How to Hurt Your Pastor

Most people don’t intentionally try to hurt their pastor. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule. However, there are subtle ways that people carelessly or inadvertently bruise their pastor. If you love your pastor and want to create a climate of revival and respect you will do your best to avoid the items listed below. Let’s dive in.

Tell him he only works on Sundays (or something to that effect). Most people say this jokingly not realizing how terribly insulting they’re being. The typical pastor is massively overworked and understaffed. Studies show that huge numbers of pastors leave the ministry because of burnout and exhaustion. Pastors often work seven days a week and have very little “off the grid” time. There’s no such thing as a definite “day off” in ministry.

Insinuate he makes too much money. First, you should want your pastor to be financially blessed (1 Timothy 5:17-18, 1 Corinthians 9:9-14, Romans 4:4, Acts 6:2). If you don’t, there’s a deeper issue at play. I realize that shyster preachers and TV charlatans have tainted the waters and made people wary, but a godly pastor deserves to be compensated reasonably well.

The average pastor struggles financially. The percentage of wealthy pastors is almost microscopic. Most pastors could make a far better living in the secular workplace. When a person insinuates their pastor is overpaid they are being hurtful in three major ways. One, if their pastor is struggling financially it tells him he will always be struggling financially if this saint has anything to say about it. Two, it demonstrates a lack of respect and appreciation for the work of the ministry. Three, it exposes a mindset that is undervaluing the worth of pastoral ministry.

Refuse to tithe. There is a curious trend that most pastors notice but rarely mention out loud; people who fail to tithe are often the most demanding people in the church. They want more programs, more individual attention, and more costly improvements than the average member. Now, good pastors aren’t in ministry for the money, but being in the ministry doesn’t mean you suddenly don’t need to make a living. Refusing to tithe doesn’t just harm the church it harms the pastor’s ability to provide for his family.

Disregard, disrespect, or mistreat the pastor’s family. Some people will do things to the family that they would never do directly to the pastor. Staggering inconsiderateness or blatant confrontational unkind behavior, when directed towards the family, ultimately harms the pastor. And it’s just plain wrong.

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Compare him to other preachers. Constantly comparing your pastor to another pastor or a celebrity preacher who probably doesn’t even know who you are is soul crushing to him. Your pastor is not just a preacher he is your under-shepherd. Meaning, he has prayed for you, entreated God on your behalf, and bears a customized burden for your spiritual well-being. There might be other preachers who have more oratorical skill than your pastor, but your pastor doesn’t need to feel the pressure of comparison.

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Disparage new ideas. Every pastor will have a new idea from time to time. Sometimes they work out as planned and sometimes they don’t. Don’t be the person who can always be counted on for the dreaded “I told you so” when a new idea falls flat. Every leader needs the leeway to try new things and adjust accordingly. Be as supportive of new things as possible.

Minimize successes. There are few things more discouraging to a pastor than people who refuse to celebrate successes. Some folks bring a wet blanket to every celebration by pointing out all the things that are still imperfect. No matter the strength of any given church, there will always be plenty of room for improvement, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t rejoice when progress is made.

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Pretend you want advice when you really want validation. Ah. This is a big one. Don’t ask for counseling when you’ve already decided what you’re going to do. If you’ve already made up your mind just admit you don’t want spiritual guidance or genuine input from your pastor. Pretending you do when you don’t is disingenuous.

Talk behind his back. It might’ve just been a moment of frustration and you didn’t even really mean what you said, but when it gets back to your pastor (and it will) it will weigh on him heavily. He’ll love you regardless but your trustworthiness will be compromised.

Withhold honor. Some saints withhold honor because they don’t want their pastor to get a “big” head. Trust me. There are more than enough “balloon poppers” out there to keep him humble. Just give honor when and where honor is due.

View him suspiciously without a valid reason. We’ve all seen pastors fall from grace whether up close or from afar. We’ve all heard or maybe even seen the horror stories of preachers gone bad. Satan uses those sad stories to plant seeds of distrust and disunity within the hearts of good people. You wouldn’t teach your kids to distrust all police officers because of a few dirty cops, likewise, extend the same benefit of the doubt to godly ministry.

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Fight with other saints. Probably nothing else causes more grief to a pastor than trouble among the saints.

