Becoming a Red Letter Pastor “Laying the Groundwork”

This is an excerpt from the second chapter of the book I’m presently working on “Becoming a Red Letter Pastor”.  I hope that you enjoy it and I hope as a pastor or church that you are callenged and inspired by it. God bless!

Becoming a Red Letter Pastor takes work.  It takes work particularly if you are dealing with your own misconceptions of what a Red Letter Pastor looks like and especially if you are leading a church that has misconceptions of what a pastor should be. What do I mean by this? Many men that seek the pastorate or that are thrust into it have seen an unbiblical leadership philosophy both in the world and sadly in the church.

I once called this difference in philosophy simply that, a difference, however, it is much more deadly than a simple difference of opinion it is unbiblical. It seems as if the church has been deceived regarding what a pastor should be. On one hand, as I will illustrate below they desire a heavy-handed authoritarian mini-god type of pastor. They won’t believe it’s “preachin” if it ain’t steppin on my toes. Of course they confuse true conviction of the Holy Spirit and accurate, Biblical exposition with abusive and caustic language directed at the sheep. The second type of church desires an effeminate, follower of popular opinion instead of a sensitive shepherd leader. This type of church eats up and spits out some good and godly men, making the Bride much less than she actually is and stunting her growth and effectiveness.

chaos in the churchOf the first type of church, I recently observed an online church service of a formerly prominent church in the Independent Baptist Movement. This poor bride has suffered years of abuse and neglect and “rock star” pastors. Their former pastor had fallen to pride and sexually assaulted a 16 year old victim of sexual abuse after establishing a counselling relationship with her. The details are horrific and the girl was deceived by someone that she was essentially taught to worship.  This is so troubling that I am heated just typing this. These types of pastors will SHOUT from their pulpits, that the church shouldn’t put them on a pedestal, then when they are not treated as though they are on that pedestal, they react like a two year old child that has had his favorite toy taken away. The church learns to walk on eggshells around this “man of god” afraid that they might offend him or worse GOD. I digress… this Bride was reeling from all of this mess and the mess of all of the years of poor theology concerning the pastors’ behavior and role. However this church had been brought up on the rock star pastor is a mini-god broth and so, when a visiting preacher came to fill the pulpit and verbally abused a member of the congregation, to my dismay and disappointment, I heard many “amens” from the others present in that service. By God’s grace, this church has by all accounts that I have heard, chosen a good and godly man to be their pastor.  He will have his work cut out for him as he tries to prove to this abused bride that what they have been suffering is not normal. That there is another way. A Biblical way.

Of the second type of church, I will refer to a church of a good friend of mine which he has gradually led out of the morass of leadership lethargy. This church had a board that felt it was their job to lead the pastor. For example, in order to choose a VBS curriculum, he had get the board’s approval, he had to jump through hoops and ultimately follow or fight the board every step of the way. This is a church that has no respect for the role or the man that they have agreed with God should be in that role. They take upon themselves the place of the pastor and forfeit what protection, leadership and guidance that God desires to give them, and so they wander around aimlessly without a strong godly pastor to lead them as God has ordained. Praise God for this pastor’s patient love of these sheep, that he has been able to work with them and now leads them well.


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