by Rayola Kelley
Q: “How much say does a pastor have in one’s life. How much do you have to answer to a pastor for the decisions you make for your family? What is their role exactly?”
A: It is hard to answer your question due to the fact that pastors can overstep their boundaries in a lot of different ways. Here are a few:
Playing God in your life: Pastors can have big egos. They see themselves as being lords over the Body and not as servants to it. They expect you to cater to them and accept whatever they tell you without question. If you question them, they see it as an attack against their so-called “authority,” when in fact you have a responsibility to test their spirit and teachings. In short, they expect you to serve and worship them.
Playing the Holy Spirit in your life: They can try to be your conscience by manipulating you through religious platitudes, doctrines and standards. This means they want to influence how you think and what you do. They want control over different aspects of your life that will feed their ego, perception of self or serve their purpose. This ungodly, fleshly influence often results in condemnation that will bring discouragement and despair to one's life. In fact, this is why some people walk away from God and the Church. The Bible is clear that the Holy Spirit does not try to manipulate our emotions or conscience, rather He convicts, and gently leads to repentance and restoration. The greatest virtue of the Spirit is the liberty He brings to our soul. This liberty allows us to discover who we are in Christ and reach our potential in the kingdom of God.
As someone who serves as a minister of the Gospel, I have found my response is one of investment in and guarding over the sheep. This means I must minister to their needs, encourage them in spiritual growth, instruct and guide them in their walk, and guard and warn against wolves, heretics, and heresy. Otherwise, each sheep is God's responsibility. If He does not convict, reveal, confirm, and comfort, nothing will change, transform, or bring understanding to the inner man.
So many people have tried to determine our spiritual reality. We have had people tell us what is wrong with us and give us their advice of how things should be, and they expect us to respond because they cannot see how they could be wrong. There will be no end to such voices especially in the religious realm. The only way I can test such matters is first of all ensure I love the truth. If I love the truth, I will be open to the conviction and leading of the Spirit. If He convicts me, then I must respond, otherwise it is nothing more than someone's opinion of a matter. This is true when it comes to leaders in the Church. If the Spirit or Word is not confirming a matter, disregard it and turn to God for His perspective or lessons.