Complain about irrelevant things. There are legitimate complaints that are worthy of mentioning to your pastor. However, airing out every personal preference and petty dislike becomes hurtful in a hurry.

In conclusion: everyone (including myself) has done at least one of the things mentioned in this article. Your pastor loves you anyway and that’s not going to change. We’re human, and that means we accidentally hurt one another occasionally. The key is to do our best to adjust when we realize that we’re causing someone pain.

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18 thoughts on “How to Hurt Your Pastor

  1. Tithing is under the law. Abraham tithed of spoil not of income. Abraham also tithed because he chose to tithe not because it was required of him. Tithing was of food and livestock not monetary. If you are going to tithe according to the law than you are debtor to do the whole law. If you are going to tithe than you are going to have tithe the way the Israelites did under the law. The storehouse is not the church, but it was a literal storehouse. Many churches will twist this scripture. Lets give in faith not grudgingly or of necessity for God loves a cheerful giver. Hebrews 7 regarding Mechisedek was not a demand to tithe. Ask God in the understanding of the law of the Old Covenant command of tithing. We are not under the law no longer.

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    • Honeybee, Ryan referenced the verse you need most, but failed to look up, I Timothy 5:17-18. The verse is absolutely referring to financial support. Tithing is the least we can do to support the maintenance and expansion of God’s kingdom. Let alone the “double honor”, mentioned by Paul.

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  2. Thank you for reading and commenting. I really do appreciate it. I’d like to respectfully disagree with you on this very significant and important point regarding tithing. This little format makes it hard to go into heavy duty Scriptural study but I’ll hit the highlights.

    First, Abraham chose to tithe because he recognized that everything was God’s in the first place (Genesis 14:19). This is a common thread throughout the Bible… that God has entrusted us as stewards of his goods (…the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof).

    Secondly, When Abraham and Jacob began tithing it was (as you mentioned) before the Law of Moses had been instituted. This places tithing firmly in the category of timeless moral law. For example, THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY is Old Testament law but it is timeless and moral and carries over into the New Testament (consider Genesis 28:20-22).

    Thirdly, Leviticus 27:30-31 shows that the Israelites could either give 10% in produce or 12% IN CASH. When it came to livestock, a shepherd had to set aside every tenth for God. In other words, if they were going to give actual money God required 2% more than if they were going to give in produce or livestock. Beyond all of that, produce and livestock were considered currency in the same way that cash is considered currency today. People bartered with produce and livestock because it was often all they had.

    Fourth, Numbers 18:21 establishes God’s precedent that tithing would be for the work of the ministry. God has always considered spiritual things to be worthy of full-time attention.

    Fifth, over half of Jesus’ parables talk about money and yet Jesus never once mentioned the earth-shattering fact that tithing is obsolete. In fact, he did the opposite in Matthew 23:23… he rebukes the Pharisees for neglecting weightier things than tithing but then carefully tells them that they should in fact tithe. Another time, Jesus uses a poor widow giving her last penny to the temple as an object lesson for his disciples. Why didn’t he run to her and say you don’t have to do that anymore? Because the principles of tithes and offerings are timeless and moral in the kingdom of God.

    Finally, the early apostolic Church, as far back as history records, understood that tithing is the means by which the Church provides for the work of the ministry. I suppose if we wanted to really be like the early New Testament saints we would need to sell everything and give it to the Church. Such was the custom in their zealousness.

    Again, I’m not trying to be contentious, and I respect your beliefs… simply want to clarify mine.

    Sincerely,
    R. French

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      • The most common errors of those who claim tithing was “Mosaic Law” and “done away with,” involve:

        • mistaking New Testament verses about /emergency relief effort giving/ as a supposed substitute for tithing (a notion which cannot be supported, biblically),

        • and (the above then often leads to such) wrongfully thinking they know what is /supposed/ to happen “instead of tithing” under the New Covenant,

        • and finally, missing/overlooking the significance of New Testament links to Old Testament mentions of tithing, forming a functional biblical model for people of faith.

        Questions for anti-tithe people:

        Since you are professed to not be against giving, but rather against basing one’s giving on a set percentage of increase (which is a biblically based model and enables important functions of the believer’s family life, such as budgeting / financial planning), then what biblical model for giving do you appeal to as a substitute for the biblical model of tithing?

