THE PASTOR AND HIS MEMBERS


A certain young man cried out recently. He had issues with his wife and she ran to her Pastor to seek counsel, he asked her to leave her husband. Her husband wasn’t abusive, he wasn’t battering her, it was the usual misunderstanding arising from two people which no matter how heavy it appears, is normal. The young woman left her husband based on Pastor’s instruction.

After a while, her husband got her into a discussion and they talked about her return but she said “I will ask my Pastor. If he permits me, I will return home.” As at the time of writing this, she isn’t back home yet, she wants to but Pastor has not spoken and she believes that loyalty to pastor supersedes loyalty to her husband which puts her loyalty to God under serious questioning.

To what extent does a Pastor have authority over members? Does being an organisational leader in itself signify that one is even worthy of submission? Is it God’s will that we submit absolutely to Pastors in a way that nothing is questionable? To understand what Christian leadership is and the limits in leadership, you may need to read some previous teachings I’ve done on that. They include

There are so much more but I carefully selected these ones.

With regards to the story above, how much authority do pastors have or are supposed to have over their members? Do members have a say? One of the popular quotes I’ve heard in the Christian circle over the years includes “you didn’t choose your Pastor, God did!” This statement is always used to cage people into unhealthy loyalty since it was God who made the choice for them.

First, let me say that God didn’t likely choose your Pastor for you, you did! They can be God’s will for you, they can also never be His will for you. Such a Pastor that destroys marriages isn’t God’s will for the woman, God obviously didn’t choose him for her. God has given us the ability to make choices including the choice of a Pastor especially when we don’t have one or when we find ourselves in ungodly and unhealthy pastoral care. The essence of being under the care of a minister, especially a Pastor is to learn and grow. The works of a Pastor ends in teaching you and encouraging you with God’s word. When it comes to your relationship with your pastor, here is what you must know and do.

1. REMEMBER YOUR PASTOR

Your Pastor is obviously someone who labour to bring God’s word to you. In some cases, they led you to Christ and in some cases, you submitted because you are hungry for the word. Anyone who isn’t bringing you God’s word isn’t your pastor, he may be a denominational leader but if you aren’t being taught by him, he isn’t your Pastor. Always have your Pastor in mind which may include honouring him with substances. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:7a (AMP)

“Remember your leaders who brought you the word of God.”

To remember means to keep an image in mind, to withhold yourself from forgetting something. In context, the writer of Hebrew was saying “always put into consideration and never forget those who labour to bring you the word.” Appreciation is one great way to express that we remember our Pastors. Appreciate those who labour to teach you the word, not just in words but in substance.

2. CONSIDER

Don’t follow a man just like that! You must consider the conducts of your Pastor, is it worthy of emulation? Is it worthy of his office? Now, I am not saying that every mistake of a Pastor is an indication that he is false but a Pastor should largely and strictly lead a godly life. Every result of their conduct has to be examined, their words have to be examined and their stand has to be examined.

When a Pastor brings words to you, it is your duty to consider if those are the words of God. When men of God speak to you or even instruct you on something, it is your duty to discern and know when it is the mind of God for you. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:7b (AMP)

“CONSIDER the result of their CONDUCT”.

3. IMITATE THEIR FAITH, NOT THEIR FLAWS

Pastors are human, they are like you and they have desires just like you. A pastor can make mistakes even though the office of the Pastor requires extra efforts. The mistakes of a pastor aren’t enough reason to withdraw your commitment to him, it is not enough reason to brand him evil! However, never imitate his mistakes and never glorify it.

The only thing permissible of imitation in ministers of the gospel and leaders is their faith! In context, this means their “zeal, commitment and absolute reliance on God”. This was why Paul wrote, “imitate me as I imitate Christ.” This means that as we follow our Christian leaders, we shouldn’t follow them into error! The Bible continues in Hebrews 13:7

“IMITATE their FAITH” – HEBREWS 13:7 AMP

4. OBEY AND SUBMIT TO THEM

Obedience and submission go hand in hand. What does it mean to obey and submit? First, without obedience, you cannot reap off the fruits of your Pastors, their words will be like seeds planted on the rock. Disobeying them means hardening your heart and making it less fertile for their teachings to take effect.

To submit means to willingly recognise their authority and affirm it, not as hype but with sincerity. You must understand that as a believer, you need a Pastor, God works with them to ensure you are matured. As long as we live on earth, maturity isn’t complete which means as long as you stay in this world, you need a Pastor.

