Mark reminds all of us regular church-goers...
Can I speak up for pastors? I wish more people took Hebrews 13:17 seriously.The verse in Hebrews is something that I take very seriously. As someone who was in full-time ministry I know how frustrating it is to lead people who don't submit to the authority of the pastor. The work of ministry slips easily from being a joy to being a burden. Especially when people in churches dig in their heels and resist the leadership of their pastor.
Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.
Here is what Paul is saying: spiritual leadership is tough enough! Don't make it tougher than it already is. Pastors carry a heavy burden, but it's double trouble if the people you lead don't have confidence in you or submit to your spiritual authority. So here's a challenge: try to make leadership a joy for the spiritual authorities you follow.
Here is the advice I gave my pastor friend: confess when you're wrong and confront when you're right.
Pastors need to fess up when they mess up. And I'm not just talking about moral failure. I'm talking about the ability to say I was wrong. But don't be afraid to confront when you're right. Leaders need to say "I'm right" when they are right. We aren't doing anybody any favors if we let them think they're right when they are wrong.
Not confronting when you're right is just as weak as not confessing when you're wrong.
Leaders need to be held accountable for the way they lead and followers need to be held accountable for the way they follow. And I'm going to say something that is easy for a leader to say, but it needs to be said: I think followers will be judged by how much of a burden or how much of a joy they were to lead.