One of the main reasons why I write pastor blog is to communicate what “might” happen in the future so that when it happens, members will have a better understanding of where I am coming from. So, this “has not” happened yet, but I just I want to write about it in advance.
In many churches, pastors are busy doing visitations for members who have “stumbled”. They are offended by what the pastor said or did, and they stop showing up to all church meetings. This is childish. In parenting class, we learn that passive-aggressiveness is the worst, and the most unhealthy form of communication. But pastors are tempted to make a visit to comfort and persuade them so that they can come back to church.
When this type of scenario happens, I will not make the visitation until the person requests to talk to me. In fact, this is what seasoned pastors recommend doing. But the main reason is this: Church exists to make disciples, not attenders. The goal of a pastor is never about making someone attend again. The mission of church is not to gather more people, but to make people more like Christ. (Matthew 28:19-20) Being offended is the problem of the offended as much as it is of the offender. Owning up to our issue is the first step in becoming like Christ. If a pastor keeps visiting those who are offended by him, he unintentionally allows them to remain in their childish behaviour.
If a member has stumbled because of what I said in private conversation, I will go and make an apology. Because I am not always articulate in my speech in such moments, so I might have said something poorly. But in a public form of speaking such as sermon, blog or bible study, what I said is usually what I meant to say, as I try my best to carefully craft those words. In fact, the words that offended them could be God’s message to them, calling for repentance.
Please don’t think I am neglecting disgruntled members by doing this. If it is about a situation I can provide a quick explanation to prevent further misunderstanding, I will also do that. No pastors would want their members to stumble and leave the church. I will probably pray “more” for them. So, if you are offended or hurt by what I said, please request to talk to me directly or through your shepherd. Then, I will meet with you right away, hear everything you have to say, and I will own up to my problem, and offer apology or explanation if necessary.
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)