If you want to get the most out of any leadership, you must willingly obey and submit. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:17 (AMP)

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls and continually guarding your spiritual welfare as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief and groans, for this would be of no benefit to you.”

The major reason you should submit and obey your pastors is that it makes discipleship very easy, how can a teacher teach you with grief? When your Pastors don’t Pastor you with joy, you won’t benefit anything from them. However, obedience in this sense simply means giving heed to the word of God and godly counsel that they bring to you.

As a Christian with the Holy Spirit in you, you need discernment to know when it’s God speaking. When the words of the Pastor is not in alignment with the truth of God’s word, you’ve got to obey God. When obeying your Pastor means disobeying God, you’ve got to obey God.

For example, the Bible instructs us to honour our father and mother but it is clear that honour here is to be in accordance with what God permits. We were warned against worshipping the false gods of our parents and threading the wrong paths they took! In our story, we see a woman leave her husband because Pastor asked her to but God definitely wouldn’t want that in all ramifications. Obedience to her pastor, in this case, is disobedience to God. This isn’t the kind of submission God permits. Our submission to others is to the extent of what God permits.

There are times God would ask you to do something specific and it is possible that even your pastor will not encourage it. It is not wrong to have certain convictions that your pastor doesn’t welcome, you aren’t a robot who has no understanding of its own.

5. PRAY FOR PASTORS AND MINISTERS

A lot of pastors want to do what is right but find themselves taking sides with the flesh because it seems to promise instant gratification. To this regard, a pastor can make mistakes. Your duty is to pray for them in earnest.

To pray earnestly means to devote a considerable degree of time in praying for your pastor in all seriousness. They have a lot of battles going on in their lives, sometimes they are pressured to please people, they are pressured to please self, they are pressured to enjoy what isn’t forthcoming and they are faced with lots of temporal challenges resulting to sacrifices they have made.

To be a pastor is not an easy feat, don’t just look at what a Pastor seems to be enjoying now, look back to when they started! I have been privileged to pastor young people, I understand what it feels like to be there. People usually thought I was enjoying money because I always dress fine, smile, listen to everyone and never talk about my problems. I was single-handedly footing the ministry bills, I couldn’t raise a single fund because I didn’t have the audacity to do that! It would have been worse if I didn’t have a job then.

I remember the criticism I faced even from elders. Most of my good intentions were grossly misunderstood, I have my own share of pressure including a time I nearly lied just to raise some money for the ministry. This and many more are the reasons you should always pray for your pastor. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:18-19 (AMP)

“Keep praying for us, for we are convinced that we have a good conscience, seeking to conduct ourselves honourably in all things.”

Don’t just pray for your Pastors, also pray for ministers and ministries all over the world. Pray for me too and call me by name in your prayers.

Blessings.

7 WAYS TO DEAL WITH SINNING PASTORS


In our previous discussion where we considered if we can take actions against a sinning elder, we saw that it isn’t out of place. What are the right actions to take? How do we take actions? Does the Bible offer us a guideline on how to take actions against a sinning elder? Let’s look at these few guidelines. These steps apply to every Christian but also shows us how to confront a sinning elder.

1. PRIVATE CONFRONTATION & CORRECT JUDGEMENT

When you notice an elder is sinning, you may be greatly disturbed, it is okay that you may struggle to let go or you may be struggling to come in terms with the fact that an elder sinned against you and God but there is a way to settle these issues in the Church which is the same way you settle issues with other believers. The Bible says in Proverbs 27:6

“Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”

It is your responsibility to confront someone you caught in sin and speak the truth to him or her in love (Ephesians 4:15). You don’t have to harbour their wrongs in your heart or go around making news out of it. You have to confront them privately for what they did! No matter how painful your rebuke may be to them, it is better than the praises they receive from people who never dared to approach them. The Bible says in Galatians 6:1

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”

Look carefully, the Bible isn’t talking about just a onetime mistake but a habitual sin! When you discover someone has been caught up in sin, the first thing you do is to confirm your assumptions without wrongly judging him or her and when your assumptions are true, you should seek to restore such a person in a gentle manner and with a heart full of love while you watch yourself to ensure you don’t get trapped too! The judgment that Jesus condemned is gossip, slander and sentimental judgments. The Bible says in John 7:24

“Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”

We can judge things right when we do a careful and biblical evaluation of the situation. We shouldn’t just jump up and start taking sides based on appearance and things that appeal to the emotions, we must look beneath the surface. This is also how we are careful so that we don’t eventually go into sin while trying to help another. When you have confronted someone privately for his wrongs and he continues with it, take the second step.

