The Senior Pastor or administrator doesn’t like me.
“How do I work with a senior pastor or administrator who doesn’t like me?”
You have been hired to serve under, and support, this senior pastor or administrator. This doesn’t mean that you must agree with everything he stands for, but it does mean that you must be respectful while carefully expressing your own views. You must always remind yourself that you are serving God, not the senior pastor or administrator.
“Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” Matthew 10: 11-14
If you feel the senior pastor or administrator doesn’t like you, you must ask God to help you discern your feelings. Is it his/her actions, body language, or words that you perceive as being “unfriendly”? Are you expecting something that he/she is not able to give? This first analysis is much like David’s prayer in Psalm 139, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!”
If, after your own self-analysis and prayer, you are certain that you are not causing the dislike, or misinterpreting his/her actions, your second step is to do all you can to support and be positive to him/her. There are people who are just plain unlikeable. These people can be cold and unfriendly. Unfortunately, they often work their way to the top of ministries or organizations. Ask the Lord to open your eyes to this reality. Does he/she have any positive relationships with any other church staff member, or are there others on the church team who may also feel the same as you do? It helps to discover this sad condition. It helps because it might lift your own guilt of feeling like his/her dislike is focused only on you.
You have tested yourself, and you have “investigated” the senior pastor or administrator’s relationships with other church staff members. You may have discovered some bits of information about the senior pastor or administrator’s seeming dislike for you. These bits of information may help, but they don’t change anything about what God says your attitude should be toward your senior pastor or administrator. God tells you to honor those in authority over you, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1) God also warns you about fighting against “the Lord’s anointed” in 1 Chronicles 16:22 “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!” and David repeated this principle when he was facing Saul in 1 Samuel 24. David refused to harm “the Lord’s anointed.” Your “job” is to honor and support your senior pastor or administrator.
Another thing to remember is that your value or identity is NOT dependent on others’ opinions or views; but rather on God’s love for you! It is much like an athlete who has trained and established his/her talent in sports. This athlete probably gets criticism from others, but because of his/her focus, the attitudes or opinions of others doesn’t really affect him/her. This focus is what God wants us to have! Our focus is on the “Great Commission,” and honoring God. If we have peace that we are doing our best in those two areas, others’ seemingly dislike for us shouldn’t really matter. This is a mental exercise, though. Humanly, we want everyone to like us!
If after doing the best you can to bless and honor your senior pastor or administrator, he/she still shows signs that he/she dislikes you, you might be faced with an even more serious decision. If you feel you can no longer respectfully serve under your senior pastor or administrator, you may be in the same situation as the early disciples in Matthew 10: 11-14. Jesus told them to do all they can to bless and honor those with whom they come in contact, but if the blessing isn’t returned. Jesus told them to “move on.” He actually instructed them to “shake the dust off their feet,” which was a serious symbol of not letting their dislike affect their ministry.
Rather than fighting against a senior pastor or administrator who dislikes you, it would be better for you to do the best you can to support and honor him/her until you feel it is time for you to move on. This is a situation that demands serious prayer!