How to Disagree with Your Pastor


My disposition has been noted on more than one occasion by others and by me.

I love pastors. I respect pastors. I honor pastors.

In the course of a week, someone will note the occasional outlier. They will point out the negatives of pastors. They don’t take care of the members. They are in it for the money. They are dictators and bullies. They don’t lead. And on and on and on.

Of course, anytime you look at nearly 400,000 people, you can certainly find the bad apples in the batch. It seems like some church members make it the goal of their lives to focus on the negatives of pastors. We have a few of those who show up on this blog.

But this one thing I know: most pastors are godly and honorable leaders. They love their church members. They love their communities. They love their families. They love the God they serve.

Are pastors infallible? Of course not. You know as well as I that no pastor is perfect. They will make mistakes. They will have a bad day. They will get frustrated.

Should you, then, disagree with your pastor? Should you confront these leaders with something they have done wrong? Should you point out their omissions? Let me respond by offering ten guidelines for you to consider.

  1. Pray first. Okay, this one is obvious. In the heat of the moment, this one can be obviously forgotten too.
  2. Understand the frequency of the criticism issue. Look at this example. If your church’s average worship attendance is 100, you likely have around 200 active members (“active” defined loosely). If every church member took the liberty to disagree or criticize the pastor once a year, your pastor would be dealing with a critic two of every three days.
  3. Understand the negative magnification issue. If you are disagreeing with or criticizing your pastor, you obviously understand the humanity of pastors. They aren’t perfect people. And though they would hope otherwise, most of them will obsess over your criticism. For many of them, one criticism has a ten times greater impact than one praise or compliment.
  4. Make sure it is absolutely necessary. If this issue is one of preference or not getting something your way, drop it. Your criticism will likely do a lot more harm than good.
  5. Don’t begin with, “I love you pastor, but . . . “ Most pastors will only hear everything after the “but.” The prefatory phrase will typically be perceived as insincere.
  6. Don’t say, “People are saying . . . “ Speak for yourself, not the cowards in anonymity. Any leader should discount or ignore “people are saying” criticisms.
  7. Don’t express your disagreement on a Sunday. Don’t criticize pastors right before or after they preach. In fact, hold off all disagreements for a day other than Sunday. If you wait a day or two, the urgency to criticize may go away.
  8. Make clear you want to hear the pastor’s perspective. Too many disagreements are pet peeves or personal preferences. If you have a sincere and serious disagreement, you will want to hear the pastor’s perspective. Listen as much as speaking, if not more.
  9. Seek to be a part of the solution. Criticizing and stating negatives are easy. Most of us are adept in finding problems. If you really care about your church and your pastor, you will be willing to offer a solution and to be part of the solution.
  10. Pray again. If you have made the move toward disagreeing with your pastor, pray after the fact. Pray for your pastor. Pray for yourself. Pray for you words to be received well. Pray for your church.

I was in conversation with a pastor called to ministry from the business world. His call was genuine I am sure, but he admitted he was a frequent critic of his pastors before he became one. “I often knew a better way, and I wasn’t hesitant to let my pastors know,” he said. “Now that I am on the other side, I can’t believe how insensitive and even ungodly I was. The life of a pastor is so stressful. If I only knew then . . .”


Posted on July 29, 2019

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
More from Thom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Ken, for a pastor… got some serious anger issues.

  • Christopher says on

    I know pastors are not perfect, but it astounds me how many people come to this site for the sole purpose of tearing down pastors and then have the gal to claim the high moral and Biblical ground. They act as if pastors are not real people with real families and real struggles. To them pastors are nothing more than obstacles to their own self-absorbed power and influence. Their mission is to undermine, weaken, and even destroy the pastor so that they can fill the void. Then again, Jesus is treated the same way.

    • Have you ever read “Antagonists in the Church”, by Kenneth Haugk? Alas, such behavior is common among hard-core antagonists. They dish out insults and personal attacks, but the minute anyone fires back at them, they play the victim. Alas, there’s no use arguing with them. As an old saying goes, “Never wrestle with a pig. You’ll both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

    • Brian A. Kaczor says on


      Can I have a gentleman discourse with you on the subject without any attack on who I am or who I am not with you?