2. INVOLVE A THIRD OR FEW MORE PARTY

The next biblical step to take is not to broadcast it to the world! You should involve two or three persons as the Bible says in Matthew 18:16 and encourage him out of that sin. These two persons could even be witnesses or Church executives. Your visit to the elder isn’t a sign of disloyalty but a portrayal of love for him and the people committed to his care. He may not even understand that it but that’s alright. If this elder continues in the wrong ways then the third step is necessary.

3. INVOLVE CHURCH ELDERS

In some Churches these days, there aren’t multiple elders who the Pastor is accountable to. When you have confronted an elder (or Pastor) with few executives and he insists on living the way he wants, you may have to involve the senior Pastor or the Pastors he is submitting to in the case if he is the Senior Pastor of your congregation. The leadership are to take up the matter and discipline the elder. But if he admits he’s wrong, you must stop on this step.

4. LET THE ELDERS FAULT BE MADE PUBLIC

When an elder has refused to change and keeps on sinning the Bible recommends in 1 Timothy 5:20

“But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.”

Many times, the sins of elders will go on influencing those he is leading. He may not even know that a lot of people already knows about his sexual misconduct or his tendencies to always write off money from the church purse for his personal use and he wouldn’t even be aware that he is wrongly influencing various other persons. The Bible recommends that such an elder should be rebuked publicly! Another instance is when an elder makes a public declaration that is totally against the word, the correction should be made public too and not private. This step would humble him and make him steer back to the right path, on the other hand, it will also correct those who had assimilated the wrong teachings.

5. LET HIM LEAVE THE FELLOWSHIP OR THE LEADERSHIP

If the elder had continued in that sinful way after all efforts have been made to address his issues and he insists on living the way he wants, he should come down from that leadership position and also be shown the way out of that fellowship. Now, this is very difficult for a Church organization where the elder happens to be the senior pastor and also happens to assume the highest authority where he isn’t accountable to the members of the Church or even the leadership board. The essence of leaving or coming down from his position as a Pastor is because he would continue influencing other loyalists, he would also continue using the resources of that ministry to shield himself. Concerning this kind of disciplinary action, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5

“It is reported that there is sexual sin among you. I’m told that a man is sleeping with his father’s wife. Even people who don’t know God won’t let that kind of sin continue. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you be very sad instead? Shouldn’t you have thrown out of your church the man doing this? Even though I am not right there with you, I am with you in spirit. And because I am with you in spirit, I have already judged the man doing this. I have judged him in the name of our Lord Jesus. So when you come together, I will be with you in spirit. The power of our Lord Jesus will also be with you. When you come together like this, hand this man over to Satan. Then the power of sin in his life will be destroyed. His spirit will be saved on the day the Lord returns.”

When you study this passage carefully, you will discover that the man in question has been confronted and even reported to the Church elders in that congregation but because nothing could be done and the sin continued, it was reported to Paul by concerned persons and he asked them to throw him out of Church by the authority of Jesus. Paul instructed that they hand him over to Satan. He didn’t mean that the Church has a deal with Satan, what he was saying is “throw him out of fellowship into the world where Satan rules there system.” Although it sounded tough and harsh, it was a disciplinary action that would drive that person back because he wouldn’t want to stay out there in the world after having a taste of the freedom from sin that Christ has given us. By throwing the person out, he is further disciplined by God in a way He deems it fit. The Bible also says in Titus 3:10-11:

“Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.”

6. PRAY FOR HIM, FORGIVE AND MOVE ON

After he has been thrown out, you have done your part and God is pleased with you. If you are a victim of his wrongs, you can forgive him, pray for him and move on with your life allowing God to deal with him His way. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:6

“For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

The Bible also says in Psalms 94:12

“Blessed is the man You discipline, O LORD, and teach from Your law.”

Always ensure that your motive towards him isn’t to see him punished for his wrongs but to get him restored by God and to send signals to others to desist from such actions.

