I witnessed to a pastor.

witnessed to a pastor

I was dying.

DYING in my seat.

This was a while ago and I can’t even remember the guy’s name, but he was a pastor. Who graduated from Bible college and all that.

And he literally filled the room with something that he claimed was the gospel, but was FAR from it.

He seemed arrogant.

REALLY arrogant.

He bragged about “saving people” (as though that were actually possible for us to do. Don’t even get me started)

During his message he did this thing where he would say something and then take a dramatic pause to drive the point home.

In one of those long, awkward pauses, he literally LOCKED EYES WITH ME, as though he were saying, Aren’t you getting it? I’m awesome and you’re terrible. You filthy sinner you.

And then closed the message with a harsh dose of, how many people have you saved lately?

GREAT.

That’s how I felt.

Just simply FANTASTIC after that message.

Sure made me want to grab the next person I saw and strong arm them into a prayer to go to heaven. (that’s me being sarcastic btw)

Gross.

I was mad.

REALLY REALLY MAD.

I grabbed my stuff and was like, I am outta here.

But, then the Holy Spirit stopped me.

He told me to write the pastor a check.

I about fell over.

I was like, WHAT?!? I am not giving anything to that man’s ministry. He is TERRIBLE!!!

The Lord told me again to give him a check (with a specific amount that I was pretty uncomfortable with I might add)

I grumbled and muttered as I shuffled my stuff (mommas always carry a ton of stuff. It’s pretty convenient when you’re trying to look busy but are actually just having a wrestling match with God inside your head. Am I crazy???? *sigh*)

I was totally avoiding what I knew the Holy Spirit was telling me to do.

Eventually, I caved.

He always wins.

I was like, FINE.

Then God said this,

When you give him the check, you’re going to ask if you can pray for him. And then you’re going to tell him about Todd White.

I grinned.

Of course.

For those who don’t know Todd White’s message it’s all about teaching the gospel, or should I say, LIVING the gospel. Which is QUITE DIFFERENT than shoving a sinner’s prayer down someone’s throat. It’s actually living like Jesus…ahhh so good.

So, I waited until no one was talking to him and I approached him.

It’s amazing how quickly my tone changed. As soon as I knew that THIS person was who I WAS SUPPOSED TO SHARE THE LOVE OF JESUS WITH THAT DAY, everything changed.

Boy, that’ll preach.

Anyway, so this person who I was flaming irritated with 10 minutes ago, I was pouring love out to like crazy in the middle of this church hallway.

I then asked if I could pray for him.

He seemed annoyed like, Who me? I don’t need prayer, sweetie. I’m perfect, remember?

Normal Anna would have bristled at that attitude instantly. But, I’m not kidding you, Jesus was POURING out of me.

It literally did not bother me.

Not a bit.

So, I asked again.

Reluctantly, he agreed.

And, people, I PRAYED.

Like prophetically and stuff.

It was SO NOT ME.

It was SOOOO JESUS.

Afterwards, he became kinda rigid and just walked away.

Didn’t say thank you or anything.

But then, I knew it was time to deliver the Todd White message (yay!!)

So, I stopped him and gave him the check. Along with the check was a note telling him about Todd White.

Again, not thankful.

Not even nice.

BUT, that SO wasn’t the point.

I was humbled that day.

Deeply. Humbled.

Somehow the idea seemed easier to go into a strip club and minister than it did for me to love on that pastor.

And that gripped me.

Like a dagger to the heart.

Sweet pastor if you happen to read this, please forgive me for being critical. Please forgive me for judging and viewing you differently than any other human. I’m a mess. We’re ALL a living mess.

What the Lord showed me that day is that He wants to reach that pastor just as much as he does the women I met in the strip club.

(If that totally messes with your theology, I’m sorry, but not sorry. Because, listen, we are ALL in need of Jesus. Strippers, pastors, moms, dads, you name it. We are ALL a wreck without him. My diatribe is now done) 🙂

Jesus LOVES him.

He wants to completely wreck him with freedom.

He wants him to know how GOOD the gospel actually is.

If we’re going to see change happen in the body, it won’t start with you (or me) criticizing or slandering pastors (although at times you might very well want to).

We have to walk like Jesus.

