Grouchy Old Pastors

Grouchy Old Pastors is an article about Grouchy old pastors and why they are that way and how to fix this problem.


I had an older pastor friend who had a good sized church for here in Mexico. They were running about 50 people when I first attended his church (while I was in language school). He was a dear friend, and he helped me a lot over the course of time. He died several years bad. But as I touched his ministry from time to time, I observed some things that just made me very sad. He was a Calvinist, and when the people didn’t flock to his church to hear his sermons, he got bitter. Over time he stopped evangelizing, and when I asked him one time about it, he told me that people don’t respond, so why bother. Another time I brought him a box of several thousand tracts, and he told me to just throw it in the trash because that is where they will all end up anyway. That is probably true.

But just like any farmer knows, you plant abundant seed because only a percentage of them will bring forth fruit. In our case with the gospel, I wonder if even 1% of every tract we give out will result in fruit. That is the truth of evangelizing. Pile on top of that, of those who respond and join your church, probably half to even more only think they are saved, and they really don’t understand the gospel. I am noted that among my own people, and I preach salvation sermons frequently. But not just an evangelistic sermon with an invitation, but rather sermons that probe salvation and share insight into what it is to truly be saved. What are the essentials of salvation? What are the marks or fruit of salvation in a person’s life.

Why Preachers are Grouchy, especially Older Men

I have a saying that I have shared with my people in my sermons. When I retire (I will probably never retire though) I want to open a kindergarten because that is the maturity of the people I deal with all the time in church work. I know it is cynical, but I want to shock my people into acting correctly. I never imaged before I was a pastor that people would get so offended over things so small, and carry grudges for so long or so far. Constantly dealing with these problems wear on a pastor tremendously.

Just on case, in our church one family joined but they decided shortly after joining us that they didn’t like another family. They wouldn’t shake their hands, and this contention got so great that they wanted a pastoral conference with the other family present. Eventually one family left our church because they could never resolve the dispute. I could not understand the importance they put on shaking hands.

But when pastors find their jobs degenerating into babysitters, they get grouchy.

Loving the Brethren

1 John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

I do not know how you can read and interpret these verses except that if a person says he is a Christian and doesn’t love his brethren in the Lord, then God calls that person a liar.

I preach on this theme constantly, and every time the people tell me how much they needed that message and it did them good, and the next week they are back at the bashing and hating others in the church. It is extremely frustrating.

Our Wills

When you think about it, each person has their own will, and they want their will done. Life is about living in this world and clashing with other people’s wills. We have to meet in the middle somehow. Nobody gets everything the way they like it. If there is such a thing, I haven’t found it nor seen it. But how much of your will do you give up in order to meet in the middle and have peace?

The more spiritual of the people I have met in this life tend to make me come back to this point and reflect on it. First of all, a spiritual person doesn’t give up all of their will. That is a slave mentality. Some of the most spiritual people I have ever met were godly moms. And boy how they impose their will on things. Clean your shoes, clean up your room, eat your broccoli, ad infinitum.

The curious thing about these examples is simply that we don’t mind their imposition of their wills on us. We smile, make a joke about it, and take it. That has a lot in it though. We accept orders from our moms because they are so servant hearted in taking care of us and making our lives better. When the blessing to us on other matters is not there, we don’t tolerate other people telling us what to do.

The key element in all of this is simply a Christian doesn’t mind when somebody else “pushes” their will onto them when they feel that it is really not “their will” but God’s will. When a mom exhorts her son not to smoke, drink alcohol, or take drugs, a Christian boy feels good about it. It is not an invasion into his life. It is a great help.

As an Old Pastor…

I am getting up in years, and I do not want to fall into being grouchy. It hinders the ministry. As things become harder and harder for me to keep up health-wise, I have to take a step back and try to analyze and make the right choices in life. Working with other people and meeting them half way is essential in church work.

I am reminded of a great principle that every pastor has to remember. All the work done in a church is by volunteers. Even the ministers have volunteered for the ministry. You have to appeal to people through their desire to serve God, and never give orders. The key to ministering in an excellent way is to ALWAYS, ALWAYS convince your people instead or giving authoritative orders. They must see the issue in God’s Word before they will become compliant with what you are wanting them to do.

Grouchy Old Pastors

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Pastor David Cox is a missionary. See my ministry updates here.