7. SEEK THE HELP OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES

If the issue you faced from a Church elder is that which involves physical violence, death threat, rape and so on, it may not be out of place to quickly seek the help of the Police or other law enforcement agencies in your locality. The reason is simple, to prevent him from hurting others, to give him the privilege of seeing how terrible his actions are in the face of the law. While you do this, you may also need to keep others informed about the step you are taking. Concerning the government officials including the various arms of government, the Bible says in Romans 13:3-4

“For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the one in authority? Then do what is right, and you will have his approval. For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not carry the sword in vain. He is God’s servant, an agent of retribution to the wrongdoer.”

Some conducts aren’t what can be fixed right in the Church, some are conducts that bring about the danger in the society and you are doing the right thing by quickly reporting to the law enforcement agencies. They are also God’s agent of retribution to the wrongdoer.

Meanwhile, when an elder or just any Christian admit their wrong and apologizes publicly, showing genuine repentance, they can be welcomed back to the congregation, given some time for godly restoration and assimilated back into leadership after they had taken time to prove that they are qualified for that position.

This is how I believe sinning elders should be handled in the Church as it is the principles of discipline I found in the Bible. Next time, we will be looking at how a Pastor should seek forgiveness, healing and restoration.

God bless you.

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SHOULD WE IGNORE SINFUL CHURCH PASTORS?


Should we ignore sinful pastors?

Don’t be shocked when a Pastor, Deacon or Bishop is caught in sin. It is not new, it has been happening a long time ago. Sometimes, they are wrongly accused, sometimes their past catches up with them, sometimes it was just a mistake and sometimes they are habitually and willingly engaging in it. First, they are humans and they have those tendencies just like every human. But then, that isn’t an excuse because there is a guideline for those who desire that office and they are supposed to strictly abide by those guidelines.

Many people usually believe that when an Elder or a teacher in Church is being criticized over a statement or an action, it is a fight against the Church but on the other hand, it may not be. Anyone who has been set above others in some sense will always attract public praise or public criticism. If you have no problem with public praise, you shouldn’t have a problem with public criticism. If you are a leader that people looks up to, you are part of their business and therefore you shouldn’t feel some people aren’t minding their business when they make a public discourse of you. Concerning this, the Bible says in James 3:1:

“Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

You don’t expect people to react to the misdeeds of a leader or instructor less than they would have done towards a commoner. So much is required of Elders and leaders. Although the requirements should apply to all, these special requirements are heavy on elders and leaders in the Church. The reason is that people will usually be modelled after the leaders who are icons in society and therefore should set an example that is beneficial to the body of Christ. The office of Elders and Church leaders is a very peculiar one that must be threaded carefully. Concerning anyone desiring this office, the Bible says

“…Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.  Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,  not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.  He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[ respect.  (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders so that he will not fall into disgrace and the devil’s trap.”

Being an elder is a noble task and it is worthy of desire! However, the above verse shows us how much is required of a person who desires this office. He must be morally sound and above all must have a good reputation with outsiders which includes unbelievers. This verse also indicates that a bad reputation can bring the minister into disgrace and the devil’s trap! This is the same reason why James wrote that the elder or teacher is judged with much more strictness. Now, how do we handle a sinning elder? How do we respond when an elder is going through discipline as a result of wrong deeds?

Sometimes, God rebukes a straying son by various means. His rebuke is that of love and He doesn’t leave him in the wilderness to die! He brings him back to his senses but also takes him back home. We can do the same by praying for other believers who are caught up in the web of mistakes and wickedness. We all know what the works of the flesh are but we also know that the works of the Spirit include love. As much as we admit a problem, and allow people to have a taste of rebuke sometimes, we must also accord them the opportunity to heal and become better!

A loving father may beat a child for doing wrong but he draws the child back and say “I hate to see you cry but I had to do it for your good.” Someone may beat up a sinning child not because she wants to bring this child to his senses but because she wants to leverage on that opportunity to vent her anger on the child. In the same manner, when a leader is caught up in the web of sin, certain people would use it as an opportunity to display their hatred while some others persons may be asking for discipline because of their love for the Church of Jesus Christ and their desire to see this leader or elder get restored.

