Have You Talked to Your Pastor About That?
She was not happy with the new church music director. Her parents had been hearing it from her for days. She finally told her parents she was planning to quit after this coming Sunday’s service. She loved to sing and taking part in her church’s music ministry, but the church had recently hired a new music director, and she felt the new director was too strict, too hard, and introducing new music styles she was not used to. She determined she was quitting the music department.
“Have you talked to your pastor about this?” her dad asked.
“No,” came her reply.
“You’re not doing anything about this until you talk to the pastor first,” was her dad’s final response.
That conversation did not go the way she hoped it would. Her pastor asked her to agree to stay on for six months and give the new music director time. Thankfully, she submitted to her pastor’s wishes and eventually formed a strong, lasting friendship with her church music director.
This story really took place in 1998 and the girl in this story is my wife, Mendy. She learned a valuable lesson during this season of her life about her relationship with her pastor. We both grew up in pastors’ homes. It’s not easy to draw the line between your parent and spiritual leader when they are one and the same. Then again, I saved myself a whole second conversation when I needed to discuss something with both my father and my pastor. So, I guess it did have its advantages.
I was recently approached by a young man in our church who decided to ask his girlfriend to marry him and he was making me aware of his intentions. After smiling and hugging him, I quickly gave him some key steps to ensure he had a blessed marriage: 1) talk first to his parents about it and get their blessing; 2) talk to his girlfriend’s parents and get their blessing; 3) talk to his pastor and get his blessing; 4) then—and not until then—plan a time to propose. I explained if he just goes and proposes without allowing his pastor the honor of speaking into his life beforehand, he can really put his pastor in an awkward position. After he followed the first step of talking to his own family and getting their blessing, his parents’ next words were, “Have you talked to your pastor about this?” I appreciate this young man following through and beginning this journey with his new bride by seeking the blessing and direction of his pastor.
Your relationship with your pastor is one of the most important relationships in your life. In today’s world, not much weight is given to it, but it is essential to your spiritual walk with God. Not every temptation or difficulty you may face is dealt with directly in God’s Word. The Bible plainly warns against drinking alcohol in Leviticus 10:9 but does not address cocaine or heroin. We need a pastor who will help us understand the application of God’s Word to all parts of our lives concerning all things.
Your pastor is watching out for your soul. It is wise when facing a crossroads or making major life-changing decisions to allow your pastor to speak into your life first. Too many times, I’ve been made aware of something happening in a saint’s life after they have made their decision. When they come asking my blessing, I’m sometimes put in an awkward position that could have been avoided if counsel was sought before action was taken.
Also, be careful when using the phrase, “I believe it’s the will of God” for something you feel strongly about. As pastor, when someone uses that phrase with me about something they are wanting to do that I don’t feel good about, they suddenly shut me up because apparently, it’s the “will of God.” And I respect the will of God too much to speak against it. If I speak against it as their pastor, then logically this puts me in the wrong. Oddly enough, I’ve seen enough people pursue these endeavors in the “will of God” only to later change their minds to pursue something else. Remember, the will of God is not fickle, so please don’t use that phrase casually to reinforce your decision.
Hebrews 13:17 sums up your relationship with your pastor in the best way: “obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Every believer needs a pastor in their lives! So, the next time you’re dealing with major life decisions, remember this question, “Have you talked to your pastor about that?”
Chad Flowers is married to his best friend and teammate, Mendy. He’s a daddy to two incredible little girls, Jadyn and Keira, and one son, Chandler. He lives in Mesquite, Texas where he has a private practice as a licensed professional counselor and serves as pastor of Emmanuel Pentecostal Church.