Light a Fire Under Your Pastor
By Coach Dave Daubenmire
I never knew that I would hit such
a nerve. I was merely verbalizing what I had experienced over the
past eight years.
Because of my last commentary
'And The Pulpits Are Silent', I almost had to get a new
internet server to handle all of the emails that came flooding
in. Not ONE …. I’ll say that again …. not one
disagreed with what I wrote. Now I know that not all of the
readers agreed with me, but it says something when even the
dissenters are mute. They usually LOVE to take me to task
…. but they were strangely silent on this issue.
I could share with you copies of
emails that I received, but I don’t want to take up the
space. Suffice it to say that nearly all of them were hungry for
Here is a stern warning to
pastors. Write it off if you like. The folks in the pew are
greatly dissatisfied. I hear it when I speak in churches and I
hear it every time I write a commentary.
George Barna tells us that churches are hemorrhaging
members and sadly, the leadership wants to blame the sheep. A
good coach never blames the players. The sheep are a reflection
of the shepherd.
Pastors are coaches. They deal
with people. Most successful coaches have a very firm set of
fundamentals by which they operate. They are not running a
popularity contest, they are leading a team. The best way to get
your butt beat is to compromise on what you believe.
MANY have emailed me asking,
"What should we do, Coach? Our pastor won’t preach
the hard truth anymore. It is all the "feel-good"
stuff. We are dying of starvation."
I am often accused of pointing out
problems but rarely offering solutions. Well, you asked for it,
so I will tell you what I think.
This is risky because the
"Church of the Status Quo" and her apostles are sure to
attack you. They will accuse you of "criticizing the local
church" and "church bashing." But you should love
them enough to tell them the Truth. President Lincoln said,
"I do the best I know how; the very best I can; and I
mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings us out
wrong, ten thousand angels swearing I was right will not make any
Paul said it this way, "Am I therefore become your
enemy, because I tell you the truth?" Galatians 4:16
My dad was a great guy but little
things used to drive him crazy. One of the things that used to
bug him the most was when he would come home from the factory in
the winter and the fire in the fireplace was barely burning. He
would grab the poker and turn to one of us and say,
"How many times do I have
to tell you that you can’t lay a big log on top of the fire
or you will smother it? A big log will only burn if there is a
good base of hot coals burning underneath. You can’t start
a fire with a big log."
So here is the analogy. (I’m
sure my dad never dreamed his words would go around the
The pastor is the log and those
sitting in the pews are the kindling…the little wood that
sets the big log on fire. For too long we have tried to convince
the big log that he needed to catch on fire. Every time a spark
was lit he would roll over and smother the flame. "Wild
fire" is one thing the big logs hate. The big logs want
"natural-gas" fires that they can control the flame
"It does not require a
majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen
to set brush fires in people's minds." - Samuel
Okay, Mr. Kindling-Wood, you have
a decision you are going to have to make. Are you sick and tired
enough to come out of your comfort zone and begin to set little
brush-fires? If you are not willing to make a stand then you have
no reason to complain. It is time to stop waiting on the big log
to set the rest of you on fire. As my friend Pete, once said,
"Our leaders will never see the light until we turn up the
Here are a few things to do to
change the temperature in your church. (Warning: You will be
called all kinds of names by your "brothers in Christ."
They will say you are "sowing discord amongst the brethren
…. that you shouldn’t bring politics into the
church, and the worse name of all, "a
You’re not sowing discord.
You are asking questions. It is a church body …. not a
monarchy. Pastors deserve your respect, not blind allegiance.
1. Stop calling
your elected officials and start calling your pastor. Every time
you see something that your local church should be concerned
about, call your pastor and ask him a very simple question:
"Pastor, what is our church going to do about it?" His
response will tell you a lot about him. Do it privately at first
as the Scriptures teach.
2. Don’t let him "wiggle off of the
hook." Follow up in a day or two and see if he has
progressed in his plan to oppose evil. Let him know that you have
shared your concern with others in the congregation and that they
are waiting to hear his response as well.
