How to ensure your pastor stays in the Slough of Despond

UnknownSo you want your pastor to stay humble.  You want to make sure he doesn’t get ideas above his station but keeps his feet firmly anchored on the ground.  Here’s how to do it:

  1. Contrast and compare him unfavourably to your preaching heroes past and present.  Obviously it’s your job as a church member to ensure that your pastor doesn’t get too full of himself.  So at the door suggest a few good sermons you’ve heard recently from the likes of Tim Keller, John Piper, Hugh Palmer, Paul Washer et al that were better than what he has just preached.  Suggest he emails the congregation a link to those sermons, just so they get the most from the passage possible.
  2. Phone him regularly in the evening and on his day off.  Of course you’ll always preface your response with “I know it’s your day/evening off but…”  If it’s something that could have waited all the better.  That’ll make sure he knows who calls the shots.
  3. “You only work one day a week.”  This old chestnut is bound to make sure he knows who has the real job and works real hours, it’s best followed up with a laugh, that way it looks like you’re joking, but he’ll know there’s a ring of truth to it.
  4. Convey your boredom during the sermon.  There are lots of ways to do this, slouch down in your chair with your shoulders slumped, count the ceiling tiles, or find animal shapes in whatever wood or stone there is in the building.  Avoid eye contact at all costs.  Close your bible before he starts to preach.  Use your phone to tweet or repost meme or gifs whilst he’d preaching, and make it obvious that’s what you’re doing, either by posting it in his timeline, or through your facial responses.  If you can distract others even better.
  5. Attend sporadically.  If encouragement begins with attendance, discouragement 101 is non-attendance, but not too much.  Be there on Sunday morning once a month, just enough so he knows you’re one of his sheep he must care for, but not enough that he can count on you, or that you benefit from any consistent ministry.
  6. Prescreen any compliment you are reluctantly giving him with the phrase “I wasn’t going to say this because I don’t want you to get big headed but…”    That way you feel like you’ve encouraged him, but the fist in the velvet glove ensures he doesn’t get ideas above his station.
  7. Ensure he doesn’t have enough time to prepare.  Phone him with questions that don’t really need answering, or just to “let him know about” something you fear is coming up.  Do it regularly, it’s best to ring, wait ten minutes then ring again so he doesn’t get too into his preparation.  Or alternately get him so busy in every single ministry of the church that he’s totally distracted from preparation and study so that unlike the Apostles in Acts 6 he spends more time waiting tables that preaching and praying.  If he’s not at something let him know you noticed, with a frown!
  8. Don’t pray with the Church.  Living out the gospel in community is a spiritual battle.  So if you want to discourage your leaders don’t engage in it.  Don’t pray with them or for them, make it abundantly clear that’s what you pay them for.  It’s their responsibility.
  9. Criticise his kids and his wife.  Timothy and Titus both say elders must manage their households well.  Make sure your pastor knows every time his kids step out of line.  Express surprise when they are children rather than mini-theologians on step perfect parade.  Make the pastor aware of how you don’t pay his wife but you did expect a bit more from her if you’re honest.
  10. Create disunity.  Stir up as much trouble as you can in the church.  The church meeting is a great time to do this.  Make abundantly clear how much better this all should have been communicated.  Sigh at those you disagree with, loudly.  Walk out if you don’t get your way.  It always works better if you canvas opinion beforehand and try to win a few people to your side.  Alternately if that doesn’t work there’s always the CC button on email with the whole church directory copied into your stinging email of criticism of somebody.

If you regularly do all those then your pastor will never get ideas above his station.  He’ll stay bogged down in the slough of despond.

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