If you are a church leader or concerned lay-member that is looking to help a hurting leader or pastor in your church, this web site and this page in particular will be of help to you. There is much you can do, and your efforts will impact the entire congregation. You can be a catalyst for saving the health of the congregation and the pastoral team. We pray at SWM that you will be just that, and not a source of hurt and death to many people including your pastor.
Creating a Life-Giving Environment
A healthy church and a healthy leadership team lives in the tree of life. If you have not read all of our articles on the tree of life and the tree of life approach to ministry, please do so. This is one of the greatest keys you can learn and implement to have a healthy environment where everyone in the church can flourish.
Leadership teams that fight, churches that split, all have one thing in common. People are living, acting and reacting in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They gossip, accuse, point the finger at others including the pastor, and they speak death into the life of the congregation. Whiners, complainers, critics, know-it-alls and power-hungry manipulators are all in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
When you think, act and speak from the tree of life, you are promoting the flow of life from Christ into everyone around you. You are positive, encouraging, and supportive. Your church becomes a place people want to be, and they start to love one another rather than just talk about love. Where life is, real LIFE, flowing from Jesus through you and into other people, you will find everything working together for the good. People are willing to sacrifice. Chores get done, responsibilities are fulfilled. Encouragement flows instead of gossip. The sheep respect the shepherd, and the shepherd is inspired and motivated to work hard to feed the sheep.
Start with the Board
Once you really begin to understand tree of life living, you can start taking steps to create a life-giving environment for both pastor and church.
Let’s start with THE BOARD. I hope I don’t shock you, but let’s start by stating the obvious. A church governed and controlled by a board is unbiblical. Jesus never intended the sheep to rule over the shepherd. It is a humanistic idea imposed often by our modern democratic governments. It is a demoncratic idea that everyone have a say in how the church is run. It is not a Kingdom idea.
If your church has a board, make sure no one on the board lives and operates out of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they do, get them off the board a soon as possible. For the overall health of the church, every person in leadership needs to be living very obviously in the tree of life. If a board member is not, they need to be removed, and that applies to elder boards and deacon boards also, not just trustees.
If you have elders or deacons who do not live in the tree of life, work patiently with them, giving them one on one tutoring in the tree of life approach to the New Covenant. This transition must take place. If any elder or deacon remains in the tree of good and evil, he/she must gently be removed from their office. I cannot say it clearly enough, your leadership team must live in the tree of life. The leadership team must speak life to each other and every member of the church. Life must flow in the church, or the church will be ill. The spirit of death will still float about, making people wonder about and criticize the church and leadership. Each leader on your team in the tree of good and evil will be a cancer to the church.
The future appointments to boards must be tree of lifers only. Take much time and make sure the person deeply understands the tree of life and honestly lives there. You don’t need any lone-rangers, self-appointed experts, and judges-of-everyone, sitting on a board.
Work With Your Pastor
I will assume your pastor is under some type or level of stress, or you would not have found our web site. Help your pastor by giving him our web site, and set up a retreat for him at our retreat ranch. He needs to understand the tree of life approach, resting in the spirit, and the New Covenant in the manner we teach it. We can accomplish these two basic needs - teaching the pastor and leadership team the tree of life approach by the following:
- Have pastor Kim spend a few days teaching the leadership team in the local church setting.
- Have the senior Pastor come to Smoldering Wick Ministry’s retreat ranch for extensive teaching and counseling.
- Constant review of these understandings by study of the web site and related tapes and materials.
Teach the Congregation to Relate to the Pastor with Life
We live in a world that functions out of the tree of good and evil. Death flows freely in the work place, at school, and on the TV every waking minute of each day. It is easy and natural for the sheep to set themselves up as judge and jury over their shepherd, but that will lead to death. Jesus is in charge. It is his church, his people, his pastor, and he can manage the church just fine, thank you.
Teach the church to speak and practice love toward their pastor. The New Covenant is all about the free flow of blood covenant love, and life to one another’s spirits. The church needs to be taught this continually.
Do Not Tell the Senior Pastor How to Pastor the Church!
A pastor does not go into a doctor’s office and tell the surgeon how to perform an appendectomy. A pastor does not go into an architect’s office and tell him how to design a building. A pastor does not stop in the local auto shop and tell the journeyman mechanic how to do a valve grind, nor does the pastor tell a dentist how to fill a tooth, or tell a master electrician how to wire a office building.
Yet, in the body of Christ it is amazing how many experts there are telling the ordained shepherd of God how to pastor the church! Maybe they think Jesus needs some extra help in administrating the church?
I have news - Jesus is a big boy, and he can take very good care of his own church. Leave the ordained pastor to Jesus. You be supportive in all areas, and speak life into your pastor and his mate.
All Leaders Need to Read Your Pastor Is An Endangered Species
This is a book by H.B. London and Neil Wiseman, (click to buy on Amazon.com), published in 1997 by Victor Books. Many chapters in this book are excellent, but here I am focusing on chapter 6, “49 Ways to Love Your Pastor.” There are many creative ways to give “double honor” as Paul said, to our shepherds. This book will help not only the leaders in the congregation work better with their pastor, but it will help the lay-members also treat and relate properly to the shepherd God has given them.
In Due Time Consider Re-Writing the Church Bylaws
As I mentioned earlier in this section, many churches have convoluted government structures, where the sheep lord it over the shepherd. Consider other ways and means of structuring the church.
For example, in the Association of Life-Giving Churches, we use a bylaw setup such that the congregation cannot fire the pastor. Before you have a heart attack about that statement, hear the whole story. We use another board called the board of “overseers.” This board is made up of five senior pastors the pastor and edler board have agreed upon in advance. This board of overseers has no day to day involvement in the church.
If a problem were to arise within the congregation where the elder board felt the pastor was very wrong and needed to be corrected, the elder board would approach the pastor. If the pastor refused to work together with the elders, the elder board would vote on bringing in the overseers. This is the only time the overseers have anything to do with the church. They come in, with no emotional conection or baggage, and they interview the elders, pastors, lay-members, and they come to a decision on action to be taken.
The overseers have the authority to discipline or fire the pastor. This way, the pastor is evaluated and judged by his peers, not the sheep. The sheep never have to pass judgment on the shepherd. At the same time, the pastor cannot be fired for what side of his head he parts his hair, or the fact he gave one too many sermons on tithing and a non-tither on the board wants him fired!
The elder board can only approach the overseers to get involved if the reasons are very Biblical - teaching false doctrine, stealing money, infidelity etc. The pastor can’t be fired because he’s too fat or too thin, doesn’t like sports or because he isn’t good looking!
This is a good start. Read everything you can on our web site, and the book by H.B London. Help create a life-giving church with a life-giving pastor at the helm! Call for any help you need from us!