Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning. 1 Timothy 5:20 (NIV)
Paul is talking here about a leader, a pastor, or an elder who harms the church by his sin. Paul says the elders have a responsibility to deal with this. Leaders must be held accountable.
Imagine a church member talking with his friend from another church, and he says, “Yes, we are looking for a pastor. But we don’t want anyone telling us what to do.”
It is probably a fair question to ask: “What pastor would want to go to this church?” At the risk of offending dog owners, they are looking for a “poodle pastor.”
People say this kind of thing for two reasons—sometimes it is because lay leaders want to run things themselves. Sometimes it is because they have been hurt by an authoritarian pastor and they have said to themselves, “Never again!”
If you were bitten by a Rottweiler, it’s not surprising that you might be drawn to a poodle. But churches do not need poodle pastors, and they don’t need Rottweilers either! They need leadership and accountability, trust and submission. These are good gifts from the Lord.
Have you been hurt by an authoritarian pastor? What happened? Do you think it might be clouding your vision of what a healthy church looks like?