      I was trying to find a comment back at the beginning that pertains to all that have been attacking me.

      “Most of my criticism as a pastor was based on who I’m not rather than who I am.”

      Came to find out, it was your comment. So I hope we can have a conversation without you basing it on who I’m not. That you would respect me as you wanted your critics to respect you as a pastor.

      Brian A. Kaczor

  • Sigh… what started as a fairly positive discussion has devolved into name calling.

  • Another book to consider is entitled “When Sheep Attack” by Dennis R. Maynard. A summary:

    “The substance of this book is based on 25 case studies of clergy that were attacked by a small group of antagonists in their congregations…”

  • To Dave,
    I don’t know if you will see this comment (given how many comments there have been since then-yikes!), but I did want to let you know that you were right, and I was wrong; I need to repent of that. Sometimes I think it is good to know how other people are perceiving our comments, but I should have assumed the best, or at least asked you.
    I have noticed (and others have pointed this out as well!) that my ability to see the best in people, particularly pastors, has eroded over a long time of hearing one particular pastor use thinly-veiled (or not-so-veiled) verbal threats regularly…
    But that said, it doesn’t make how I handled your comment any more right, and I am sorry for behaving so unbiblically. Please forgive me, and I will be praying for you and your wife.
    Thank you also for pointing this out to me.

  • Mark Millich says on

    Recommended reading: “The Pastor Has No Clothes” by Jon Zens.

    • Or “Antagonists in the Church”, by Kenneth Haugk.

    • Mark, this looks like a very interesting book. Thanks…. the book’s main thesis is there is no Biblical support for a pastorate. I can’t find it in the Bible and with the financial and sexual corruption rampant among many well-known and unknown pastors… it stands to reason it ain’t in the Bible.

      • Mark Millich says on

        You’re welcome, Bill. The book “The Pastor Has No Clothes” by Jon Zens is as you described and should be of interest to us all. I encourage you, the other commenters, and Thom S. Rainier to read it, if you haven’t already. This blog and the majority of comments were evidently written from the perspective of the traditional, institutional church model. Jon is writing outside of that box, as am I, although we both have done time there, and passed through her not wholly unscathed. Much more could be said here now, but I will leave you with this thought. In the venerable KJV the Greek word “poimen” is translated “shepherd” seventeen times, nine times denoting its natural significance, as in “shepherds abiding in the fields.” Eight times it is used metaphorically of Christ. Only once in the entire New Testament is it translated “pastor.” To paraphrase James 3:5, what a great matter a single word can cause or produce.

      • That’s hardly sound exegesis.

      • Mark Millich says on

        I wrote, “Much more could be said here now, but I will leave you with this thought.” It’s a “tip of the iceberg” – an indication that there’s more to the status quo, the accepted understanding of the “pastorate,” than meets the eye, especially the unseeing eye. It’s food or fodder for thought but if you reject it outright you can’t very well “chew the cud.” Are you of the number of “they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand”?

      • This is not from the Bible, but I think it’s relevant at this point: “Methinks thou dost protest too much.” If what you cited is a sample of the kind of exegesis on which the book is based, then I will waste neither my time nor my money.

      • Mark Millich says on

        You criticized what I shared with Bill by your offhanded remark “That’s hardly sound exegesis” without any explanation. And then you assume that it is “a sample of the kind of exegesis on which the book is based.” Such behavior “is not from the Bible” either.

      • 1 John 4:1

      • Mark Millich says on

        When I recommended “The Pastor Has No Clothes” by Jon Zens, without any acknowledgement or knowledge of the book your immediate counter response was “Or ‘Antagonists in the Church’ by Kenneth Haugk.” That was antagonistic. I did not answer you in like kind or at all. Bill expressed interest, thanked me, and commented on the book’s main thesis. I welcomed his response, affirmed his take on it, and invited every one to read it, including you. I recognized the blog’s and majority of commenters’ perspective(s), and stated where Jon and I are coming from. As a starting point, I mentioned that the English word “pastor” occurs only once in the New Testament in the KJV (and other versions as well). Your response was terse and judgmental: “That’s hardly sound exegesis.” Ken, your replies have been more characteristic of an internet troll than a brother in Christ. And by quoting 1 John 4:1 you may be guilty of what you accuse me of. Take heed to yourself, and judge not, lest you be judged.

