Bonhoeffer to Pastors: Don’t Complain!

I reread chapter one of Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer this morning. While there was a lot that stood out about how we are to live in community, what stuck out the most was Bonhoeffer’s advice to clergy in regards to their congregations.

“A pastor should not complain about his congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God. A congregation has not been entrusted to him in order the he should become its accuser before God and men. When a person becomes alienated from Christian community in which he has been placed and begins to raise complaints about it, he had better examine himself first to see whether the trouble is not due to his wish dream that should be shattered by God; and if this be the case, let him thank God for leading him into this predicament. But if not, let him nevertheless guard against ever becoming an accuser of the congregation before God. Let him rather accuse himself for his unbelief. Let him pray God for an understanding of his own failure and his particular sin, and pray that he may not wrong his brethren. Let him, in the consciousness of his own guilt, make intercession for his brethren. Let him do what he is committed to do, and thank God.”

As pastors, we are called to shepherd and lead people. To encourage them in the path of discipleship. It is, however, very tempting (and easy) to complain about a congregation who is stubborn, immature, or dysfunctional when, as pastors, we should take responsibility for our calling to lead such people and to be their shepherd. We are to recognize our own shortcomings, intercede for our flock, and commit to shepherding our congregations for the glory of God.

About Steve LaMotte

Husband and father of three amazing children. Campus Minister of Wesley College in Dover, Delaware. Pastor at Hope United Methodist Church in Dover, Delaware. Elder in the Pen-Del Conference. Fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers. Lover of music that makes hipsters cringe.
This entry was posted in Leadership and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s