3. Tell him you
have decided to go to the school board (as an example of an issue
that you might have brought to him) and ask him if he will go
4. Continue to
email and hard copy him on information germane to the topic. Be
persistent. Don’t let him say later that "he
5. After a hard
sermon, make sure that you let him know that you appreciate what
he had to say. Then ask this, "Pastor, what can I do to help
you fight this in our community?" (Be careful, he may start
quaking but let him know you are serious.)
Note: You are creating a sense of
accountability here. Demand that he walk the walk and not just
talk the talk. Let him know you are expecting his leadership, as
6. If he rarely
preaches a hard sermon ask, "Pastor, I haven't heard a
sermon on the sins of abortion, homosexuality, and pornography
recently, but do you have one planned?" Let him know it is
important to you and continue to bring it up. Write notes to
7. Ask him who he
is voting for in the next election and why. If he is voting for a
pro-abort, or homo-sympathizer point it out to him. If he says he
doesn’t think he should share his personal political
beliefs, please ask him why. It may be that he doesn't want
to discuss it at church or in front of others, so take him out to
lunch and "pin him down." Ask him if his personal
beliefs are different from those he preaches. It is important to
know what he believes.
8. Get your hands
on CDs, DVDs, and books and begin to educate YOURSELF on what is
going on. Be like the Bereans who checked things out for themselves. Acts 17:10-11
9. Start a Bible
Study in your home with like-minded folks. Ask the leadership to
support it. You would think they would encourage the
"assembling together of the saints" but usually, that
means only where they can have you in a controlled environment.
Leading a Bible Study will stretch you and make you more equipped
to share your faith with others. This is a good thing. But, be
warned that the pastor
may try to turn it into a controlled "small group"
that is more about building horizontal relationships among each
other rather than a vertical relationship with God.
10. Withhold your
tithe if he refuses to preach against sin – he may say
something like, "I don't want to offend so-and-so."
Tell your pastor that you are going to give your tithe money to a
ministry that is preaching "
the whole counsel of God." Follow the Biblical edict to
"sow into good soil." Luke 8:5-8 Many active ministries could use
11. If he
doesn’t encourage his flock to carry Bibles to church,
please ask him why. It may be that he wants to use several
versions (possibly up on a screen) that can cause confusion. For
example, Rick Warren, in his Purpose Driven book, selected verses
from different versions to fit the
scenario he needed to create. (A danger in not bringing your
Bibles is that if the people in the pews cannot follow along, a
pastor may someday introduce a New Age teaching that sounds
biblical but few will catch it if they can't verify what he
12. Offer to
start a "community watch-dog" ministry in the church to
keep an eye on issues affecting Christians. Ask for his
13. Offer to
start a co-op for home educators and ask if the church would
support you. If your pastor doesn't want to "offend the
government school teachers" in his flock, then that is a red
14. Ask him if
Christians should vote for local school levies and why? Begin to
share information about the dangers of public schools. (www.exodusmandate.org is a
great place to start.)
15. Be prepared
to leave your church. The answers that you get may not satisfy
you. For the sake of your soul and the souls of your family find
a church that is walking in the Truth.
It is time to turn up the heat.
Those big logs will never burn until the kindling starts to glow
red. Jesus warned us: "
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,
I will spue thee out of my mouth." Rev 3:16
Accountability is a powerful tool.
Stop complaining about the
lukewarm preaching. Put up or shut up. Light a fire and watch it
spread. The big log will either catch your fire or roll on down
the road! Snap, crackle, and pop. Dad would be proud of you.
© 2008 Dave Daubenmire -
All Rights Reserved. Used by permission
OMEGA TIMES COMMENTS
We agree wholeheartedly with the
sentiments expressed in the above article. The Bible, especially
in most Pentecostal churches, has been replaced by psychology and
success motivation sermons, marinated with unbiblical prosperity
messages (focus on self, not others.) You might get one or two
scriptures if you are lucky. This is the first part of the
devil’s strategy to separate the Church from the Word. The
follow-up strategy is to flood the Christian Church with
deception, as the people, nor the Pastors, love or understand the
Word any longer. We now have every wind of doctrine flooding the
The results are plain. Tattooed
and pierced tele-evangelists plying New Age teaching. Homosexuals
and Lesbians holding positions of authority in Church. Watered
down salvation messages with no emphasis on repentance. Self
placed on the throne instead of self-denial.