DON’T BE A JERK!
1. Pastors ought not to yell at people. You might yell when you preach but if you ever have to personally confront, rebuke, or reprove someone use a gentle tone of voice. Often members will feel you are “yelling” at them simply because you tell them the truth about themselves, just don’t really yell. It makes you look like an emotional abuser.
2. Don’t be an emotional abuser. You should never use guilt to get your way, or maneuver someone into a decision so they will be more useful for your ministry or program. Guilt is a powerful and useful tool, and a good tool, when used by the Holy Spirit to convict people of real sin. If you use guilt (making people feel guilty) to get more money, more time, or their cooperation in your personal agenda then you have misused it and brought shame to the cloak of your authority. Guilt should always lead someone to the cross, not to your advantage.
3. Pastors ought to ask themselves what it is they are selling. What is your life an advertisement for in terms of what you brag about, what you post pictures about on your Facebook page, what everyone knows about you or thinks about first when they hear your name? Is it that you love sports, hunt, drink Scotch whiskey, smoke Cuban cigars, play in a rock band, that you are an expert on various aesthetic experiences, or social justice causes; just what are you making famous? Wouldn’t it be good if it was Christ, and that the first thing people thought about when they thought about you was your love for Christ, your labors for Christ, and that you treat others with the love of Christ? Enjoy life, but stop wearing everyone out with all your interests, hobbies, fetishes, or ego pumps.
4. Stop glad handing, grinning, complimenting, and using flattery when you know you are lying. You don’t have to be mean, or unkind, or frowning all the time but you can at least be honest. If you don’t think something was done well, if you don’t think a decision was right, if you think this is the wrong person for the job then even if you have to keep your opinion to yourself for the sake of peace, don’t lead people on that you are in agreement. If you are a “people pleaser” and afraid of the faces of men get back in touch with the fear of God.
5. Take yourself and your doctrine seriously, but don’t fool yourself. Others can see your faults, idiosyncrasies, mistakes, and sins pretty readily. They know the difference between truth lovingly presented and dogma that only make an impression when you use it like a club to beat people over the head. Give everybody a break and lighten up about yourself. Learn to laugh at yourself and not get all bent out of shape when somebody makes fun of you. If your insecurity won’t allow you to own up to being human, maybe you need a touch of confidence in your sonship. Being serious about being a preacher and a man of God should not mean presenting yourself as a jerk. Share your humanness with the church by using your own mistakes as illustrations in your sermons, by admitting that you don’t know everything, and by humbly taking advice especially from your Elders.
6. Pastors should be good haters. They should hate evil, real evil, and not waste time doing a lot of hating over the insignificant and what is “petty bad.” Some pastors waste too much time being censorious, judgmental, and legalistic about stuff that doesn’t really send anyone to hell or kill human beings. They should be good at hating, and never stop hating cruelty, injustice, oppression, poverty, abuse, disease, sickness and death. They should hate it when the people they love fail, when they fall into sin, when lives are wasted, when people give up the faith. They should hate it when the church leaves its first love, when it starts believing lies and liars. But they should hate in a good way, and that by never actually hating people, nor by using evil means to stand up to evil but rather by overcoming evil with good.
7. The tougher you are the sweeter you need to be, especially to those who oppose you. The smarter you are, the more educated, the more skilled means you need humility in converse or inverse proportion. Let others praise you and not your own mouth. The stronger, harder, and more powerful you are the lower you need to stoop to wash the feet of those you lead, or those who you know are wrong. The more you want to fight the faster you need to forgive and love. Humility is a great and powerful weapon and we keep it in our holster far too long.