Dealing with Pastoral Hate Mail…

What do you do when you get a nasty email in your in-box?

You know... the one you get out of left field.  You've really ticked someone off (and they're not afraid to let you know it!)

Pastor Deepak Reju has some suggestions for some thing you should consider BEFORE you respond to that irate email begging your response:



Pastors Make Mistakes

You are sinner. You don’t always get things right. And hopefully, you’re humble enough to admit your mistakes. If you did make a mistake, don’t be prideful. Admit your mistake, ask for forgiveness, and move on.


Sometimes pastors will be falsely accused.

Suppose it isn’t a mistake you made, but an untrue accusation. Maybe someone doesn’t like you, so his or her plan is to stir up trouble. Sometimes someone makes assumptions about you, and, as you know, assumptions often lead to confusion. Sometimes a person is hurt by something you said or did, so they attack you.


Sometimes, pastor, your best intentions don’t matter.

As a pastor you will make decisions that, inevitably, will be disliked by someone. Or maybe you did something, and you had no idea that it would hurt or offend a church member. Here’s the kicker—Lord willing, you did this with the best of intentions. You never meant it to harm or offend anyone. And yet, it did.


Practically, do what you can to avoid the extremes of authoritarianism (where no critique is heard, much less cared about or sought after by leadership) and anti-authoritarianism (where everything gets critiqued, nothing is celebrated, and honesty is lost).

How do you cultivate an environment on staff and in your church where honesty, hard conversations, and godly criticism can be offered in a Christ-honoring way?  How?  Here are some suggestions...


Every pastor needs God’s grace.

Pastor, you are a sinner, just like your church members (Romans 3:23). But remember, more importantly, you are a forgiven sinner, just like your church members (1 John 1:12).


Pastor, ground your identity in Christ, not the opinion of your church members.

Your identity as a pastor should never be rooted in what others think about you. Instead, your identity must always come first and foremost from your union with Christ. He is your Savior. He is sovereign over every territory in your life, including your pastorate.

You can read more practical advice from Deepak here...

How do YOU respond when you get an irate email?  And... what was your last irate email about?  Care to share?  Scroll down and leave your comment NOW!

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