By Josh King
One of the hardest things for me to accept as a pastor is that my toughest relationships have been with other pastors. Hands down it’s been a struggle. Some pastors just don’t like me.
What’s more, it’s the pastors of my ilk that seem to cause the most friction. Those leading churches that believe the same, act similarly, and have similar cultures are the ones I butt heads with the most.
To begin with, it’s probably all my fault. I’m the worst. I’m a deeply flawed pastor with all sorts of insecurities and shortcomings. Pray for me.
But there are a few things in this vein I’ve come to learn or consider as I navigate relationships with other pastors.
Not Everyone Will Like You
Not everyone is going to like me, and I’m not going to like everyone. This is just a fact of life.
I have a distinct personality, and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I know my wife thinks I’m amazing (well, she sorta does) but not everyone else will.
They’re just jealous. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. Even if that’s true, it doesn’t matter. It’s nothing for you to worry about or even dwell on; just let it go.
The key to this is knowing it’s not a sin to not feel warm or mushy about someone. If the guy down the street doesn’t like me as his BFF, he isn’t in conflict with the sovereign will of God.
My people-pleasing, self-glorifying pride wants this to be otherwise, but it’s just not true.
Be Nice Anyway
You need to look in the mirror and be able to honestly say you’ve tried to build bridges. You’ve invited others out to lunch, you’ve dismissed rumors you’ve heard, and you’ve spoken a word of encouragement and support from the heart.
I like to publicly praise other churches and their pastors. Consider reposting their big events on Facebook. Tell your social media friends the other churches are valid ones to consider, at least if you believe that.
Let the Chips Fall Where They May
I wish all pastors got along like grade school friends who live on the same street. But we don’t and we won’t.
So be kind and carry on. Pastors put immense pressure on themselves to get along perfectly with everyone, especially with pastors of other churches. I’m not speaking of Christian unity here; that’s non-negotiable.
I’m speaking of being supportive of other pastors but still knowing you’ll sometimes disagree with each other and that’s OK. If you’ve tried and are still being kind but they won’t give you the time of day, then let it go.
The bottom line is to love people and trust God.
JOSH KING (@JoWiKi) is the pastor of Second Baptist Church in Conway, Arkansas, husband of Jacki, and father of three boys. You can listen to his podcast at EST.church.