LIGHT A FIRE UNDER YOUR PASTOR
Coach Dave Daubenmire
March 13, 2008
I never knew that I would hit such a nerve. I was merely verbalizing what I had experienced over the past eight years.
Because of my last commentary “…And The Pulpits Are Silent I almost had to get a new internet server to handle all of the emails that came flooding in. Not ONE….I’ll say that again….not one disagreed with what I wrote. Now I know that not all of the readers agreed with me, but it says something when even the dissenters are mute. They usually LOVE to take me to task….but they were strangely silent on this issue.
I could share with you copies of emails that I received, but I don’t want to take up the space. Suffice it to say that nearly all of them were hungry for Biblical leadership.
Here is a stern warning to pastors. Write it off if you like. The folks in the pew are greatly dissatisfied. I hear it when I speak in churches and I hear it every time I write a commentary. George Barna tells us that churches are hemorrhaging members and sadly, the leadership wants to blame the sheep. A good coach never blames the players. The sheep are a reflection of the shepherd.
Pastors are coaches. They deal with people. Most successful coaches have a very firm set of fundamentals by which they operate. They are not running a popularity contest, they are leading a team. The best way to get your butt beat is to compromise on what you believe.
MANY have emailed me asking, “What should we do, Coach? Our pastor won’t preach the hard truth anymore. It is all the “feel-good” stuff. We are dying of starvation.”
I am often accused of pointing out problems but rarely offering solutions. Well, you asked for it, so I will tell you what I think.
This is risky because the “Church of the Status Quo” and her apostles are sure to attack you. They will accuse you of “criticizing the local church” and “church bashing.” But you should love them enough to tell them the Truth. President Lincoln said, “I do the best I know how; the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings us out wrong ten thousand angels swearing I was right will not make any difference."
Paul said it this way, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”
My dad was a great guy but little things used to drive him crazy. One of the things that used to bug him the most was when he would come home from the factory in the winter and the fire in the fireplace was barely burning. He would grab the poker and turn to one of us and say,
“How many times do I have to tell you that you can’t lay a big log on top of the fire or you will smother it? A big log will only burn if there is a good base of hot coals burning underneath. You can’t start a fire with a big log.”
So here is the analogy. (I’m sure my dad never dreamed his words would go around the world.)
The pastor is the log and those sitting in the pews are the kindling…the little wood that sets the big log on fire. For too long we have tried to convince the big log that he needed to catch on fire. Every time a spark was lit he would roll over and smother the flame. “Wild fire” is one thing the big logs hate. The big logs want “natural-gas” fires that they can control the flame on.
“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." --Samuel Adams.
Okay, Mr. Kindling-Wood, you have a decision you are going to have to make. Are you sick and tired enough to come out of your comfort zone and begin to set little brush- fires? If you are not willing to make a stand then you have no reason to complain. It is time to stop waiting on the big log to set the rest of you on fire. As my friend Pete, once said, “Our leaders will never see the light until we turn up the heat.”
Here are a few things to do to change the temperature in your church. (Warning: You will be called all kinds of names by your “brothers in Christ.” They will say you are “sowing discord amongst the brethren….that you shouldn’t bring politics into the church, and the worse name of all, "a resister.”
You’re not sowing discord. You are asking questions. It is a church body….not a monarchy. Pastors deserve your respect, not blind allegiance.