Thursday, July 2, 2009

despising youth

1 Tim. 4:11-13 (ESV)
Command and teach these things. [12] Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. [13] Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

Let no one despise you for your youth. Oh how this needs to be reiterated to congregations, perhaps even before the young pastor shows up. I have seen this happen in a few places, I have had my own elders step in and defend me using this passage. Thank God for trustworthy elders! But I think this also needs to be taught to the younger pastors. Not just that they shouldn’t let people despise them for their youth, but that they should setting an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity, and devote themselves to public reading of Scripture, exhortation and teaching, and by doing this earn the respect of people despite their youth.
The despising that is spoken of here though is often not just that older people will not want to listen to a younger person. That may be true, especially if the younger person comes off as arrogant, haughty, and in no need of advice, because after all he went to seminary, and he is the pastor. But the despising really comes in when the trouble makers realize that the pastor is young, and probably na├»ve also. Oh, there are trouble makers in the church. They take advantage of the pastor’s naivity and youth to manipulate and control the congregation. I don’t know why, what the motivation is. But there are these hall monitor types that can’t seem to be a part of anything without trying to be the one in control, lay popes and Pappetts. These people will destroy a church sowing seeds of dissension among the members drawing lines in the sand, and otherwise being unruly, and all the while as they are carrying out their juvenile hall monitor behavior, they claim to be preserving the church. Show them the door. Talk to them once or twice to see if they will change, but then show them the door. The pastor shouldn’t have to put up with that, nor should the pastor make the rest of the congregation suffer with that behavior. Let them shape up or ship out. And dust off your feet as they leave.
It may not sound very pastoral on the surface, to say this. But really there is only so much you can do, and if these people won’t let you be pastor, then you are doing no one any favors by putting up with them. As Paul says elsewhere, “watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught, avoid them.”

1 comment:

Steve Martin said...

Ah, humanity, rearing it's ugly head in the church.

These types will destroy a church if not reigned in or kicked out.

Like my pastor's Dad (a retired pastor himself) used to say, "people...they're no damm good"