Pastoral Traps: Exclusivism

A major trap pastors can fall into is exclusivism. That’s the attitude that says, “I alone am right.” It’s the “us-four-and-no-more-and-I’m-not-sure-about-you-three” kind of attitude. An exclusive spirit occurs when a pastor allows (or even promotes) a clannish, cultic kind of following around him.

Paranoia often accompanies an exclusive spirit: “Other ministries don’t do it as well as I do”—or some similar statement. Watch out for that kind of attitude. Guard yourself from too many first-person pronouns. It is nothing more than pride.

One time John told Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he wasn’t in our group” (Mark 9:38). Jesus’ rebuke revealed that we don’t have to be one of the twelve to minister to people. And others don’t have to be one of us either.

We have no corner on the best way to serve Christ. We need to display an absence of competition and an absence of jealousy . . . while cultivating genuine humility. Pray that your attitude and words—and those of your church’s staff—will not become exclusive.

—Chuck

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