    • Christopher says on

      Once again, this blog is primarily for encouraging pastors. Would you go to a cancer support group and accuse them of making it up?

      • Why should this bother you, unless the presumptions have no foundation?

      • Brian A. Kaczor says on

        “How to Disagree with Your Pastor”

        “Should you, then, disagree with your pastor? Should you confront these leaders with something they have done wrong? Should you point out their omissions? Let me respond by offering ten guidelines for you to consider.”

        Who is the “you”?

        “this blog is primarily for encouraging pastors”

        Explain how this article encourages pastors?
        Should the people that this article addresses not be able to respond?
        How can pastors get relief when no lay person is allowed to see comment and learn?

      • Your friend Bill made false accusations against pastors, and when I tried to refute them, he called me “boastful”. Thus far, neither of you have shown any interest in learning. If you want people to see things from your perspective, then you should make a better attempt at seeing things from their perspective.

      • Brian A. Kaczor says on


        Bill is not my friend and I know as much about him as I do you.
        I thought his one statement was a good one, but he has not lived the very thing that he expounded.
        I have called him out in his response to you and others.

        Brian A. Kaczor says

        August 1, 2019 at 8:23 am


        Are you being like Timothy in your response to the older man or younger man that do not agree with you?


        I think you need to listen to your own words and be able to see a perspective that is not your own so that you are able to learn.

        You require me to see things from your perspective, but the same rule does not apply to you?

      • I don’t “require” you to do anything, sir. All I did was point out the disingenuous nature of your comments. It seems to me you want everybody to see your perspective, but you seem unwilling to see anyone else’s. Maybe you should read what Jesus said about casting the log out of your own eye before you try to take the speck out of someone else’s.

      • Christopher says on

        When I say this blog is primarily about encouraging pastors, I’m referring to the entire blog, not just one post. Furthermore, the practice of commenters, or trolls if you will, using this site to tear down pastors has been going on for a while.

        And yes, this post is encouraging because it recognizes that many in the church who have a disagreement with the pastor do not exercise discernment, restraint, tact, respect, kindness, or empathy – much like some of the commenters.

      • Brian A. Kaczor says on


        How have you demonstrated discernment, restraint, tact, respect, kindness or empathy when you are disagreeing with me?

        Should I look up all the kind words that you have said about me?

        How have you demonstrated that a lay person can disagree with his pastor and not have his head served on a platter?

        Can a person find common ground with their pastor when the first thing that comes from your mouth is that anyone that disagrees with you must be a troll?

        Make sure you do not violate 1, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9 before you respond. 10 comes after you have approached me with your disagreement.

      • Christopher never said anything of the kind. Why are you twisting his words?

      • Christopher says on


        I don’t know what you’re talking about. My above comment is the first time I responded to you. My reference to trolls was describing anyone who comes to this site, or any other site, for the purpose of being critical, hurtful, or just making people mad. If you want to put yourself in that category that’s up to you.

      • Brian A. Kaczor says on


        Who are you referring to with this post?
        “Christopher says
        July 31, 2019 at 9:34 am

        I know you, Bill…

        BTW, the only person agreeing with you is the crazy guy.”

        If you need the rest of the post, I can show it also.

        Otherwise, you are right.
        I apologize, except for the above if it is in reference to me, you have not made any comments on my character and the comments I have posted.

        This is the first time I have posted on this blog and many have attacked my character and never addressed the subject of my comment.

        I think the greatest thing for pastors, is training for dealing with people that see things through a different lens. If a person can stay on the subject and never make references to someone’s qualification to comment, we would be a lot farther ahead.
        Heard about a new pastor that upset the congregation because he had an old piano removed. Why should the relationship be broken because of a piano? The pastor did not know the value of that piano to some in the congregation and he would have been better off finding out before he took action. The piano has no eternal value, but the pastor lost respect in the eyes of these people. If a pastor learns these things, he can keep the respect of the congregation and not have them trying to undermine him. Once trust is lost, it takes a lot to restore a relationship.