Even to those in leadership who we don’t agree with.

Even to those we perceive are failing.

In a recent blog, by Carlos Rodriguez called, The 47 Most Important Resolutions For Christian Millennials, the top three on his list are:

  1. End the prosperity gospel.
  2. Stop criticizing those in the prosperity gospel. (Or anybody else in the Body of Christ.)
  3. Figure out how to do 1 and 2 at the same time, honorably.

Although, the pastor I encountered wasn’t preaching the prosperity gospel, he was preaching the wear-yourself-out-trying-to-get-people-to-pray-a-sinner’s-prayer-and-God-will-like-you-gospel, the same message applies.

(Great article btw)

I was praying recently and the whole thing came back to my memory.

I sat down and cried.

A LOT.

I repented for my judgy attitude.

I began to pray for that pastor.

And for every church who has been taught a similar message.

If you have a pastor who you are mad at or have been wounded by, PLEASE pray for them.

Pray, pray, pray.

My heart is broken for the church. For the one that doesn’t know anything other than religion. The one that thinks God is keeping score and is constantly looking for perfect behavior. The one that believes our value is based on how many people we “save”.

Oh church, sweet church.

He is SO much better.

God loves you. He is for you. He isn’t keeping score. He is righteous because he knows you aren’t. Your value to Him is SO MUCH MORE than your good “works”. He wants you to live in freedom. To live filled with the Holy Spirit, so your life preaches his gospel of love, mercy and freedom. It’s intoxicating. It’s why those in the Bible who really got to know him, couldn’t say no.

This is the love He has for everyone. From strippers to pastors. And we are called to walk in that love just the same.

Hugs,

Anna

27 thoughts on “I witnessed to a pastor.

  1. Just fantastic.

    On Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 1:22 PM, just a jesus follower wrote:

    > Anna McCarthy posted: ” I was dying. DYING in my seat. This was a while > ago and I can’t even remember the guy’s name, but he was a pastor. Who > graduated from Bible college and all that. And he literally filled the room > with something that he claimed was the gospel, but was ” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your post made me smile at God’s way of working with his people. Sometimes I wonder how much of God’s request to love a difficult person is for their benefit, and how much it is actually about transforming us. About choosing obedience, about choosing humility, about choosing to see from his eyes instead of ours. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    -Amanda
    http://www.hopeperch.com

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anna,
    I love to read your posts! I have a whole family that feels this way exactly “For the one that doesn’t know anything other than religion. The one that thinks God is keeping score and is constantly looking for perfect behavior”

    I have been in and out of church since I was a child, now 45. Always seeing those that had IT. They had the LORD! I had no clue how to get it. (You’ve heard this before) I figured I would fake it till I made it! Finally, one day at church I just said, Lord I want what she’s got!! He peeled off the scales and I saw everything in a different way. Its hard to explain but I knew I would never be the same.

    Thank you for your honest posts. Putting it out there. I love it!
    Ranee

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ok I was going to google this “Prosperity Gospel” cause I have never heard about that. Could you tell me what it is?

    Thank you, Ranee

    Like

    • Hi Ranee!

      From my understanding, when people reference the prosperity gospel they are usually referring to people who teach that all God wants to do is to prosper you (God wants you to have a big house, lots of money, etc). They usually encourage you to donate money as a way to bring about your own personal prosperity.
      Gosh, I hope I worded that right. Someone else feel free to chime in! But, that’s my understanding of it 🙂 Hope this helps!!

      Anna

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! When I goggled it, up came a bunch of stuff. But I did read one that was very similar to what you just said and gave examples of famous preachers.

        Last year when I was smacked in the head, that’s what I like to call it, by my request to the Lord, I have come across many who want my experience with the Lord to be what they think it should be. Its been a bit disheartening and complicated. Its caused me to pull back a bit but I am stepping back into what the Lord has planned for me in my own way.

