It’s Okay to Say No

As a pastor and church staffer, I am way too familiar with church culture. A huge part of church culture is the nominating committee. You know those awesome people that come to you during the summer and guilt trip you? Yeah! That’s them!

I have seen committee members sit around in meetings and nominate people who hate kids to serve in the nursery, people who hate music to lead the choir, and the meanest people to serve on the hospitality committee. Then, they chase people down on Sundays to ask them if they will serve in a particular area. What happens if they hesitate or say “No”? The guilt trip! The well-meaning committee member proceeds to tell the person asked that they should fast and pray for a few weeks and surrender to the will of the committee, I mean “the will of God”.

I say so much of that in jest, but it is okay to say no to something God is not calling you to do. I have been asked to do things and I have politely declined. Sometimes I received the guilt trip, while at other times I was given the liberty to obey the Lord.

If something is not within your skill set, you may not be called to do it. Just because you are asked to do something does not always mean that God opened a door. The devil may have created a distraction for you.

A year ago, I had the potential opportunity to pastor an established church. I preached there 4 different Sundays. They already had an established building and a parsonage where my family could have lived. It would have been an easy financial solution, but God wasn’t calling me to it. He was calling me to start the church I now pastor.

So often, we do things for self rather than for the Lord. Or we do things so we do not disappoint someone else, but we do so begrudgingly. I could have easily taken that opportunity, but I would have not done so because God called me.

Understand your calling and operate within it. If something distracts you from your calling, say no. You will find that you have the energy and passion to give yourself wholeheartedly to what you are supposed to do, not what others think you should do.

Author: Matthew Winters (The Comeback Pastor)

Born and raised in Portsmouth, VA, I eventually landed in upstate SC because when God calls I move. I gave my life to Christ in 1987 and surrendered to the call to ministry in 1997. I am a three-time graduate from Liberty University and Theological Seminary: BS in Religion (2003), the MA in Religion (Leadership concentration - 2006), and the Master of Divinity (Pastoral Ministries - 2013). I have served as a worship leader and senior pastor in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia since 1996. After experiencing a divorce, God graciously gave me my wife, Jennifer, whom I married in September 2015. Between the two of us, we have 6 children. I am the Lead/Founding Pastor of Overcomers Church in Walhalla, SC, a church plant that is helping those who have been overcome by life to become Overcomers in Christ. Jennifer and I both love people and long to see them enter into a relationship with Christ and walk in the power of His Spirit. I pray that these thoughts I share will challenge and inspire you to greater heights and deeper depths for the glory of Christ.

14 thoughts on “It’s Okay to Say No”

  1. I get that totally. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not people running around putting pressure on me…it’s ME putting pressure on me. I sometimes think I have to have my finger in every pie around. I actually said no last night to something. We had a group going to a youth rally, and I didn’t go. I had no real role there, and had plenty of things in my actual called ministry to do, so I didn’t go.

    1. I have too many stories from my own life of things I convinced myself I did “for the Lord” out of guilt or was forced to do them because I was on a church payroll and the pastor wanted to me to “earn my keep”. Now that I am a pastor, I step in and intercept before I see someone getting ready to burn at both ends or operate outside their calling.

      1. It’s not my quote I heard it in a message from a Pastor ( I can’t remember his name) who has been called to work in a India…lol…that’s all I remember about it, but what he said stuck.

      2. After being in school and having the anti-plagiarism rule drilled into me, I will at least say that the thought came from someone else if I can’t remember whom. Several well-known pastors lost their ministries because of plagiarism. On another note, after reading and hearing what you and others are learning from school it makes me want to go back or get some kind of further education. I tried to get on staff teaching as an adjunct professor, but God hasn’t opened the door. Everything is in His timing.

      3. Go to Christian Leaders… it’s free if you just want to learn sharpen up the noggin. It’s awesome. And I took college classes at a campus before and I will say that after you take the introduction class…the courses are beyond college level. I love them. Right now I am in Apologetics, Christian Ethics, and Sermon Preparation. The Doctrine is SUPER SOUND – plus they have lots of classes that teach about relationship issues within the church. Peace Smart is a good one. It’s free – all of it – and very professional.

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