        Depending on the direction things go, I might be facing a lot of criticism because I do not do things as the previous pastor did or I do something that is not right to their expectations. I have had grace from them because I was not their pastor when I have preached there in the past, but things change when you are.
        Ultimately I answer to God. If they don’t want me, I do not need to be their pastor. It will not hurt me if they do not like me. I rather have everything in front of me than behind my back. I have seen the bitterness in people when everything is not in the open. The congregation needs to trust that they can come to you with anything and that they will always be respected by you no matter how critical they are of you. After all Jesus allowed them to nail him to the cross and his disciples also died a martyrs death for his name sake.

        Once again, thanks for pointing out that you have not been a person that has been attacking my character in order to nullify my comments.

  • Ken, I am ROFL….. please stop…. this is hard on my belly…. you provide such good illustration material….ROFL….

    • I can’t speak for the other commenters on this site, but I’m done with casting my pearls to this swine (Matthew 7:6).

    • Christopher says on

      Really? You accuse others of being unprofessional?

      • Bill sounds like a high school sophomore.

      • Christopher says on

        I was thinking middle school.

      • You call others pigs, swine (both are highly insulting to many), make numerous other insulting comments and then tell these same to submit and listen to your wise and useful sayings. Frankly I don’t care about your insults, that’s why I just give it back… I have been told worse. Others have pointed it out to you, but you do not allow criticism….you are above, you are the clergy class. Read the posts of others, I have not been the kindest perhaps, but what are you….POPES? In my experience most clergy act as if and think they are.

        I find some of the books referenced in these posts interesting. What if it is true the pastorate is not scriptural…. what will you do? What if it is just part of the Roman Catholic church system inherited by protestants? What if it was not part of Paul’s model for congregational development?

        No….you cannot answer any of these things. It is your livelihood. Perhaps you are described in “The Pastor Has No Clothes” by Jon Zens…. a take off from the Emperor has no Clothes. Perhaps the analogy is more fitting than you care to admit…. but I would bet some parishioners think so. This is something to ponder at night in the quiet.

        I don’t need a response…. just think it through. My apologies for my part of troubling posts. I would probably revise or delete some of my posts if I could. See ya.

      • I tried to be civil with you, and you only responded with personal attacks. Jesus had people like you in mind when He gave the warning about casting pearls before swine (Matthew 7:15). If you can’t take it, then don’t dish it out.

      • Christopher says on


        I never called you or anyone else a pig or a swine and I never used the word submit. And no, pastoring is not my livelihood and I’m not Catholic. Furthermore, I don’t have to answer any of your “what if” questions because I find the Bible to be quite clear about those in vocational ministry. Even if the elders or pastors are not paid the Bible clearly puts them in a position authority. Just because some guy wrote a book you find interesting, that does not invalidate God’s Word.

        I will reiterate what I wrote earlier, you have an obvious hatred and bitterness toward pastors and nothing in this latest comment has dispelled that impression.

  • Churches, pastors, and all these confusing posts reminds me of politicians and the government. Maybe Trump is right, there is a need to drain the swamp not just in government, but local churches.

    Forty years ago I had an old pastor friend of mine tell me at a dinner, pastors were way underpaid, then he leaned over and whispered, no….they are paid about what they are worth. Forty years later, while over the years I have been at the forefront (along with no one else) on raising pastor pay, I tend to agree with my, now in glory, old friend. Where are those who behave in a professional manner and take their positions seriously? There are not many, I know and have known a few, but most do not.

    • I’d be interested in knowing what you define as “behaving in a professional manner” and “taking their positions seriously”. Please elaborate.

      • Most pastors would never be able to survive in the a job in the marketplace. There are no standards, no accountability, no professional development. If you question them or anything done, I have been immediately labeled a troublemaker and that’s the end of any office or service possibilities. It is a dictatorship. They do what they want when they want. For you to question what is professional or even (and I did not use this term) what excellence is displays your lack of it.