        Telling a new Christian to study spiritual gifts, prophecy and learn about blessings and curses is just to much for me right now and that was after a month of coming to the Lord. I was doing my quiet time on my own each morning and then after all that, it just exploded with what others were telling me to do. It can be so confusing. But the best advice I received was to Keep it Simple.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I just wanted to add if it may help understanding the different prosperities, Man’s verses God’s.
        Man looks at prosperity in the material possessions and God wants to prosper us with His Spirit with the fruits He produces.Growing in His abundance of love, goodness, kindness, peace, patience, self-control, faithfulness, joy, gentleness. The differences in walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit.
        Galatians 5:16-26. Sometimes the pastors or leadership will not take their eyes off what “they” do in works versing what the Holy Spirit does in our obedience. I hope i didn’t jump around too much on commenting, but walking in the Spirit is where we get rewarded, not in our works for man.

        Like

    • I too just recently came across your blog and I LOVE it!!! Cannot wait to read more. Agree with Dawn, your posts are soooo refreshing 🙂
      Thanks!!!

      Like

  5. Wow!!! I was right along with you in the begining of the article……..and then right along with you repenting near the end! Awesome testimony/blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have to admit that I was right there with you with messages that are not grace-based. Then you pissed me off when you actually extended grace to the pastor. This keeps coming before me over and over. I hold religious leader’s toes to the fire and have roasted them repeatedly. So, okay, I’m listening, still pissed off, but I’m listening and asking God to change my heart.

    Like

  7. It is hard to.bless those that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. It’s impossible! But that is why I need the Holy Spirit guiding me in all things. Left to myself I would stay at the judgmental door and fell justified in thinking that way. God help us.

    Like

  8. Thank you for reminding me and anyone, who believes in a risen Savior and all, which is taught, in the New Testsment, about being a Saint or a Christian, as we call ourselves, is real, extremely real and to be lived out. It’s taken me many years on the journey of sanctification, to dig deeper into the scriptures and not man’s opinions, quotes, quips, culture, etc., to realize ALL, in the Bible means ALL. God is no respector of man, neither are we to be. We are called to make disciples of ALL people regardless of title, socioeconomic position, and many other qualifiers, as led by the Holy Spirit.

    Like

  9. Anna,

    Thank you for this post. I’m sure it’s not coincidence, but I just found out about this church and pastor, only a few hours after I read your post. He is only blocks away from my parent’s house, and it scares me/horrifies me/disgusts me that he takes the pulpit with such hateful messages.

    If you have time, would you listen to what he has to say about gay people? I know this is such a divisive topic, but all I can think is that Jesus taught us to love.

    http://youtu.be/1BF_B7C5ONM

    He gets into the topic about 35 minutes in.

    If you have any suggestions other than praying for him, I’m all ears.

    Thank you so much,

    Nicole

    Like

    • Hi Nicole!
      Here’s my response when it comes to anyone (whether a pastor or not) who says something that doesn’t sit well.
      Sit down and pray. Ask the holy spirit to reveal to you why you responded that way. I believe the Holy Spirit teaches us all things. So, if you have that spirit inside of you, trust it. Listen to it.
      And after he reveals to you what’s going on (either with them or with you) pray and ask him to show you what to do with that revelation.
      He always knows best.
      Hope that helps!!
      Anna

      Like

  10. Wow. This is good stuff. The Church is hurting and we need those who are apart of it to step up and show people that God is LOVE. You have done your part Anna. Thank you for being a shining light!

    Like

  11. Wow, you definitely hit the nail on the head. The church doesn’t need our judgment, it needs prayer – not that our prayers themselves make the difference, it’s God working that does, but I think prayer changes our attitudes and hearts and makes them right before God, so He can use us.

    Like

  12. Good stuff! The true mark of the gospel is when “members become converted.” My prayer is that we all, as workers in the Kingdom, remember that we are saved by the blood of Christ and not the blood of our toils.

    Like

  13. Thank you Anna for being real and transparent. Your articles (just old term for blog) always encourage me. As a pastor I relate to both sides of your story. When i preach in my own power and agenda i loose site that all i am is a vessel, cracked in the moment. There are times when i need others to just pray for me. Believe me as a man of God I know when i am off the path. I have in place some warning signs; unkindness toward family and friends, (i can always be kind to sinners that makes me look good) when prayer irritates me, (yes i have had times when i have cringed when someone wants to pray for me). Please keep encouraging people to pray for their pastors when they really just want to criticize him. a product of God’s grace, Brother Glenn

    Like

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