Dear pastor: I heard you say that your primary responsibility is to your members, rather than to all who attend or to people in general. I don’t understand. Where did Jesus or any of the apostles or authors of the New Testament ever mention anything about “their” churches or “their” people? Did Jesus ever refuse anyone, even non-Jews? Yes, he told the Ciro-Phoenician woman no at first, but he did heal her daughter. Can non-members receive crumbs from your table?

Where does the territorial thinking come from? You don’t like people to change churches. I understand that when members change churches it can be bad for business, and I understand that it can also mean people hop from one place to another without any dedication or commitment, always seeking the newest or most interesting thing, and that isn’t good. But neither of these are reasons for ministering only to a select few. If you are called, are you not called to serve all believers… or all people you come in contact with, depending on your perspective?

In response to these questions, I’ve heard one response too many times. “We don’t want problems.” I take issue with that. People aren’t problems, though all people have problems. How can anyone who doesn’t want problems consider himself a pastor? How can any pastor give that response? What about the rest of us?

Dear Pastor, Part One