I wrote on this subject once before, but circumstances justify a repeat. We, First Presbyterian Church of Battle Creek, Michigan, are welcoming a new Teaching Elder. We may call him “Pastor,” “Reverend,” “the Minister,” or “the Preacher.” Whichever title sticks, we will find, as time goes by, that he has opinions. What WE, his congregation, his flock, must encourage him to do is to express those opinions, and not challenge him for doing so, even though we may not agree with every one of those opinions.
In an article I found, “What is a Preacher,” by Wayne Greeson, he states:
“Much of the error concerning preachers and their work comes from a wrong view of the relationship of the preacher and the local church. Many consider the preacher as an employee or servant of the church. As such the church is an employer that determines the scope and duties of the work of their employee. This view is expressed in the statement: ‘We pay the preacher and we tell him what to do.’”
We do “pay the preacher,” but that’s where it ends.
Paul, in his Second Letter to Timothy, gave a charge contrary to that sentiment:
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4: 1-5
The Preacher’s job is to deliver the word of God, in the manner that God works through him to do so. If, on occasion, that message makes us squirm in the pew a bit, then The Preacher is doing his job.