Written by cycleguy on October 18th, 2017

I’m not big on politics. Frankly they turn my stomach. I simply refuse to preach politics from the pulpit. I won’t endorse any candidate from the pulpit and seldom say much on a more personal level of discussion. But while the following article from Chuck Swindoll might be speaking of politics to start, it switches gears quickly and speaks about an even more insidious cancer which eats away at pastors, churches, and people in general. Here’s Chuck:

I see it every night on the news. The politics of backslapping and handshaking and making sure “so-and-so” isn’t turned off—it’s maddening! (We call it “smoke-blowing” here in Texas.)

At the end of the political rainbow the pot of gold is “favorable public opinion.” Period.

If we’re not careful, we can let politics work its way into our churches. And even worse, into our pulpits. In fact, the pastorate is a breeding ground for this sort of thing—maybe more than most professions.

I love the way the apostle Paul keeps our motives clean and focus sharp:

For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4–5 NLT)

People-pleasing is a very tempting allurement, especially for people in ministry, because most of what we do gets done through people.

When needing volunteer positions filled—whether . . .

  • In the nursery
  • For a Sunday school class
  • Among the ushers
  • In our music ministry

It’s easy to massage our words and say more than we mean . . . or say something other than what we mean. (That’s called a lie.) The pastor must resist the temptation to flatter. We must refuse to play both sides against the middle.

Don’t go there. Why? Because once you start, it’s hard to stop.

When a pastor is a people-pleaser, he sits on the fence so as not to offend anyone. He remains neutral when he should NOT be playing it safe.

He tells people what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear.

That’s not pastoring . . . that’s politics.

Look at the apostle’s words one more time. I find myself both challenged and refreshed by Paul’s transparency:

Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.


I spent way too many years as a people-pleaser, i.e. playing the political game. As I got older I realized that was a losing game. So today, while I try to be sensitive to people and their feelings, I also realize sometimes “politicians” can be the biggest hindrance to the church being the church.

Are you a people-pleaser? Is your pastor one? Are you part of the reason he is? Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jeff says:

    Trying to please everyone is a fools game. That is not possible. Politics is not the art of getting the most votes and getting re-elected. Politics is the art of making decisions that are most beneficial to the group being governed given all of the diverse opinions of the group being governed.In businesses, of which churches are one type, often times you must be true to your mission which leaves no place for people that prefer a different mission. In other words the approach to accomplish the mission may have diverse opinions that should be considered and hopefully the decisions made will better accomplish the mission, not compromise the mission.
    I am glad you do not get political from the pulpit. Some do and in my opinion should have their tax exempt status revoked.
    In our somewhat dysfunctional system of government today, politics is not happening. Decisions are not being made. The right answer is usually in the middle of the extremes and not on the left or the right. And the news is dominated by left and right wing demagogues that offer no solutions to anything.

    • cycleguy says:

      No argument here Jeff on anything you say. I’m a firm believer that personal agendas need to be scrapped for the good of the team. As for political in the pulpit: I can promise you or anyone who comes that no matter when they come politics will not be mentioned. I’m not in favor of it all and an inclined to agree on the tax-exempt status. And who knows when and if we ever get the full & complete news?

  2. I was a people pleaser for years, Bill, but no more! I think all of us, not just pastors, need to remember Paul’s call to please God first in every thing we do. Thanks for sharing these wise words from Chuck.

  3. Pam says:

    No matter how hard we try to please people someone will always be displeased. Pleasing God may not please people, but people don’t hold my life here or in eternity in their hands. I owe it all to Jesus–the only one I should be pleasing. . . if I weren’t so fallible.

  4. Ed says:

    I gave up people pleasing a long time ago. Now I just love them.