This is a very important post because the content below is going to save someone’s job and ministry. For others, it will be a sad reminder of lost opportunity. For another group, the information will be laughed off and ignored to your own peril.
The only difference between anger and danger is the letter “D”. This is especially true for pastors. Over the past three decades, I have encountered several pastors with anger issues. The stories never ended well.
The following are 13 Realities Of Angry Pastors:
- Angry Pastors Have Experienced Significant Pain And Disappointment – Hurt people hurt people. Even when they are pastors.
- Angry Pastors Have Control Issues – They get angry when they cannot control others and/or situations. This often reveals itself when they are questioned. Angry pastors frequently confuse questions with questioning.
- Angry Pastors Have Short Tenures – Because they lack emotional intelligence and needlessly burn so many bridges, attendance and giving decline. The people have voted with their feet and wallets. The pastor is ultimately removed.
- Angry Pastors Lead Smaller And Smaller Congregations – Interestingly, anger limits the size of churches you can be entrusted with. I know of one pastor who pastored a historically strong church averaging 800 in attendance. Upon his self-destruction, the only church he could now get was less than 100 in attendance.
- Angry Pastors Offend Leaders – Leaders WANT to help you and just as importantly, CAN help you. But angry pastors poorly steward these relationships. Board meetings are filled with tenseness, lack of forgiveness, unhealthy conflict, walls being built and finally broken relationships.
- Angry Pastors Have Short Fuses – Burst of anger are commonplace with staff and leadership. People begin to walk on eggshells and merely keep their heads down.
- Angry Pastors Lose Top Staff – Quality staff leave churches with angry pastors. Life is too short and they have other options.
- Angry Pastors Like To Fight – The sad reality is angry pastors are more comfortable in unhealthy environments than healthy environments. So even if a culture is healthy, they self-destruct it because they cannot function where there is peace.
- Angry Pastors Become Merely Positional Leaders – If a pastor proclaims, “I am the pastor”, he/she is no longer the leader. If a leader has to tell you their the leader, they are not. They are now leading by position rather than influence.
- Angry Pastors Do Lasting Harm To Churches – Every church I know formerly led by an angry pastor declined in attendance and rarely returned to its previous level of impact. Also, future leadership teams began making decisions in light of “not wanting to go down that road again.” Ironically, the previous angry pastor is still impacting decisions being made.
- Angry Pastors Lack Self-Awareness – They have a perverted sense of being right and everyone else is wrong. Here is a tip to know if you are preaching in an angry manner – watch your sermons with the volume down. What are your mannerisms and facial expressions communicating?
- Angry Pastors Need A Counselor – They have personal issues they need to deal with.
- Angry Pastors May Need A New Profession – I have heard pastors state their primary calling is to break the legs of the sheep, place the sheep over their shoulders and carry them back to the herd. No compassion. No empathy. No mercy. Well, no problem because you will ultimately have no job.
If you are an angry pastor, here are a five steps you need to take TODAY:
- Repent of your sin.
- Apologize to all those you have offended. You will need to this in each of the following – one-on-one conversations, to staff and leadership teams, and most likely to the congregation during a Sunday sermon.
- Seek Professional Assistance – Contact a Christian counselor and work through your issues.
- Become A Learner – Get some leadership training, particularly in the areas of emotional intelligence and people skills.
- Bring Accountability Into Your Life – Have the leaders in your church partner with you on a solution to this issue.
You most likely still have time to repair your ministry because your congregation does not want to fire you. But if you stay angry, they will.