Out of emotion, we often rob people of their period of rebuke and discipline! When I want to discipline my child, I will see anyone who tries to stop me as an enemy to my child! You can’t love my child more than I do and therefore your emotions may make you feel uneasy to watch me discipline my child while I am being compelled by love to make my child better. This is how it is between us and God. God may have given us several opportunities to change our ways from doing the wrong thing and we kept ignoring it. To help fix us and get us back right on track, God may have to discipline us with His kind of rod. God’s rod serves as a guiding tool which brings comfort after we have been rebuked! The Psalmist said in Psalms 23:24

“…or you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

It is not an act of love when we see someone going through God’s purifying fire and try dragging them out of it. We aren’t just fighting God, we are not helping that fellow. How do we handle a sinning elder; that is, an elder who commits sins that would distract others and cause factions in the body without repentance? Not about an elder who did something wrong a time ago but an elder who is habitually sinning? How do we handle it? Do we fall for the “do not judge” mantra or do we allow him or her go through God’s disciplinary process?

Sometimes, when God is disciplining someone dear to us, it doesn’t look amazing but God is simply in the process of restoring that fellow. When an elder is found doing something wrong, keeping quiet and hiding it under the carpet is not a show of love, some steps must be taken to ensure that he or she is restored. Remember, the only reason to rebuke and take disciplinary actions on elders especially is that we love them and want them restored. Certain people will not stop doing wrong until a strong action has been taken against their actions.

When we take actions against a sinning elder, we often hear things like “don’t judge a servant of God, let God judge His servants.” if this is true, how do we examine a false teacher? How do we consider someone qualified for ministry? Why would the Bible offer us rich guidelines on church leadership? Even Moses was taken out of leadership when he went against God’s will but then we would argue that it was under the law. What did the Bible say in the New Testament?

“Do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is confirmed by two or three witnesses. Those who sin should be reprimanded in front of the whole church; this will serve as a strong warning to others. I solemnly command you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus and the highest angels to obey these instructions without taking sides or showing favouritism to anyone.” 1 Timothy 5:19-21

Taking actions against a sinning leader or elder in the Church isn’t out of place as long as the motive is to save him from continuing, give them time for healing and get them restored. Being a leader, elder or bishop doesn’t keep us immune from disciplinary actions. As bad as it looks at times, this is an important way of keeping the Church environment safe for other Christians including new converts and a way of saving us from what is destructive. 

Are you looking for the right way to take actions against a sinning elder and sometimes a sinning Christian? Read our next article “7 WAYS TO DEAL WITH SINNING PASTORS”

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ABOUT PASTORS | Do we need them?


I needed to do a little teaching on this because of the recent occurrences that put a kind of distrust between Christians and Church leaders. For example, there are issues of a Pastor allegedly abusing a member or a Pastor allegedly defrauding the members and getting richer while the members are getting poorer and then people keep asking, do we need Pastors and other ministers? Do we need these leaders since we can sit at home, study God’s word and grow on our own? Do we keep subjecting ourselves to these manipulations by leaders? Why don’t we just break free from them? Another reason you may also feel a pastor isn’t needed is when you are convinced personally about something and most Pastors aren’t convinced about it like the issue of tithing, first fruit and the rest. So, the boiling question remains “do we need Pastors?”

First of all, we must note that every believer is a minister regardless of their calling, vocation and passion! The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:18

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”

God didn’t just unite us with Himself, He also gave us a task to tell others who aren’t yet aware of what He is doing. This can take place in your office, in the school, in the mall, on social media and through various other means. You don’t need any kind of ordination to partake in this ministry and you may also not need anyone’s permission to preach Jesus to people. In this regard, I want you to understand that everyone could be preachers of Jesus but not everyone can be teachers. To preach in this regard means to advocate and proclaim about Jesus and the salvation He brings but to teach means to instruct and impart knowledge.

As believers and of course ministers of the gospel, we all need to always be skilled in the task given to us. That we have been called and given the ability to reconcile men to God doesn’t mean we have automatically mastered the craft. Therefore, we need people who can impart knowledge and instruct us by the direction of the Holy Spirit. While the Bible records that God has called us all into the ministry of reconciliation, the Bible also says in Ephesians 4:11

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,”

The Bible goes further to tell us why God has placed certain people in these offices which is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,” you see that? While God has called each and every one of us into the ministry but He has also continued giving people higher callings so that they can equip us to be able to carry out the work that God has given to us.”

The problem often lies in what we make up of this. God hasn’t given anyone special access to Himself more than He has given to every believer. God doesn’t answer the prayers of a Pastor more than He answers that of other believers, God doesn’t hear a Prophet faster than He hears other believers. The calling of these ministers isn’t to stand in between you and God and to receive from God for you. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:18

“Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.”

