You know me…I’m the small church pastor’s biggest fan. I’ve spent the last ten years of my life working with and encouraging pastors of small churches. Every week I hear of the discouraging things pastors have to put up with: dysfunctional boards, gossip and slander, criticism directed towards the pastor, unrealistic expectations…the list could go on and on. But maybe, just maybe, sometimes, perhaps…it’s the pastors fault. Maybe it’s your fault. Why?
You get what you tolerate.
If you tolerate dysfunction, gossip, slander, unrealistic expectations, guess what. You get dysfunction, gossip, slander, and unrealistic expectations. You get what you tolerate.
Now I know that it’s easy for me to sit here in my ivory-tower (actually it’s an old remodeled farm house) out in the country and tell you what to do, but you’ve got to stop putting up with some of the stuff you’ve been putting up with or tolerating.
I know that ‘timing is everything’. A pastor can ‘deal with things’ too soon or too late. My experience tells me that most pastors wait too long before they confront people or problems. Also, I’m not suggesting that you rush in recklessly without a well thought out, well prayed out plan. But you get what you tolerate.
Deciding that you are not going to tolerate something can be costly. You might lose someone. It might get worse before it gets better. Let’s be honest, for some of you it could cost you your job. I understand if you’re not willing to pay that price. I get that, I do. But there must be something you could do. Some plan you could develop and work slowly over time that would move you towards what you want and need rather than settling for what you are currently getting that is causing you so much grief and discouragement.
What are you currently tolerating? What can or should be done about it?