3 Lessons I Learned From Being a Horrible Church Staff Member

I’ll never forget coming home from work complaining to my wife about our pastor. I was fresh out of seminary and thought I knew it all and really believed I could do a better job than he. I did not agree with many decisions he would make.

I would say things to my wife like, “Why isn’t he giving me opportunities? Do you think he is threatened by me? Does he not see how gifted I am?” Unfortunately, this list could be very extensive and could go on and on. I was full of pride and arrogance and I didn’t even see it. I was not leading my wife well by bashing the pastor I was serving under.

I wish I could say it stopped there, but it didn’t. I began to have hallway conversations with others about his poor leadership. This quickly turned into having lunch with church members and continuing to express my dissatisfaction with him. What I didn’t realize was the consequence of my poor attitude and refusal to be led by this pastor would cause harm to his church. I was poisoning the staff culture.

Looking back, I realize how arrogant and foolish I was. I had no clue what it meant to sit in his seat. The most prideful people I have ever met typically have a hard time noticing their pride; that was me. Please do not be this staff member.

Here are three important roles of a great staffer or church leader:

1. Be All-In.

Ask yourself: Are you truly all-in? Do you believe in your pastor? Do you trust where he is leading you? Do you speak highly of your pastor? Do you encourage him? Do you fight battles for him and with him? If the answer is no, then you may not be all-in. You can disagree with your pastor but are you still for him? There is a difference.

Your pastor needs to be surrounded by godly leaders who have his back. Your pastor deeply desires for you to be all-in. He wants to know that you believe in him. There is a big spiritual war to be fought and he needs every godly soldier in the church standing ready to fight the battle with him. Are you ready?

2. Be Grace-Filled.

Your pastor is not Jesus. He is fully human, just like you. God did not call your pastor to be the savior of your church. He called your pastor to pastor your church. Your pastor cannot be all things to all people. He is going to mess up. He is going to have flaws.

Most likely your pastor has been deeply wounded and has a hard time trusting people. Can he trust you? Have you given your pastor a reason to be guarded with you? If so, repent and go make it right. Your pastor carries significant weight and burdens of the church; he needs you to be gracious toward him. Remember you do not have a perfect pastor. Your pastor needs God’s grace daily. Are you the first one to offer grace when your pastor needs it?

3. Be Humble.

It breaks my heart to see how many ministers and leaders struggle with pride, entitlement and arrogance. There is no place in the ministry for entitled or prideful ministers and leaders. God has given each of you the gifts that you have, you didn’t give them to yourself. You did not earn them. He has given each gift for you to use for his glory, not your own.

Often ministers and leaders lose their humility when they lose touch with reality. I like to always say, “Humility is a byproduct of intimacy with Christ.” When ministers and leaders lose their intimacy with him the byproduct is pride. The most important thing you can do for your pastor and church is to keep your walk with Christ intimate. Your pastor’s biggest desire for you is that you are seeking the Lord above anything else.

Several years after being a horrible staff member I called to repent and ask this pastor for forgiveness. I didn’t have a clue how much pain he had to endure because of sin. If you are a church leader or on staff and are not for your pastor, not full of grace, and you do not display humility, it might be time for you to repent. God wants to be honored in all things. Are you honorable to your pastor and church? Most importantly are you honoring him?

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This article originally appeared on LifeWayVoices.com and is reposted here by permission.

Noe Garcia
Noe Garcia

Noe Garcia is the senior pastor at North Phoenix Baptist Church. He also serves as the 2nd vice president of Southern Baptist Convention and an adjunct professor for Gateway Seminary.