Everyone in every status and orientation can come to the Father through the Spirit of Christ! The Bible never said we can come to the Father through any Pastor, Evangelist and so on. The outlined duty of these ministers is to perfect the Saints and they themselves are also perfected as they submit to the ministry of other Elders and the cycle continues. The Pastor is not called to take the place of Jesus in the lives of believers, He is called to actually explain what Jesus has done and how it can benefit the believer both in ministry and everyday application. It will be an abuse of Spiritual authority for ministers to actually take the place of Jesus in the lives of others.

In a sense, the Pastor is not called to be in control of the believers’ lives, he isn’t called to decide and take preeminence over the entire life of people. The duty of the Pastor is to give instructions, to guide and to lead. The model of leadership of Pastors isn’t that of a boss-staff relationship but servant leadership (John 13:13-16). The authority of a Pastor isn’t unquestionable and so is your loyalty to a Pastor. This is so because you must be able to draw the line in the case of when a leader stops leading you right. This is what the Bible means when it says in 1 John 2:27

“As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains on you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you the truth. But since his anointing teaches you about all things (it’s true and not a lie), remain in relationship to him just as he taught you.”

The Bible wasn’t saying you shouldn’t be taught by other people rather you should be able to discern what you are being taught when you maintain a firm relationship with Jesus. As much as a Pastor has been anointed to lead and equip you, it is Jesus that works through him or her and when anyone restrains the Holy Spirit from working through them and therefore goes on to teach and act by their flesh, you can always know when to step out if you are in a strong relationship with Jesus. One way this happens is to continue meditating on God’s word and allowing the Holy Spirit to shed more light on the word. John never wrote the above to discourage people from being taught, he was enlightening them concerning the false teachers and there is no way we can discern the truth if we only end up listening to Pastors without having to go back to Jesus to make things very clear for us.

One example we find in the Bible is these group of people referred to as the Berean Jews (Act 17:11). These were Jews who lived in the city of Berea in Macedonia and the Bible records that each day Paul comes to them to teach them the word, they receive these words with the readiness of mind! They don’t receive it with contempt but with joy and gladness but one thing about them is this; after Paul finish teaching them, they would go back home and start searching their scriptures and perhaps reading those places Paul quoted to really understand and discern if Paul was teaching them the truth. They were referred to as noble people because of this attitude! These kinds of people will not be tossed around by every wind of doctrine.

Pastors are no more special than you are and they are not more spiritual than you are but the truth is that whenever God calls these people, He also strengthens them for the task! Their commitment to what they have been called to do will help make you a better Christian and it will help make you serve better. They are authorities in their field which doesn’t mean they are superior to you as a believer. While we are all believers and equal in Christ, you must acknowledge the authority of their office so that you can receive of them and grow in maturity. It is God using them to make you better and sometimes to train you so that at the right time, you may also be called into that capacity.

If you are very skilled in a certain career, you would become an authority in that career in the sense that many people who want to venture into that career would always come to you for training, counsel and coaching. In the same way, some Pastor has become really very skilled in their ministry that may demand you to seek their counsel and teachings as regards to Spiritual matters to some degree. Because their calling is to perfect you for the work of the ministry, the area you always need their counsel is that which has to do with the work of the ministry.

You may not need a Pastor to make a career choice for you, you may not need a Pastor to choose a spouse for you, you may not need a Pastor to counsel you in marriage and relationships, you may not need a Pastor to coach you in business and academics. We never saw such in the Bible because these things have nothing to do with their calling as Pastors. However, you may need their opinion in these things if you perceive that aside from the calling they already have that they possess wisdom in these areas either through experience or professional studies. There are medical doctors who eventually became Pastors, therefore you could leverage on their medical expertise too but that doesn’t mean that once a person becomes your Pastor, he begins to rule every area of your life. Pastors are not rulers, they are basically teachers and leaders.

You should always be able to know where to draw the line in listening to a teacher. No matter how many times you have listened to a Pastor, always develop the habit of going back to the scriptures and asking the Lord to confirm His words. Not because you don’t trust Pastors but because you know they are just like you and they can communicate their personal views out of excitement and it doesn’t make them fake except when they are consciously leading people astray and teaching things that are alien to the body of Christ. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:14

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”

Your Pastor can be wrong and he can go astray. You shouldn’t go astray with him.

