Acts 14:19-20 – And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
Wherever Paul went, there was either revival or riot. It just so happens that in this instance there was riot. A crippled man had just been healed, the gospel was being boldly proclaimed, and religious people were irritated. Paul was on this mission with his good friend Barnanbas and others that remain nameless. The people that experienced the power of God were so amazed that they began to call Paul a god. He quickly corrected them of their misnomer and points them to Jesus. Then the people stoned Paul.
Paul had experienced a wave of emotions. Firstly, he was called a god. Secondly, he was now being stoned. Paul is rock and rolled alone. That is important to notice. Paul didn’t minister alone, but he is the only one that is hit with rocks. Barnabas isn’t hit with rocks – just Paul. It is always the primary leader that takes the brunt of the assault. If something is amiss in the church, it’s Paul’s fault. He ministers with others, but is assaulted alone.
While I traveled preaching as an evangelist, I worked closely with many pastors that were experiencing the same thing as Paul. One day they were celebrated, the next day they were crucified. Remember that the same people that deify you will crucify you later. I always tried to build up the pastor in the eyes of the people because of the overwhelming amount of pastors that are going down – alone.
Here are some stones that hit pastors on a regular basis:
- Rebellion: Some people never come under the pastor’s authority. They don’t agree with him on doctrinal issues. There are many conversations behind closed doors that the pastor isn’t privy to; others start to agree with the individual causing the dissension, and the stones begin to fly.
- Jealousy: The pastor shows others more attention than he shows you. Perhaps you feel he is partial, prejudice, prideful, etc. And the rocks begin to fly.
- Modaltry: Some people worship the particular church model they are used to. If the programs change or the structure shifts, they feel like the pastor is in the wrong. Sacred cows are being turned into hamburger and somebody needs to straighten out the preacher. So the rocks begin to fly.
- Old shoes: Some like the way their old pastor operated, and don’t think this new guy quite fits into his shoes – not realizing that the new pastor brought his own pair of shoes. So the rocks begin to fly.
- Turf wars: Once a church begins to grow, everything begins to change. Personnel start getting shifted, programs and positions are eliminated, thereby causing turf wars. Somebody that is shifted out of a position can get angry at losing their place. And yet again, the stones begin to fly.
- Money issues: Some people don’t like their pastor to drive a new car and live in a new house. Or perhaps they just never support the church financially, all the while consuming what the church has to offer. This can lead to a stoning.
- Family assault: You hired the pastor – not his wife and family. But some saints think the pastor’s wife should be doing more. Fill in the blank: if she isn’t playing, planning, participating, or preaching, the stones begin to fly.
- Faulty perception: The pastor says one thing, but you hear another. He does one thing, but you see it differently. Your perception becomes your reality. Because of misperception, you pick up stones and throw them at your pastor.
- Passive Aggression: The pastor sees that something is amiss with you. The pastor has a face-to-face meeting with you. You don’t say what you really feel and think. The pastor leaves the meeting feeling like everything has been sorted out; you still have your issues because you didn’t get them out in the open and talk about them. So eventually, you start throwing stones.
- Wolves: You know more than the pastor does. You have great revelation about the end-times, the beasts and their multiple horns, and a variety of other relevant topics. You have private bible studies with people, complete with copy and paste notes from your favorite website. Once more, the stones begin to fly.
- Pseudo-Spirituality: The pastor isn’t spiritual enough for you. Either he doesn’t pray loud enough, operate in the gifts enough, etc. Because of this, you feel like the church is being held back, and the stones are flying again.
This is just a short list of the stones I have seen pastors get hit with. They come from all directions, from all types of people, and slowly but surely, they begin to knock a pastor down.
Or you could do this:
Paul fell to the ground, and everybody thought he was dead. But notice what happened – the bible said that Paul’s supporters gathered around him. That is so powerful. Don’t pass by that little note. The people gathered around their pastor. And he arose! There is so much power loosed when the people gather around their pastor. If your pastor is getting rocked, the greatest thing you could ever do is gather around him. When a pastor has people supporting him, he feels like he could charge hell with a water pistol.
If you have been guilty of stoning your pastor, first of all – repent. Secondly, make a concerted effort to support him. If you are going to use stones, put them underneath your pastor to support him, instead of hurling them with the intent to kill (Exodus 17:12).
Gather around him together, and go take on your city.