      • There is the need to get back to what it is like to be a Timothy. Timothy saw his work as a calling (I Tim 4:14), whereas so many preachers/pastors today consider their position a form of employment. Today they jog, play golf, are over-interested in sports or other kinds of activities. They are too confident in their supposed preaching gifts, which contain little if any doctrinal exposition and are mostly lectures combined with personal stories. They are “handling the word of God deceitfully” (2 Cor. 4:2), and have capitulated to post-modernism and the professing Christian culture which, “will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (II Tim. 4:3).

        Paul tells the Philippians, “But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel” (Phil 2:22). The word ‘proof’ has the idea of a birthmark. Timothy has the mark of Christ upon him being birthed from above, a gift of God in regeneration, and one sign of this is a genuine interest in others. This is something only a few possess. Timothy, modeled what Paul taught him and promoted the interests of Jesus Christ. Timothy stood out because his priority was Christ, then the welfare of fellow Christians. So many “seek their own” (2:21) and are consumed by “filthy lucre” (I Sam. 8:3; I Peter 5:2), compromising bit by bit through a slippery slope of rationalizations, acting as Judas who for the “love of money” (I Tim. 6:10) destroyed his soul and took his own life (Acts 1:18). Organization, numbers and cash are more important than the organism of the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:12). There is lamentation over conditions in our world because Christian men’s interests get locked into their work, and Christian women’s interests get locked into their families, and the interests of the Gospel of the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ comes in a poor third. I pray I might be a Timothy and for Christ my Lord to raise up many Timothys.

      • Brian A. Kaczor says on


        I am thankful for your comment and for using the word of God.
        May you be faithful to God all your days and may you encourage many young man to stand strong and be like Timothy.
        In the next few months, I will have to see if I can be an influence to faithfulness to God and his word. I will probably face criticism as Thom has pointed out.
        As you said, I would also want to be faithful to God as Timothy and seek Gods elect and bring them to him for his glory. This will only be possible by the grace, mercy and power of God for his glory.

      • Matthew 23:27-28

      • On the contrary, many pastors have done jobs in the marketplace. I put myself through seminary working several blue collar jobs, and I continued working in that area for a couple of years after I finished seminary. I’d be interested in seeing how you’d fare as a pastor. It’s easy to criticize another person’s job until you’ve actually had to do it.

        Your nasty comments about pastors are based mostly on stereotypes. The vast majority of churches in my denomination have less than 100 members, and their pastors are barely living above the poverty level. I’ve been a pastor for 24 years, but I’ve never played golf in my life (unless you want to count miniature golf, and I’ve played very little of that). I don’t jog or play sports, either, though I admit some athletic activity would probably do me some good. My sermons are loaded with doctrinal exposition. If you were in my church, I suspect you’d grumble about that, too.

        I don’t know why you’re so bitter, but I suggest you get a handle on it. Someone has wisely said that bitterness is like drinking a cup of poison in hopes that it will kill somebody else.

      • LOL, you’re it….I figured you are what I am writing about… 24 years of false accusations… and so boastful…you don’t know me….

      • You don’t even know me, so why do you think you’re qualified to judge me?

      • You, sir, are a perfect example of what many pastors have to deal with on a daily basis. You make false accusations against people you don’t even know, and when they try to defend themselves, you say they’re “boastful”. Has it ever occurred to you that you’re just blinded by your own hatred?

        P.S. to Brian – If I may borrow a phrase from John Wayne, you and Bill are “two sides of a counterfeit coin”.

      • Christopher says on

        I know you, Bill. You’ve exposed yourself fully. It is you who can’t handle disagreement. It is you who strives to be a dictator, forcing everyone in the church, including the pastor to bend to your will. Your obvious hatred and bitterness toward pastors is reflective of your narcissistic need for control.

        Again, this is proven by the fact you come on to a pastor blog just to attack pastors. Not to mention the moment Ken identified himself as a pastor you began disparaging him.

        BTW, the only person agreeing with you is the crazy guy.

