Pastoral Traps: Authoritarianism

Not long ago I put together a short list of some of the unique battles that accompany the role of the pastor. I’d like to share them with you over the next few blog entries. While the battles we pastors face are many, I want you to consider five in particular . . . not necessarily in the order of their importance.

The first is the problem of authoritarianism. It’s easy for the pastor to become authoritarian. What does that look like? If the minister needlessly represses the freedom of God’s people, if he becomes inflexible and dictatorial, tyrannical and oppressive, if he bullies people with threats, if he lacks a servant’s heart, if he himself is not teachable, if his arrogance has replaced humility, then he has become an authoritarian. He needs reproof . . . even if he is the pastor.

Tell just a few who are close to you, perhaps a trusted colleague—even your wife, if you have the courage!—to let you know if you start to drift into authoritarianism. It’s not the same as leadership. It is leadership gone wild. Put bluntly, it is sin.

Remember Jesus’s words to His twelve men when they were haggling over who should be first in importance: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served . . .” (Mark 10:45).

You remember the rest.

—Chuck

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