As an old saying goes, “I know the person’s look but not his mind.” For pastors, the ability to know people and make good use of them is undoubtedly important in their ministry. However, in the actual running of the church, they will inevitably lose accuracy in identifying and recognizing believers as they are either too kind or too easily trusted. The consequences are usually breaches of ministry conduct and damage to long-term development.
Zhen Hongxu (pseudonym) is a pastor from the south of China, and for more than 20 years he has been working in different churches in the same city. After he graduated from seminary, he started working in a church for many years. He had experienced profound lessons in knowing and employing people.
Pastor Zhen said, “I actually studied church management in the seminary, but I had very bad experiences during the five years of ministering in my first church after my graduation. Because the management system was not perfect at that time, I was attacked and coerced by the core management team, which I had appointed. The result was that I finally had to leave that church.”
“After many years, I have learned three lessons from the behaviors of the attacking core members: first, be wary of people who are very spiritual in their words; secondly, the pastor should carefully distinguish the motives of those who are unemployed but want to very actively participate in the ministry; third, after a church grows, it should have a perfect personnel management system to prevent the above two types of people from becoming core members, who stir up internal struggles, attack and coerce pastors, and damage ministries.”
Pastor Zhen added, “It is very likely that most of those who cannot work in and leave their organizations are due to their deficiencies in interpersonal relationships, working abilities, and quality of character. Such people very much tend to find excuses in front of pastors to cover up their defects and then swear: ‘I want to contribute; I want to serve.’ In the beginning, they were very active, committed, and obedient, but in the end, it was they who made a mess of the church.”
“Through that experience, I made a self-reflection and reviewed my management level at that time. First of all, I would admit that the church management I studied was just a scratch. Secondly, in practice, I had no kindness for Christ’s wisdom, and that made me trust others so easily with no judging abilities. Pastors are easily confused by such believers who, on the surface, are loving sisters or brothers. They are highly educated and articulate, pretending that they love the Lord very much. However, in the end, such people are very likely to attack pastors and cause damage to the church. So now, I am particularly alerted to those who are unemployed and want to join the service team in the church.”
“A pastor killer is a person who specializes in ‘killing’ pastors. The ‘killer’ mentioned here is not a hitman who takes a person’s life, but a person who destroys the position of pastors in a church through a series of cunning means. When there is a new pastor, these people will try their best to make the pastor suffer, damage his pastoral ministry, and even drive him out at last. That is why some churches change pastors frequently because there are ‘pastor killers’. When a pastor comes to a new church, he must be wary of those who are very enthusiastic and supportive of him at first because they are most likely to be the people who attack you the worst,” he concluded.
- Translated by Charlie Li