        Whatever biblical model you claim as a substitute for the biblical model of tithing, are you sure you have not simply mistaken emergency relief effort giving as something else that it was never intended to be?

        Is your biblically-based model absent any set percentage, making forecasting and budgeting extremely difficult if not nearly impossible? Or are all percentages acceptable except such that are prominent in Scripture?

        Do you accept that any believer is free to choose a percentage-based plan, and then free to choose any percentage of increase they wish as their basis for regular giving? Or are you just “put off” by the 10% figure and/or an old word for “tenth” (tithe, aka 1/10th)?

        If you accept that a believer is free to choose a percentage-based plan for their giving, do you accept that the same believer can in faith derive from the Bible a long-standing example of 10% as support for their choice to use that percentage?

        Given that preachers / pastors who view tithing as an act of faith then teach it as such (not a bondage or entrapment or burden) why vilify or criticize them for doing do?

        Just some things to think about.

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      • Jesus did something far more dangerous than confirm tithing. He reminded us that nothing we have is ours, and giving it to God is not even giving. Its just an acknowledgement. See the coin in the fish; “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” — everything is God’s. You owe him *everything*. Tithing is the very least you can do.

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    • You make great points here, Bro French.

      Regarding your fourth point: “Numbers 18:21 establishes God’s precedent that tithing would be for the work of the ministry. God has always considered spiritual things to be worthy of full-time attention.”

      ….I’d like to add:

      The Apostle Paul specifically linked New Covenant support for gospel preachers to the “same manner” (the “same way”) the Old Testament priests were provided for, which of course referred to tithing and offerings. This is clear in 1 Corinthians 9, especially take note of vv. 13-14.

      KJV: {13} Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? {14} Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

      NIV: {13} Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? {14} In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

      Notice the KJV words “Even so…” (we ought to ask “How SO?”) and/or the NIV words “in the same way” (we should ask “same way as WHAT?”). The answer is clear: tithes and offerings.

      The same way provision was made for priests in the Old Testament is how it is to be done for full-time gospel ministers in the New Testament. Can a minister forego this right and not accept? Certainly, as Paul himself chose to do at some points. However, that does not permanently waive the right for that minister, nor remove or bar the practice for others.

      1 Corinthians 9:14 directly links with Numbers 18:21, i.e. the New Testament gospel minister is connected to tithes the same way Old Testament priests were connected to tithes.

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  3. You would have tithe more than 10% according to the law. I believe it is 23%. You are debtor to do the whole law you if you are going to tithe that includes the Old Covenant sacrifices.

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    • 1. Many aspects of a faith-based life predate the Mosaic Law. This includes tithing.
      2. The word “tithe” literally means “tenth” as in 10%. One cannot have “one-tenth” magically become 23%. One could possibly owe a “convenience fee” on top of the tithe, or give an additional offering beyond the tithe, but a tithe (a tenth) cannot be anything other than one tenth. This is common sense.
      3. Because biblically-based tithing in based on increase, the frequency does not affect the percent. Tithing once a week versus once a month does not increase the “percent” from 10% to 40%, because if the the increase stays the same, so the percent stays the same. This also is common sense.

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  4. In my last church was blasted by about half of these, mostly from a cabal of lay leaders who were newcomers. When my wife found out (she’s a retired executive) she told me to resign immediately. And then the church board claimed to be surprised when I left. I was 68 years old and ready to sort of retire (I was employed the day after I cleared out my office). Not surprisingly they have been in the hunt for my successor for three years with no results.

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  5. Thank you for your clear exposition on tithing. I’ve often thought since it predated the law, and that proportional giving is mentioned in the New Testament, “as the Lord has prospered you”, and we’re instructed to provide for our ministers, and Christ said do it but don’t forget the mightier aspects of the law, it was still in effect. If we approach it with a legalistic mindset, as if we’re bribing God to favor us, then we fall into mischief. If it’s something we want to do because we love God, his Church and his under-shepherd, it’s a good thing. I wonder if the typical nature of Melchizedek and Abraham come into play. (Melchizedek was a type of Christ and we are “children of Abraham”). Just a thought.

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