      • Brian A. Kaczor says on


        Are you being like Timothy in your response to the older man or younger man that do not agree with you?

      • Michael Gray says on

        Your knowledge of pastors and pastoring is extremely limited. As a pastor I have many pastor friends who do work in the marketplace and they are very successful. Also, your initial post is incorrect. The pastors that I know are fine, humble servants that work hard in the midst of harsh criticism with little appreciation. Most of these men would deserve a raise, especially if they had to put up with your kind of cynicism.

      • Maybe so…. but I can name specifics… what you call cynicism is real life…. I saw fraud, lying, and pastors who had to resign and all they did was move on….and probably do it again.

        I have seen pastors who chaired missionary organizations who defended pedophiles, financial corruption, bribery, etc. All they do is resign and move on…. no different from the Roman Catholics.

      • And I’ve seen pastors who were falsely accused of these offenses by church members who had axes to grind. Just sayin’….

      • Christopher says on

        I was in the ministry for 20 years and I never met a pastor who did what ever he wanted when he wanted. I can tell you as a pastor myself I was always handcuffed by the “lay leadership.”

        I suspect that you’re the type of guy who always expects to get his way and when the pastor doesn’t give you full deference you automatically label him a dictator.

        The fact that you come on a pastor blog to attack pastors proves my point.

      • I find your comment about Roman Catholics quite disparaging and self righteous. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ. They gave us the bible, universities, hospitals and clothe and feed more people in one day than any other organization in the world. The issues in their church are no different than the issues in any other part of society or any other church, including yours, the incidences of pedophilia, theft, etc. are no higher, in fact lower than in the general population. Don’t be a hater. That little comment you made says way more about you than you think it does, brother.

  • Brian A. Kaczor says on

    A man of God has every right to criticize the pastor that has fallen away from the Lord.

    [Rev 3:14-17 ESV] 14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. 15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”

    These verses speak for themselves.

    [Mat 18:15-16 ESV] 15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”

    A Pastor that is godly will have the heart of Christ that can bear all the trials that comes his way. If he isn’t speaking God’s word, he should be rebuked for the sake of the elect. Christ was criticized plenty and that did not stop him from doing the will of God.

    This is not about the Pastor, but faithfulness to God. If a person criticizes the pastor, does he have the Grace, Mercy and Love of God to respond appropriately to the criticism? If the Pastor is in Sin, will he repent and ask for forgiveness? The Church will follow the example of the Pastor which should be a reflection of Christ.

    If Christ does not give you the strength to be a Pastor and to take criticism daily and at the most inconvenient places and times, then you should not be a Pastor.

    • Marguerite Colson says on


      Your comments are so flawed, I wondered if they merited a response by me.

      First, you totally ignored the content of the blog. Thom does not say pastors should not be criticized; he suggests how they should be criticized.

      Second, your verses are not about pastors specifically. I don’t know if that is your intent.

      Third, you use the phrase “fallen away from God” without any explanation or description. I have no idea to what you are referring here.

      Please note that “pastor” is not a proper noun, and should not be capitalized unless it is a part of a formal title. You have some other similar errors.

    • Brian, how long have you been a pastor?

    • Sheep aren’t supposed to have claws.

      • Brian A. Kaczor says on

        The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

      • James Bowers says on

        Brian –

        You keep abusing the text out of context for your own pretext. That comment has nothing to do with how to disagree with your pastor constructively. Please refrain from commenting if you can’t get your Bible right.

      • What does that have to do with my comment? Your initial post here has basically called open season on ministers for the wolves to bring out fangs and claws. I’m sorry, but where does the Bible say sheep are entitled to attack ministers?

        Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers — I Timothy‬ ‭5:1‬

        Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. — I Timothy‬ ‭5:19‬

        It isn’t okay to chase a preacher out of ministry — worse yet to do so under the guise of ‘Jesus not equipping them’ to take your assault.

      • Brian A. Kaczor says on

        [Jhn 10:12-13 ESV] 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

      • Brian, how long have you been a pastor?

    • Craig Giddens says on

      Revelation 3:14-17 is Jesus speaking to the church at Laodicea. This is not guidance for how to address your pastor.

