What to do When Your Pastor Offends You


Pastors can offend in many ways. I know I have.

One Sunday when preaching on reaching out to strangers I noticed a student who looked distinctly international to me. Swelling with love for foreigners, I gushed, ?I?m so glad to see we have someone from another country with us this morning. Sir, what country are you from?? He looked around, unsure if I was addressing him. ?Yes, you sir, what country are you from?? He replied loudly, ?McKeesport, Pennsylvania.? End of sermon.

I once asked a lady when she was due. She wasn?t. I?ve failed to appreciate people for serving, failed to visit people when they were sick. I?ve called people by the wrong name ? I guess I really shouldn?t guess at people?s names, but when they?ve told me 20 times I hate to keep asking. ?So, ummmmm?..Chhhhhelsea, how are you?? ?It?s Bernadette.?

At times I’ve offended by my preaching. Sometimes because the truth is offensive. Sometimes because I just say stupid things.

If your pastor offends you, what should you do? Hang a Michael Bolton poster on his office door? (I probably just offended someone). Stew in resentment? Leave the church? Here are a few suggestions:

First, pray.

Next ask yourself, what does this offense reveal about my heart? What am I craving? Honor, recognition, or approval? Sometimes a strong reaction can indicate sin in our hearts. James 4 says the root of all anger is our cravings ? we want things and don?t get them. What is it you?re wanting and not getting? Sometimes we have unmet expectations we?ve elevated to idol status. The pastor should visit me when I?m sick. He should notice when I?m absent. He should consult me before making decisions.

Ask, is this one of the “multitude of sins” love covers or a serious sin or pattern of sin that God wants to help him with?

If you can’t cover it in love, go to him. But before you go, ask, what are my motives for going to him? Do I want to help him or blast him? Am I going out of genuine concern for God?s glory, his good, or the good of the church? Am I going in anger or love?

Try to believe the best. Maybe he just forgot. Maybe he didn?t get your message. Maybe he didn?t mean it that way. Maybe he just didn?t think that comment through.

Forgive him in advance.

Go humbly. Go with thankfulness for the grace you see in his life. Go in a spirit of inquiry. Don?t come in accusing. Assume that you might not see the whole picture or don’t see the situation correctly. Try to get the facts. Find out if he actually said what you thought he said. Ask him to help you understand why he made the decision he made. Then speak the truth in love.

And tell him your name is actually Valerie. And that you?re from Belize.

How about you? What other suggestions would you add?

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.


  • I have been attending a church for 6 months now and plan on joining the church in the next membership class. I have been faithful in attending morning services, evening services, men’s bible study, Wednesday night studies and suppers and I am involved with VBS this year. Its a smaller church with about 250 members. I feel offended that even with its an opportune time the Pastor has nothing to say to me at all except hello. I see him often in conversation with other people but he has no words for me. Is it because I am still just a visitor or you do think I have offended him in some way. I don’t know quite how to handle this because I really love this church and the Pastor. I would just like him to talk with me even if its just a couple of words. I don’t require much. Thank you

  • I understand pastors are just men and may have more problems than me but here is the deal: in this church i have been offended by some members who don’t want me to help because they are afraid. i understand is their ignorance but i liked my pastor and his wife who believes in me and several women came up to me and told me to help them with the women. we all took classes and the pastor said he chose 4 men to give a talk this coming friday and left me out. one woman blurted out my name saying to him i should be included and he just said, “sister” as if he forgot my name, he knows my name well, i didn’t say a thing . he blatantly left me out and after i realized what he did. i felt disrespected, as if i don’t matter, and then i see how other people ,one man and his wife who are leaders disrespect me too and if the head isn’t healthy and treats women and me that way then of course the rest will too, i am at the point where i would just like to go to a healthy place where i will just feel accepted, respected for who i am in Christ, and not even help anymore just sit and listen to the preaching . I have a lot to give and i feel i am in a place where there is so much jealousy, cliques, etc and i am tired i think. if they rejected Jesus of course they will reject me, if they rejected Paul of couse i will be rejected. The pastor’s wife really sees what is in me and wants me to help but he doesn’t help at all. I am so disheartened. Why pastors are so carnal, don’t they know the church is not theirs but the Lord’s? no wonder churches are so light, so carnal, so ready to be vomited in these last days due to their hardness and unwillingness to follow the Holy Spirit. as a woman and single it is really difficult. but i am ready to go talk and say my goodbyes i just have to find the right time and words to say i am leaving. it is unfortunate many good people come willing and ready to help only to be rejected by people who are not that loving, who are not that kind, who are very carnal. the pastor at times put this man to pray in the front and i see men who are godly, humble, love the Lord but because this man has a good job he puts him up here not knowing how much this man has truly dissed me, offended me, hurt me. all i do is forgive but it comes a point in time where one has to have certain dignity and move on. God bless. Jesus is coming soon for His bride unblemished.

  • My church was one of 150, there was a year of terrible fighting, gossip, back bitting. Our past o r is young, six children, brags he was a younger hunk, wrestling, has a temper, lazy, loves to take advantage of the vacations time he gets. Gets even. Lacks tact. Our church makes big deals out of money people, status in jobs. We now have 40 people, if the elders and wives left, we have about 20, everyone who went to this church after 20 30 years left, the church Secretary was fired. Pastor wants no decorations in church or dinners, not needed. He has gelled st me..I truth I dislike him intensely. I am looking to leave after 30 years. I have had it.

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