Having known the call of a Pastor, it is also very important to know that Pastors are not superhuman and you shouldn’t make them one by treating them as one. The best behaviour of a Pastor is not what you see on a Sunday morning and you shouldn’t expect perfection from them just as you aren’t physically perfect on your own. It is true that ministers of the gospel should be of good reputation but every Christian should be of good reputation too as we are all ministers. Pastors are first of all human and normal people just like you! This is why it is important that you channel your loyalty to the vision they carry and most times, not necessarily their personality. This will help you to still stick to the God-given vision even when it seems they aren’t running in it again themselves. No matter how much a Pastor know, don’t always believe they automatically practice all of it without some efforts.

The reason you should know that Pastors are normal people too is so that you don’t fall off the cliff when they mess up and so that you do not judge the body of Christ with the character of any Pastor. In fact, when a Pastor messes up, it doesn’t mean the vision they are running is flawed, it means they are also naturally flawed men who must strive to live in harmony with the workings of God in their Spirit. You get hungry, they also get hungry! You feel sick sometimes, they also feel sick. You lack at times, they also lack! The call for honour isn’t a call to be overtly controlled by the Pastor, it is a call to acknowledge their office and what God is doing with them. You can’t receive so much from who you despise.

A Pastor shouldn’t present himself as better than those committed to him and he should be accountable to the body of Christ. The Pastor isn’t assistant Jesus and if there would be anything like that, every believer will equally occupy that position but we are something more than that. It is also important that in following your Pastor, you follow him not because you trust his person but because you trust the one who called him into that office. You don’t follow anyone blindly and when you notice some attitudes about a Pastor that isn’t godly or that may put you in danger, trust your instincts and avoid him.

So is there a way you could stay without a Pastor? Is there a way you can start quitting fellowships and it wouldn’t matter? Should you quit Church because a Pastor erred? Well, I understand from the Bible that Pastors are given for training, they train us to be able to become effective ministers. By this, you should belong to an assembly with Pastors where you are taught God’s word and if anything should make you consider leaving that assembly, you should look for another Bible-believing and Bible-teaching assembly. The essence is growth and therefore you still need a Pastor! Pastors may err, don’t err with them and don’t even endorse it. Concerning habitual sinning elders (Pastors) the Bible says in 1 Timothy 5:19

“Do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is confirmed by two or three witnesses. Those who sin should be reprimanded in front of the whole church; this will serve as a strong warning to others.”

Pastors occupy very sensitive positions just like every leader anywhere in the world and therefore they can easy targets to blackmails and accusations. However, the Bible says that when an accusation is made, it should be investigated and confirmed. Nobody is above training, correction and rebuke including the Pastors. This should tell you more that Pastors are just like you and may have issues just like you but because of their position and influence, they should exercise a great deal of discipline.

That one Pastor messed up doesn’t mean all Pastors mess up! There are still people who didn’t force themselves into that role, men who are still morally sound and sincere in carrying out the task given to them by God! Not all Pastors have bowed down to the trend, not all Pastors want to defraud you and not all Pastors play emotional and manipulative tricks on women. There are still genuine people carrying out the divine assignment. As long as you are following Christ, as long as you are following the vision Christ has given to men who can also err, you shouldn’t be deterred by their wrongs because your eyes aren’t on them but on Jesus.

~ George O.N

Raped At Seventeen By George Onyedikachukwu Nnadozie
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JESUS, THE DONKEY AND PRIVATE JET


Let me start with a disclaimer.

The intent of this writing is not to endorse whether preachers should ride on a private jet or not. This is simply to address the common statement some people use to justify ownership of private jet by Pastors. Let it be noted that I have not said it is right or wrong for Pastors to own Private jets, I am only here to clarify a certain story in the Bible in Matthew 21:1-11, which many private jet owners and their supporters use to justify it which to me is very wrong and a misrepresentation of who Jesus is and what He stands for.

It is a common thing to hear people say “if Jesus was on earth today, He would not ride a donkey but a private Jet.” But I think that statement does not represent Jesus or the significance of His entry into Jerusalem. To make such a statement would mean that Jesus was looking for luxury or convenience when He rode a donkey but that is not true and in fact, we would be surprised to find out from the Bible that the opposite is the case. Here are some few facts I would want us to note down before we continue.

  1. Jesus wasn’t riding on a donkey, He rode on the donkey just on the occasion of entering Jerusalem.
  2. Jesus didn’t own the donkey. The donkey was borrowed for His use.
  3. Jesus used the donkey for a reason opposite of what people assume in this modern age. He wasn’t looking for luxury.

