Ethics: If Your Pastor Says You Suck?

What would you do Wednesday!

As you roll out of bed Sunday morning to get ready for church the memory of an uncomfortable conversation with the pastor earlier in the week takes over your thoughts. “I never complain. Maybe I shouldn’t have complained about the music,” you think, “but our recent worship songs have been more like ‘God is my girlfriend‘ songs than they are Christ-centered. Maybe I was a jerk. Overly critical. I tried to offer biblical reasoning in my critique. I love my church and my brothers and sisters in Christ which is why I’d prefer more God-centered worship songs.”

After praying for wisdom and humility to except whatever is sung that morning so that your mind isn’t elsewhere, but instead seeking God through worship you head out the door.

Several songs were sung and two of them were songs you expressed concern about to the pastor. Well, you didn’t expect things to change overnight and you made sure your focus was on God and not your personal disappointment.

Then the sermon starts.

The sermon is about the church and her leadership and authority. The pastor talks about pastoral authority and congregational submission. He mentions disagreements in the church and starts talking about “complainers”. Moving through different topics he gets to disagreements about music and boldly states:*

If you don’t like the music we play in this church then you suck!

The sermon finally ends and the service is over.

What do you do now? Several thoughts run through your mind.

Questioning yourself you ask if you should:

  • Do nothing and just deal with it?
  • Confront him right now?
  • Meet with the pastor and ask him to publicly repent?
  • Start looking for a new church?
  • Seek biblical counsel to see if your over-reacting?
  • Start telling other church members that the pastor sucks for saying that?

What would you do?

*One pastor recently said from the pulpit that church members that don’t like the music “officially suck” at about minute mark 29:14.


Let's connect!

tagged as , in Culture,morality

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 aaron July 13, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Weird that I guessed correctly who the pastor was before following the link.

2 Aaron Armstrong July 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm

One thing I can safely say is I wouldn’t go to that particular pastor’s church (seriously, people rip on Driscoll, but not on this guy – what the heck?).

Of your list, I’d say first seek counsel to make sure you’re not over-reacting. Second, if trusted people (particularly elders) validate your concern, talk to him. If he ignores you/refuses to repent, then leave.

3 Aaron Armstrong July 13, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I had a hunch, too.

4 Mark July 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Interesting so I wonder if he would be in violation of 1 Timothy 3:7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil (ESV)?

5 Mark July 13, 2011 at 2:31 pm


6 Rhology July 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Perry Noble!

7 Dave Miller July 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm

This whole thing is strange for me. I’m one of blogging’s official old fogeys, but “when I was your age” the word suck was a pretty strong word – not one used in polite company and certainly not from the pulpit.

As to the pastor (I have a guess but haven’t clicked the link yet), something my dad said comes to mind. The pulpit is a sacred place for the application of God’s word. When a pastor uses the pulpit to fight personal battles he is not playing fair and it is very close to a blasphemous usurpation of the Lordship of Christ.

8 Josh Collins July 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm

If (in your scenario), you’ve already talked to the pastor about it personally, then you should try and speak with the other leadership in the church to go with you on 1 more approach. If that isn’t even an option (i.e. the pastor has no internal accountability structures in place or the structures in place are simply to keep concerned church members from bothering the pastor’s precious time wordsmithing the best way to say “you suck as a human being” in next Sunday’s sermon), plant your life in another church with an actual shepherd and do so in a spirit of grace (not blazing a trail of destruction).

If they do hear you out and go to the pastor with you, approach the situation in humility (maybe you were whiny) and seek resolution. If there are steps taken by the pastor to apologize or make amends, accept those graciously (and not in a blood-thirsty way). If he still refuses to see any error, see above about planting yourself in a different kingdom endeavor.

9 bill July 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Perry Noble runs this church. Period. You will never hear him apologize for his actions or the actions of those under him.

You cannot approach him unless you either routinely write a significant check or you are a fellow superstar pastor coming to woo him to your next convention.

Just about everything wrong with leadership in church can be on display here.

10 Mark July 15, 2011 at 12:02 am

Dave said:

The pulpit is a sacred place for the application of God’s word. When a pastor uses the pulpit to fight personal battles he is not playing fair and it is very close to a blasphemous usurpation of the Lordship of Christ.

Amen! If there was only such wide-spread fear of the Lord today.

11 Mark July 15, 2011 at 12:03 am

Josh, a well-thought out response to the situation as usual.

12 Mark July 15, 2011 at 12:05 am

bill, I can see how what you say could be true. I was really saddened to see his antics in front of the congregation. It looks more like a side show than a sermon.

13 Steve Martin July 15, 2011 at 2:46 am

I think I would have walked out of the service at that time.

Then I would call later, or come back to talk personally with the pastor to let him know why I walked out.

If he apologized, and if he normally didn’t do stupid stuff like that I might give him another chance.

