I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this before. Jim Standridge, a pastor in Oklahoma, takes about five minutes during a sermon to individually call out members of his congregation and address some of his frustrations with them.
Let me say this: I know people hated the rant, but I get it. I didn’t like it, but I get it. . .
Of course it didn’t take long for this video to go viral–and for it to make Christians and non-Christians alike get incredibly frustrated with this man. When I first saw it, I didn’t have this incredibly angry response (though I did wonder if he staged it). I felt bad for the people called out, but I just sat and watched. Over time, I had a few thoughts that may only interest me:
- Worship Services are Family Meetings: I always try to remember while preaching that new people and people who don’t know Jesus are in my midst. I think that is the right thing to do. However, at times, we lose the value of talking to our congregation. I think, though out of place, that’s what this guy was trying to do–talk to his people. Think of how the Corinthians felt when they were reading Paul’s letter, and he mentioned the man sleeping with his stepmom and the people who were suing each other. Everyone knew who he was talking about. Everyone. Gross. I wonder how the newcomer felt in that meeting.
- The Internet Has Jacked With How People Think of Pastoring: (This is connected to the above point.) Pastoring is a highly personal and highly contextualized business. I would hate if my conversations with my wife and kids were podcasted so that everyone could hear and judge it. I don’t pastor the internet. I pastor a specific group of people in a specific place at a specific time. My sermons are all recorded and put online, but I don’t care. It’s unfortunate that this guy’s rant was what he is (and will be) known for. I bet he does love his people. I have had many conversations with my wife and kids that I’d be embarrassed to have people hear and/or see.
- Every Pastor Has Stuff In His Heart that Needs To Be Repented Of: A lot of couples need to reconsider getting married. People are lazy and undisciplined in their worship gatherings. Sound guys are weird. I think the things Jim said were things that many pastors say–in their hearts. I know I do, and Jesus reminds me that thinking it is as good as saying it. You should hear the things that go through my head while I’m preaching.
- It Was the Wrong Place: Galatians 6:1 is the guide here. Gentle corrections go a long way. In almost any case, don’t call out individuals from the pulpit. But even rebukes have their times. Just not this time.
Jesus Christ was the only man who ever lived who was born sinless (virgin birth), who lived sin less (never sinned), who died on the cross for all man’s sins. He is your substitute. He took your place so that vile you and I could have a way to come to Holy God. This is called grace. Someone else has taken on my debt, my shame, and God laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all.
And also remember this (though absent of name-calling):