It's hard to forget the times that a person shatters trust by neglecting a promise made. Everyone has experienced having a promise broken by a person or two in the past. Okay, maybe a dozen times.
And there is the likelihood of your pastor being part of that list of individuals who have betrayed your trust before. I have worked in the ministry for over a decade now as a volunteer, administrator and minister, and in the course of that period I have experienced some broken promises and some of those broken promises were broken by me.
The first step to dealing with promises broken by pastors is understanding that your pastor is human, and just like anyone else, he or she is limited in his or her ability to keep promises.
Is that an excuse to loosely throw around guarantees? No, it's not. Is that a license to shy away from the consequences of broken promises? No, it's not. However, when dealing with pastors who have broken serious promises, church leaders and members have a responsibility to carry out as well.
Here are some things we can do to help our pastor through the pain of breaking promises.
What your pastor needs first and foremost is forgiveness. Whether it's a promise for new equipment, to not use certain kinds of jokes on stage or to come to important family events, your pastor needs your forgiveness for the promises he fails to keep.
We all have our flaws and our limitations, but as long as they are not big enough to create compromise in church leadership (such as sexual immorality, misappropriated funds or doctrine issues), then it is not beyond repair.
Work to restore trust
Pastors need to be accountable to other men and women who lead them through keeping their word and working through offense. Oftentimes, a church would be blessed to have a set of elders or deacons to help restore public and personal trust.
In times when they have committed grave acts of mistrust, pastors need to be brought through a process of restoration as well. Who can better take care of the leader than the followers whom he or she has served?
The tendency is often to retaliate against those who hurt us, but the Bible makes it clear that revenge is not the best alternative to dealing with offense -- most especially if it is offense committed by a leader and a brother or sister in Christ.
In times when pastors break promises, either intentionally or unintentionally, let us be ready to protect our leaders simply because they are our leaders.