      Matthew 18:15-16 is guidance for resolving conflicts between brethren and not specific to pastors.

      The blog post is how to constuctively disagree with your pastor, not how to deal with a fallen pastor.

      • Brian A. Kaczor says on


        Revelations 3:14-17 Who is it addressed to?
        “to the angel”
        Who is the angel?
        Is there an expectation that the angel will address the issues of Jesus critique of the church of Laodicea?

        Is a pastor not also a brethren?

        The only time to critique a pastor is when he is not in the will of God.
        Many people will critique their pastor on things that have absolutely no eternal relevance.
        Thom’s advice is to weed out the critiques that should not be brought up because they are personal opinions and have nothing to do with the will of God.
        Remember that I said “a man of God”. This mean that the person has to be in the will of God to bring critique to the pastor in the first place. If you do not pray, you will not be in the will of God.
        The part that I would disagree with Thom is: If a pastor is in the will of God, he will not suffer from false critique. He would have a burden for the brother or sister to see the light of God and to walk in peace and truth. But if the critique is valid, if he is not in the will of God, he should obsess over your criticism until he comes to repentance and a desire to be reconciled to God.

        We are sinners, we are fallen, we need criticism to bring us back to God, to keep us humble, to know our true place before God.
        Can the pastor take the criticism and put it to the light of scripture and show his flock what has eternal relevance?
        It the pastor cannot do it, then the church will suffer. We have many fallen churches that have abandon the word of God because the pastor, the angel, the elders allowed false teachers into the church and suppressed criticism by rules and regulations of how you should approach the leadership with critcism.

      • Marguerite Colson says on

        This response is so convoluted. Time to move on . . .

      • Brian,

        How long have you been a pastor?

      • Michael Gray says on

        I seriously think you missed the point of the article. You still haven’t answered the question of how long you have pastored? Only those who are in the pastorate can understand the type of criticism to which the the article refers. The average layman would completely crumble under the type of criticisms that pastors (and their family) experience on a weekly basis.

      • Brian A. Kaczor says on

        When Christ is not the head of the church, that church will fall.
        When the pastor does not submit to the authority of Christ, that church will fall.

        Can you understand the daily criticism that Trump is going through? Do you have to be the President of the United States to understand it? Why is there so many critics of the President?

        If you read the blog, it is about minimizing criticism, respecting him on Sunday, not being anonymous, being a part of the solution.

        If you read comments, many take offense to even having a pastor criticized. I tell you the truth, everyone will stand before Christ and give account of your own actions.
        I do not want to stand before Christ and have this conversation:
        [Mat 7:22-23 ESV] “22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”
        I rather be criticized by man and have the opportunity to be known by Christ than to suppress criticism, just because I am a pastor and I cannot bear one more criticism.
        I know that I will get the question of how many years I have been a pastor, my grammar is wrong, I took those verses out of context, I did not explain myself right in using a word, I am not sticking to the blog. The irony is that some of this criticism will be coming from pastors because I have dared to allow pastor to be criticized. But they have missed the point that the only time that a pastor should be criticized is when he is not following God’s word. There is many false teachers calling themselves pastors and even higher names if it tickles your fancy. Many books of the Bible deal with false prophets and false teachers. The church needs to hold their pastor to be accountable for not being one of these false teachers.
        I have not seen the grace and mercy of God in the charges brought against what I have said. If that is how you are as a pastor, I am glad that you are not my pastor. I would only stay under you to lead the lost elect that are under you to Christ.
        The true body of Christ is united. Otherwise God has not answered Jesus prayer. Jesus painted a picture while washing Peter feet. All of us, sometimes have a part of us that needs to be washed so that we can be in full fellowship of the body of Christ.
        If pastors would spend more time preaching, teaching God’s word, the goats would be uncomfortable and leave and you would have to deal with a lot less criticism. If the majority is goat, take the sheep and take care of them and leave the goats behind to criticize another pastor. Look up Jesus instructions to his disciples for when they were not well received by a city.
        I am surprised that if this forum is full of God fearing pastors, that there isn’t more of you understanding what I am trying to get across.

