In our war against our Enemy’s hated bride, the church, perhaps the most effective strategy of attack is the one aimed at the pastor. And the weakest spots are those surrounding his family and his morale.
Get people talking about the pastor rather than to him. Though gifted and called by our Enemy to serve the church, pastors are still just fallible men. So, it is easier for congregants to gossip about their pastor’s faults than to “speak the truth in love” to the pastor himself. Create opportunities for the seeds of doubt and criticism to flourish.
Nourish that seed of criticism, effectively choking out encouragement. One harsh word can kill an entire fragile crop of heartening words. In a day of entitled, consumeristic culture, people will switch churches over the smallest things. As people concentrate on the pastor’s failings and not Christ’s gifts and ministry through him, he and his family will feel isolated.
Foster forgetfulness to pray for the pastor and his family. What better way to damage the church’s effective leadership than to take away the protection of that horrible gift of prayer?
Cultivate the mentality that the pastor is to perform every prodigious task. While pastors love to do what is needed, it is impossible for them to do everything. Sow an attitude of lethargy in the church.
Attack his time off. The pastor is often jokingly said to work only “one day a week.” No one but our Enemy truly knows how both steady and irregular a pastor’s schedule is and how often his family watches him leave for another meeting. Many pastors easily become workaholics and may need to be protected from themselves. By subverting safeguards (days off, vacation, sabbaticals, etc.), you can damage his effectiveness.
Encourage ambivalence toward his wife and children. Pastors’ families are easily put on unrealistic pedestals. People can equate the wife with a quasi-associate pastor or counselor, and the children can be made to live under constant scrutiny and feel like they have to share their parents with everyone. Their need to feel loved and embraced by the church as ordinary members can be subverted by impersonalizing them.
Foster forgetfulness to pray for the pastor and his family. What better way to damage the church’s effective leadership than to take away the protection of that horrible gift of prayer? This is your best attack of all.
Dr. Eric B. Watkins is senior pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC) in St. Augustine, Fla., and author of The Drama of Preaching.