So... You Want to Make Your Church Sick (2)!!
Proverbs 13:10 (NIV)
10 Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
Proverbs 13:10 (NLT)
10 Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.
If you are a newly-arrived pastor one sure way of stirring up the troops (members) is to give the impression that you know exactly what needs to be done and do not need anyone’s advice. Make a few changes without consulting any of the people who have been the backbone of the church for many years, and who will probably keep it going – repairing the damage you have done – after you have gone! It may be that those changes needed to be made, and the decision you have announced was truly the only option; the failure to take advice – even if that is only a formality – is bound to stir up a whole lot of conflict.
You can create even more conflict if you make changes that do not need to be made; you are simply making your mark on the church by altering systems established by your predecessor. Give the people the idea that your predecessor, although he was a good man, did not really measure up in a number of ways. You don’t have to itemize his flaws; just make some vague references aimed in his direction without coming right out and naming him. Members will get the message. Make sure you do not say any good word about him!
Always set the agenda yourself for any leaders’ meetings. Do not allow anything to be raised unless you want to talk about it; if leaders want to raise issues that might cause some discomfort to you, simply tell them that you don’t want to discus that at the moment. Be very vague about when the matter might be discussed. This is always wonderful stuff for the process of making your church ill.
I have addressed this to the newly-arrived pastor simply because a sure outcome of this approach is you will never be anything else but a newly-arrived pastor. Either the church will fire you – if they have that power; or the people will duck for cover (by leaving or opting out of ministry) until you are replaced by a pastor who will at least listen to them.