“To make such a statement would mean that Jesus was looking for luxury or convenience when He rode a donkey but that is not true and in fact, we would be surprised to find out from the Bible that the opposite is the case.”

UNMASKING DEPRESSION | New Book By George O.N

What exactly does Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem on donkey signify? In Israel, kings and warriors rode on horses and horses were very expensive at those times. They only ride on donkeys when they are coming in peace so as not to send wrong signals of war. The donkey was usually for agricultural purposes and also for ease of transport among common people. What many people don’t know today is that donkeys at those times were lowly animals and never in any way showcased luxury. If Jesus wanted a luxurious entrance into Jerusalem, He wouldn’t ride on a donkey but on a horse or even chariot!

Concerning Jesus coming into Jerusalem on a donkey, Zechariah made a prophecy in Zechariah 9:9 which says  “Behold, your king comes to you, triumphant and victorious. He is humble and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.” I want us to note something very important here. He said the king comes triumphant and victorious but then He said: “He is humble and riding on an ass…” The coming of Jesus into Jerusalem on a donkey was a display of humility and not a showcase of greatness as the world will want to interpret it. In verse 10 of the same passage we see something very significant again which says “I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Let’s understand this in a few points.

Jesus came in humility which the donkey signifies. His entry into Jerusalem on a donkey instead of a horse signified peace. He wasn’t coming to conquer, He was coming with Peace as He is the King of Peace. Riding on a donkey also showed He came to connect with common people instead of kings and religious leaders. But there is another significant aspect of this story that we have not looked at before.

UNMASKING DEPRESSION | New Book By George O.N

“Jesus came in humility which the donkey signifies. His entry into Jerusalem on a donkey instead of a horse signified peace.”

We know that certain things in the Old Testament were types and shadows of what Christ was coming to do (Colossians 2:17). Isaac in the Bible was a type of Jesus and when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his only begotten son, Isaac rode on a donkey with his father to be sacrificed (Genesis 22:3). We also know the story of the good Samaritan who of course represents Jesus, the Bible says he rode on a donkey. Jesus wasn’t riding on a donkey to showcase wealth or even showcase kingship in the way earthly kings would. Everything about Jesus riding on a donkey exemplified humility, peace and acceptance of common people.

To say that Jesus would ride a private Jet today because He rode on a donkey in those days is a careless statement and gross misinterpretation of the message of the Bible. Jesus showcased a life of humility that is opposite of what many people experience today and if today was to be that day in which Jesus rode a donkey, He would still ride on a donkey. I also understand that people are meant to believe that Jesus was poor that we might be rich and so some would want to interpret it that way saying “since Jesus rode on a lowly donkey, He did it so that we might ride on a private jet.” That is still not true because Jesus becoming poor that we might be rich means something different. Jesus said in Matthew 20:28 “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” It was in the laying down of His life that we might live that He became poor that we might become rich. The Bible wasn’t talking about material prosperity.

UNMASKING DEPRESSION | New Book By George O.N

“To say that Jesus would ride a private Jet today because He rode on a donkey in those days is a careless statement and gross misinterpretation of the message of the Bible.”

Jesus didn’t ride on a donkey with the view of having the luxury of life. If Jesus wanted to enjoy comfort, He surely would have used the money in the treasury to get a full chariot of horses but no! Jesus rode on a borrowed donkey to showcase humility! He didn’t borrow this donkey while He was going about preaching in very far places, He didn’t want comfort as He taught and acted the message of the kingdom! He rode into Jerusalem to fulfil a prophecy. When Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, He asked them to showcase the same level of humility to others.

Now, it is clear that if Jesus was on earth; if today was that day that He triumphantly entered Jerusalem which led to His crucifixion, He would still ride on a borrowed lowly animal and not on a horse, a chariot, a G-wagon or even a private jet. Is it wrong to ride on a jet? I have not said that; at least not yet but it is absolutely wrong and deceitful to say that the reason some should ride Jet as preachers even while so many people under them are hungry is that Jesus rode on a donkey and would ride on a jet if He was on earth today.

Jesus showed us the path of humility and we have to imitate Him in that regard. This may not be a popular opinion but of course, the truth isn’t always a popular opinion.

~ God bless you.

 UNMASKING DEPRESSION | New Book By George O.N
UNMASKING DEPRESSION | New Book By George O.N