An open letter from a pastor to those who will listen

I have been doing “ministry” my whole life it seems. My dad was a pastor and my family can be best described as missionaries. I have been in ministry/working in and out of the church on my own and with my wife for 18 years now. I have seen it all. I have seen the amazing side of the church. The side that loves and cares for those who need jesus. Somewhere along the way, and I can’t remember exactly where, I saw the veil pulled back from the Church.

Pay no attention to the crap behind the curtain.

The hidden side of the church is an ugly side. It is a side of conflict, discouragement, gossip and hypocritical prejudice. We all know that this exists as a whole, but love the idea of our church leaders being exempt from such things.

Great words, rich with meaning and purpose, once gave the church purpose. Words like: evangelical, sacraments, charisma, and even Christian are now tainted by politics and culture. They now give way to judgement from people on the outside and Christ is automatically written off because of His followers.

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

I wanted to just spill some stuff from my soul and since this is my blog I can do what I want.

To those who are not in “the Church”

I am sorry…
I’m sorry that we have not loved as Christ loves us.
You are not our pet project.
We are not the sin police.
I am sorry you think we are nasty, judgmental, hypocritical, uncaring and isolated.
You are right…We are…
The truth is we are messy and scarred. Many of us are still bleeding from life.
We are torn and broken.
Broken people have sharp edges. Our words can cut deep.
Our leaders and pastors are good at pretending sometimes, but we are just as messed up.
We all need jesus.
What sins are you carrying?
I am carrying sin as well, but I get to lay it at the feet of jesus.
Please don’t let the cloud of my mess and imperfections make it hard for you to look through the Fog and see the light of Christ.
My job as a pastor is not to judge you.
My job is not to change you.
My job is not to constantly point out your cuts and then pour salt on the wound.

My job is to grab your arm and walk side by side with you helping us both chase after Jesus and rest in the shadow of His grace.

To those who are in “the Church”

Awake O sleeper. Rise from your apathy.
Stop licking your wounds while cutting others.
The church is a hospital for the sick and for those who don’t know there is a cure.
It is not a country club and a place to get “high” on the spirit.
If the spirit keeps telling you to stay in the building and not go tell others about God then you are listening to the wrong spirit.
Our call is to love.
More importantly our call is to walk in humility.
Always remember we are in constant need of God’s grace.
We can’t give grace when we haven’t received it yet
We can’t give the love of Christ to others when we haven’t submitted ourselves to Him.
Don’t forsake the one that loves you and gave His life for you and then pretend you are sacrificing sitting in the comfort of your brand new church chair.
Stop arguing.
Stop debating meaningless drivel.
Stop justifying and defending church culture and instead BE THE CHURCH.

Our job as the church is to point others to Jesus.
We are to shadow Jesus. To copy how He heals the broken hearted. To copy how He sets the captives free.
We are to be ambassadors of His love.
Preach transformation.
Preach grace
More importantly ask God to help you live it.



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15 responses to “An open letter from a pastor to those who will listen”

  1. Alastair Avatar

    Well said Joel.

  2. Bill Avatar

    Love this line – “Stop justifying and defending church culture and instead BE THE CHURCH.”

    I believe most people argue over these points because they are AFRAID of how their peers will perceive them for not agreeing/disagreeing as opposed to walking in a revealed truth.

    James 3:14-17 “14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”

  3. Stacey Avatar

    I am a currently dechurched former ministry staff member and I have to confess that the ugliness of church got to be too much for me. Thank you for writing this post…helping me to receive both an apology and a gentle nudge back toward action. Bless you.

  4. Amy Shea Avatar

    Very well put. We as Christians need to “be the church”. Not the physical brick and mortar church, but what it represents. I agree we are all sinners…this includes preachers. They put their pants on just like the rest of us. But as Christians we need to lead in example, act a a Christ would want us to…we represent “the church”. We can’t go out asking people to join our “church” if we are not acting like Christians.

  5. deb hanlon Avatar
    deb hanlon

    I cant remember ever reading anything from a pastor that was so personal and to the point and healing and honest. I wish every non christian could know in thier hearts the truth in what you have written to them….it would change many hearts….because that is exactly how most “pre” christians see us as a whole…you are right…as long as we christians sit comfortably in our chairs and judge and point there will be judgement against us too…so much to think about in this blog…thank you …

  6. Anna Cruz Avatar
    Anna Cruz

    Oh – how I know it. I am in constant need of His grace & desire more of His love..

  7. Justin Baker Avatar

    Well said, Joel. This is where I am finding myself as well. Humbled by what I see in myself and the church. Hoping to show others real love (as cliche as that may sound, it’s still true).

  8. Ben Abu Saada Avatar

    Great post buddy. Love it!

  9. bobbi wolf Avatar

    i agree with everything you said…….it is all about the love and grace of Jesus not about us…..

  10. Melanie Ciccarello Avatar
    Melanie Ciccarello

    good word, Joel.

  11. […] An Open Letter From A Pastor To Those Who Will Listen – Joel Klampert […]

  12. Louis Tagliaboschi Avatar
    Louis Tagliaboschi

    Great response Joel. Thank you.

  13. […] An open letter from a pastor to those who will listen […]

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