Michelle S. Lazurek
With fighting over social media, the state of the world today, and so many people leaving the church, leaders are angrier than ever before. While Scripture says it is important to be slow to anger and abounding in love just as God is, leaders, deal with anger and other negative emotions just like anyone else.
It is important for them to keep their emotions in check and be as emotionally healthy as possible so they can be the effective leaders God wants them to be. Here are four reasons why leaders are so angry.
1. Social Media
When Facebook began in the mid-2000s, people thought it’d be a great way to keep in touch with close family members and distant friends as well as reconnect with those whom they haven’t seen in a long time.
But as the years have passed by, it has been made easy for people to make comments and start wars over differing opinions and various subjects.
We now live in an age where people believe their opinion is necessary on all matters. Just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean you need to give one.
Limit the amount of time you’re on social media. Unless you host a podcast or speak to a large audience, you don’t need to be connected all the time. Studies have shown that prolonged use of social media can affect people’s emotional health.
Check social media once or twice a day, and don’t spend excessive time scrolling through your feed. Seeing other people’s accomplishments and relationships is not good for your self-concept. This is especially necessary if you are facing a tough season in your church.
Seeing congregation members (especially those who have left your church meeting with those within your church) will only cause unhealthy thoughts and emotions to invade your life. Take a break from social media, and you may find you use it less and less and sometimes not even at all.
2. Theological Opinions
We live in a culture of celebrity. Technology has afforded us the opportunity to listen to any preacher any time, any day. This has lessened the need for people to go to their own authority figures in their local church for advice and wisdom regarding the Bible.
This has led to the ability for Christians to seek a second (or third) opinion from a pastor who is leading a large church.
People honor pastors more highly who have written a best-selling book or who pastor a large congregation. This doesn’t devalue your local pastor’s advice or counsel when it comes to this particular issue.
But now more than ever, your pastor has been met with disagreement by congregation members who feel a pastor like David Jeremiah or Chuck Swindoll can offer better help to them than he can. This can cause great frustration and a lack of respect for leadership and authority.
Heed the advice of Ephesians 4:29 when it says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
When we choose to use talk that builds one another up rather than tear them down, it will cause more peace in your pastor’s heart and less anger. This will help encourage your pastor and allow him to continue in the ministry for years to come.
3. Spiritual Warfare
Christians today are under more spiritual warfare than ever before. But no group is targeted by the enemy more than pastors. Pastors shoulder the burdens of their entire church on their shoulders.
This can cause the enemy to insert lies into their minds that, when gone unchecked, can lead to emotional unhealth. Leaders need our prayers more now than ever before. Instead of making a job more difficult, take the time to pray for them.
If you don’t know them well, treat them to lunch or a coffee to get to know them better. Leaders are people too. It’s difficult to be mad at someone whose story you know. Before you criticize or tear down your leader, take the chance to get to know them.
They may be dealing with emotional pain, family issues, health concerns, or financial troubles that you may know nothing about.
This may cause them to act in negative ways, including anger. Show your appreciation for your pastor and pray for him. You never know the power your prayers will have in someone’s life.
4. Lack of Growth
Whether it’s numeric or spiritual growth, pastors want to see fruit from their labor. This may translate into bigger numbers to their congregation or more people replicating leaders.
When a pastor sees someone they have invested in, in turn, making disciples or inviting people to their church, it makes them feel like they are appreciated and their work has meaning and purpose.
Although these are not the main factors to determine how successful a pastor is, it is easy for pastors to get caught up in these numbers, especially when their denomination requires them on a monthly or yearly basis.
If their church declines or plateaus in number, pastors can feel like a failure. Not knowing what to do with their feelings of failure, they can project their anger onto others.
October doesn’t have to be the only time you appreciate your pastor. Take the time to show your pastor appreciation throughout the entire year, not just one month a year.
In addition to all of life’s other trials, they must deal with declining numbers and an increased cynicism towards Christianity. If you are inspired by your pastor’s sermons, write a note to let them know of your appreciation.
Invite your friends and tell them all about the exciting things happening at your church. Make a point to introduce your pastor to your friends, and let your pastor know they enjoyed the service. This will lift their spirits and may cause their anger to lift.
Why Does This Matter?
Because the church is quickly losing its voice in society, this can cause pastors to feel anger. This, in addition to a lack of growth, spiritual warfare, social media, and theological differences, may cause pastors to feel down about the current state of Christianity and feel a lack of hope for its improvement.
Have compassion for your pastor and understand they are human, just like you. Just as you feel angry toward the world around you, so do they. Take the time to pray, show your appreciation, and know which battles to fight when it comes to theological differences.
Ask the Lord to reveal ways for you to build up your pastor’s confidence. Allow the ministry to become less of a burden.
Pray that God will help your pastor channel his anger in positive ways so that when he faces his congregation week after week, you can do so not only in freedom but also with a peace that passes all understanding.
When he has an experience with the Holy Spirit and can act in ways in accordance with the fruits of the spirit, all people can participate in healthy congregations that, in turn, change the world.