On Sunday we had to the final step of Matthew 18:15-17. It was a painful thing to do to a person who is deeply loved by everyone in the church. After several attempts at trying to bring the person to repentance we were left with no other choice. I got to tell you the thought of getting up in front of the congregation and letting them know what is happening was one of the hardest things I have ever done in ministry. It wrecked me for a couple of days before and afterwards. What surprised me were the results of doing it.
Our congregation’s response floored me. I was overwhelmed with the responses of the people and how it affected them. I learned three things from this experience that every congregation desires. They desire to be lead, fed, and protected.
First is that every congregation wants to be lead. I know leadership is a huge topic in the church but I am not talking about vision here. People want to be lead through difficult times. They want their leader to take the reigns and lead them through the confusion, hurt, and questions. Leaders who slip into the background in these situations lose the trust of their people. Although it is difficult and attacks of fear are constant it is necessary for you to do it.
Secondly people want to be fed. I know you know I am not talking about physical food. What they want is God’s word explained to them and shown how to apply to their lives. As I went through Matthew 18:15-17 with our congregation they saw it played out in real life. This teaches them how to handle conflict, sin, and forgiveness in their lives.
Finally people want to be protected. They want to know their leaders is going to go to war for them and protect them from false teaching, people in blatant unrepentant sin, and situations that cause strife. This is the weakest area I see in most pastors. By nature we are not confrontational but Colossians 1:28 says we are to warn our people. This means we need to call people on their sin. When we do this our congregation feels safe and secure.
In just the short time since Sunday I have noticed all three of these results in play at our church. I lost count how many people thanked me for being a strong leader (even though at the moment I wasn’t feeling too strong). You could also notice distinct feeling of community after the services. This only comes when people understand God’s word and feel safe in the community they are in. Pastor please don’t be afraid to Lead, Feed, and Protect your congregation.