      • James Bowers says on

        Brian –

        Your comments are nonsensical and your communication skills are woeful. I agree with Marguerite. Time to move on. Something is not right with you.

      • Craig Giddens says on

        I was going to respond, but Marguerite’s comment pretty much says it all. You are clearly taking scripture out of context to prove some point of which none of us have yet to figure out.

  • Dan Blair says on

    #’s 6 and 7 are huge. I once had a retired Army major general in my church and at a meeting someone said that “people are complaining” about a particular issue. I saw the general getting redder and redder until he slammed his hand on the table and said, “don’t give me people! If it doesn’t have a name it’s not a problem.”

    • My Dad was a retired Army sergeant major, and he felt pretty much the same way. For the record, so do I. 🙂

  • The last part of ‘Dave’s’ comment comes across like a threat, despite the smiley face. I sincerely hope it wasn’t meant that way.
    I see both sides of the issue, as we attended a couple churches where the leaders (the churches were run like a family business) would allow no ‘criticism’ or even discussion of their ministry . Either you agreed with them or you were wrong/free to leave. Even other godly men in leadership who had a different perspective were quickly ousted. The result of this was the formation of a group of ‘yes-people’ who never disagreed with anything. This is a scary place to be as a pastor, IMO.
    We left these churches when we could no longer conscientiously stay/give tacit approval to what was going on. We gave ‘criticism’ very rarely, and were even commended by our former pastor because we were never a ‘squeaky wheel’. In fact, he said (rather reproachfully) that he had no idea we were struggling with his ministry so much because we ‘hadn’t said anything’ (we had multiple times, but this was ignored). You can’t win, apparently.
    I found it surprising that ‘most pastors are godly and honorable leaders’. I think it’s pretty clear biblically (see Matthew 7:13-23) that many people are not genuine believers, and from my experience, good pastors are very rare. I know that saying that could make a lot of people angry, but how can we sugar-coat the truth?
    I am not saying that there are no good pastors. We currently attend a very small church where our 2 pastors are amazing. One of the reasons they are so amazing is that they are in the minority. They are gracious, humble, and they do not bully people into silence who are asking genuine questions. Their humility also means that some people may take advantage of it (I pray that we will not!), by being exceptionally critical. But, I infinitely prefer a pastor who leaves himself vulnerable even to mean-spirited critiques than one who insulates himself from all criticism by creating a yes-culture, bullying people, and using all manner of manipulative/damaging tactics.
    What I want to do is encourage pastors to be kind, gracious, and never presume that people are going to treat you with the respect you deserve (I think sometimes we all forget that what we actually deserve is hell; God has instead shown us infinite kindness). If you (pastors) do this, you will appreciate the rare people who are gracious even more, and they will appreciate you (don’t think they won’t!)
    And to pastors who are actually doing this-one of the most difficult jobs on earth, to be a good pastor-, thank you! You are saving people like us from never stepping foot in another church again (as we have been tempted to many times). You are also helping to heal the scars of those of us who have been through exceptionally difficult, and sometimes even dangerous, experiences with other pastors; please be patient with us!

    • Elisa R says on

      Well said.

    • Dave’s comment sounded like a threat? Evidently you didn’t read the entire comment. A church member supposedly said he could see the pastor at home through the scope of his rifle. That sounded like a threat, and all Dave did was remind you that some pastors are not afraid to defend themselves.

    • Rose:

      “Came across” is how the things in Thom’s blog get started. A better idea: Ask; e.g., “Hey, Dave–was that a threat, even though the smily face?” Dave: “Rose, thanks for asking me–instead of assuming the worst. Answer: of course not; it was an accurate report of the reality everybody already knows–i.e., some pastors still know how to fight, due to their backgrounds. I am not one of them.” See, easy. Doing the right thing often is just that way–easy.



  • mike bean says on

    Some of the sharpest criticism/disagreements I have received have been in front of my wife. Not only can an inappropriate way of disagreeing with pastor cause consternation within his life, but it can also affect his relationship within his marriage and family.