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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Mike Novotny » Mike Novotny - Did You Leave the Church Because of Your Pastor?

Mike Novotny - Did You Leave the Church Because of Your Pastor?

Mike Novotny - Did You Leave the Church Because of Your Pastor?

It didn't take long to figure out why this guy was spiritual, but not very religious. I was having pizza with my dad and this older couple that we had just met the other day. And my dad and I were kind of giving each other some grief and I was making fun of him and he turned to the couple and said, "Hey, a son is supposed to respect and honor his father". That's in the Bible, right? And before they could answer, I said, "Yeah but my dad goes to my church so I'm his pastor, and he's supposed to honor me. Right"? And we both laughed but the couple didn't laugh. The guy kind of scowled back at me and he said, "You don't have to honor your pastor. That's not in the Bible".

And gently, I kind of suggested, "Well, I'm pretty sure it is". And he snapped back, "Well, I suppose you want me to give money to your church, too"? Wow. I don't know the story, but I would bet you a thousand dollars that there is one. Sounded like this guy had a really, really bad experience with someone like me and maybe with a church like mine. And I know so many people are in that situation. They've had a bad run-in with a leader of a church. Someone who was overbearing. Someone who was too judgmental. Someone who was quick to speak and so slow to listen. Someone who plunged into adultery or immorality. Someone who was greedy and stole from the church. Someone who really didn't care about the poor or they didn't care about people at all. Someone who was in it for himself. And maybe that's your story.

Maybe you consider yourself a spiritual person and you pray and you talk to God but you just don't have a connection because of something that happened. And it that's true for you, I want you to know that, that Jesus gets it. Jesus has some really specific descriptions of what a pastor should be like. You know pastors are people and they're not perfect. But he has a very high standard because he knows how much a compassionate, loving, patient pastor can draw people to the Word of God. Or how quickly he can push them away.

So, let's think about pastors. Let's pray for them today as we read that description in 1 Timothy, chapter 3. It says: Part of me is terrified by those words. That's a really high standard. But that's a great thing for us to, to pray about today. Some of you have been away from the church. You haven't had a really great spiritual community to encourage you and keep you accountable for a long time. Let's ask God to help us forgive the pastors of our past and reconnect in a really intentional way. And even more, let's pray that God would raise up really good people to pastor churches, to draw people to the grace of God. And especially our Savior Jesus Christ. So, let's pray:

Dear God. I think about the power of pastors. I think about how many people love gathering every Sunday with a community because their pastor has loved them well. And I think about all the people who have walked away because they haven't been loved well. I pray, God, for a spirit of forgiveness for all those who have been wounded, those who have been hurt. And, God, you know so many who've been abused. I pray that you could remind them that that was a person. That was not a church and that definitely wasn't you. I pray that you would draw them back to your word and your people. That they would find hope and encouragement and a great community to pursue you together with. And Father, I pray for pastors today. I know that the temptation, you say in the Bible that if the shepherd is struck then the sheep will scatter. And if I'm struck and I give in to temptation, only you know the damage and the fallout that will happen. So protect me and protect all of us who lead churches. Help us to be respectable. Help us to be loving people. Help us to be gentle. Help the doors of our homes to be open. That we be hospitable. Help us to not be proud but humble as we serve just like Jesus did. God, without you, churches are going to be so dysfunctional. It's going to push people away from you. So, please God, fix what needs to be fixed. That people would be drawn to the cross of Jesus. We pray this in His beautiful name. Amen.

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