately at first as the Scriptures teach.
2. Don’t let him “wiggle off of the hook.” Follow up in a day or two and see if he has progressed in his plan to oppose evil. Let him know that you have shared your concern with others in the congregation and that they are waiting to hear his response as well.
3. Tell him you have decided to go to the school board (as an example of an issue that you might have brought to him) and ask him if he will go with you.
4. Continue to email and hard copy him on information germane to the topic. Be persistent. Don’t let him say later that “he didn’t know.”
5. After a hard sermon, make sure that you let him know that you appreciate what he had to say. Then ask this, “Pastor, what can I do to help you fight this in our community?” (Be careful, he may start quaking but let him know you are serious.)
Note: You are creating a sense of accountability here. Demand that he walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Let him know you are expecting his leadership, as are others.
6. If he rarely preaches a hard sermon ask, "Pastor, I haven't heard a sermon on the sins of abortion, homosexuality, and pornography recently, but do you have one planned?” Let him know it is important to you and continue to bring it up. Write notes to him.
7. Ask him who he is voting for in the next election and why. If he is voting for a pro-abort, or homo-sympathizer point it out to him. If he says he doesn’t think he should share his personal political beliefs, please ask him why. It may be that he doesn't want to discuss it at church or in front of others, so take him out to lunch and "pin him down." Ask him if his personal beliefs are different from those he preaches. It is important to know what he believes.
8. Get your hands on CDs, DVDs, and books and begin to educate YOURSELF on what is going on. Be like the Bereans who checked things out for themselves [Acts 17:10-11].
9. Start a Bible Study in your home with like-minded folks. Ask the leadership to support it. You would think they would encourage the “assembling together of the saints” but usually, that means only where they can have you in a controlled environment. Leading a Bible Study will stretch you and make you more equipped to share your faith with others. This is a good thing. But, be warned that the pastor may try to turn it into a controlled "small group" that is more about building horizontal relationships among each other rather than a vertical relationship with God.
10. Withhold your tithe if he refuses to preach against sin – he may say something like, "I don't want to offend so-and-so." Tell your pastor that you are going to give your tithe money to a ministry that is preaching “the whole-counsel of God [Acts 20: 26,27] .” Follow the Biblical edict to “sow into good soil.” Many active ministries could use the help.
InPlainSite.org Note: This is not using your tithe as a “Bargaining Chip” as I heard one assistant pastor describe it. It IS a matter of NOT wasting your money on a person and/or church that is not preaching the whole counsel of God. In any case the tithe as presented in Scripture does not even remotely resemble what is being taught in modern churches today. Perhaps it is time Christians did an in-depth Scriptural study of Tithing.
11. If he doesn’t encourage his flock to carry Bibles to church, please ask him why. It may be that he wants to use several versions (possibly up on a screen) that can cause confusion. For example, Rick Warren, in his Purpose Driven book, selected verses from different versions to fit the scenario he needed to create. (A danger in not bringing your Bibles is that if the people in the pews cannot follow along, a pastor may someday introduce a New Age teaching that sounds biblical but few will catch it if they can't verify what he is teaching.)
12. Offer to start a “community watch-dog” ministry in the church to keep an eye on issues affecting Christians. Ask for his endorsement.
13. Offer to start a co-op for home educators and ask if the church would support you. If your pastor doesn't want to "offend the government school teachers" in his flock, then that is a red flag.
14. Ask him if Christians should vote for local school levies and why? Begin to share information about the dangers of public schools. (http://www.exodusmandate.org/ is a great place to start.)
15. Be prepared to leave your church. The answers that you get may not satisfy you. For the sake of your soul and the souls of your family find a church that is walking in the Truth.
It is time to turn up the heat. Those big logs will never burn until the kindling starts to glow red. Jesus warned us:
“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” [Rev. 3:16]
Accountability is a powerful tool.
Stop complaining about the lukewarm preaching. Put up or shut up. Light a fire and watch it spread. The big log will either catch your fire or roll on down the road! Snap, crackle, and pop. Dad would be proud of you. What do you think about this article?