14 Peter L July 18, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Good responses so far. I would write a letter to the board of deacons expressing my objection of the pastor using such immature, sophomoric language from the pulpit and making personal attacks in his sermon. Then look for another church.

I wish to nit pick your use of the word “except” in this phrase: “to except whatever is sung…”

Except means to reject, as in, I like all the songs except that one. I think you mean “accept”. But then, in the context, perhaps the person in question knew the pastor well enough to know that none of the music would be acceptable, but “exceptable”.

15 Diane August 17, 2011 at 11:00 am

I am also from the same school of thought that using the word “suck” is very strong and bothers me when I hear my teens say it. I’ve told them that this has strong connotations though I realize it has “changed” meaning these days. So he sounds like a young pastor. However, not only is the use of it in the pulpit not acceptable for reasons from another comment, essentially he’s saying, “I don’t care for the opinions of others.” This could be sign of pride meaning that there’s a kind of dictatorship which is different than loving leadership/respecting submission. I think not mentioning it after the service is best as he’ll likely be worked up about it at that time. Better to be cordial and leave calmly. It would bother me throughout the week as it is was a barb. This then tells me that where there is this misjudgment (or call it what you wish) on his part, that there could be others. I would take it as a kind of context clue and pray about it after you leave and throughout the week. Perhaps your silence will cause him to think about what he did…more a kind of humility than picking a fight. I don’t know how the Lord will lead you at this point. (I think if he says nothing and you sense a kind of pride/resistance, recognize that it won’t go away. A letter as someone suggested to the board just expressing kindly your feelings of inappropriateness (and maybe not even of it being directed toward you – as well as requesting a response by mail) and visiting other churches until you hear back might allow for praying and rethinking on their part. If there’s no response, you know what your response should be – pray about one of the churches you’ve visited!) Sometimes these situations cause (me) to think that God cares so much about me that only through something obvious ( painful makes me take notice), God, perhaps, is causing me to think in a different way…directing me elsewhere, etc. It would be better if you hear back a humble response and a plea for your return in love. That really proves his Christlikeness which is so nice to have in our Christian friends, leadership or not. However it goes in reality, you can be assured that giving it to God means He has heard your prayer and bears your burden. Also, common sense and the Word itself tells you to be careful of certain kinds of people. Yes, though man is fallible, God is faithful. He loves you so much!

16 sam October 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm

I would assume if God led the pastor to use the songs he did. Then if you don’t like them take it up with God. If you can’t follow the vision God has given your pastor, find a new church. That is more pliable.

17 Mark October 16, 2011 at 9:27 pm


Why would you assume that? Did God also lead the pastor to tell others that they suck? Also, where does Scripture say God gives a pastor 1) a vision and 2) a vision that everyone must follow?

18 Mark December 23, 2011 at 6:51 am

I have heard the message about music brought up in several churches. They all were very strong – this was the first time someone has said that another human being sucks for not agreeing with them? This seems to upset pastors, I believe that yes we are doing the music as praise to the Lord, but it also is about us being fed and being led to give our best gift to Him. We can not do this when we are upset and not focused on Him. It is not up to us to change things to our will, all we can do is suggest and try to change it – the Lord is the only one to change this situation. You got your answer – my suggestion is to move on. Don’t cause a fight or division just to prove a point.

19 Patrick February 2, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Pastors are not divine WiFi spots. In fact, a good deal of them get through seminary without ever really thinking about religious issues in a meaningful way besides the way they were taught: questioning is wrong.

Of course they will say questioning is divine, but if you only permit the final answer to be one that you agree with, questioning really isn’t ok and is simply a formality.

Another problem is that the generation of hot-shot pastors rising up, much like their worship-music counterparts, nurse horrific prides under the guise of “I did it all for Jesus” claims. Their egoism renders them completely unable to handle criticism in any way.

And not only do they treat all criticism against their beliefs or behaviors as personal against them, they treat them as blasphemy against God.

Anglican theologian Bernard Iddings Bell put it best when he proclaimed “churches of all denominations are paying too high a price for preferring popularity to prophecy, a price amounting to their becoming laughable as well as powerless.”

Churches shouldn’t be secular-lite. If I want to listen to simplistic romanticized songs, I’ll stick with Motley Crue.

20 Johnette March 12, 2013 at 5:30 am

Im not a member of a church. I dont know how i even got on this page even. I cuss. I dont defend it. I have noticed that the word suck is sed alot of tv now. To me.. it is a cuss word. And I am not a church goer. Seems like your church is being led by someone who not only has no control of his emotions, but also does not ever rethink his actions in prayer….. if he had.. I think he would have realized that his actions were imature and degrading to the church. I would leave the church, and tell people that you are closed to the reason why. When the congregation starts to thin out considerabley the remaining members can think hard if it is more important to stay with someone whose behavior they wouldnt want their own children to emulate…… or ahem…. tell the pastor he sucks and vote on replacing him with a preacher whose behavior and maturity matches the congregations expectatins.


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