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Is my pastor's behavior appropriate?

Discussion in 'Baptists' started by filly, Apr 28, 2005.

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  1. filly

    filly Member

    I moved to southern Louisiana a couple of years ago, and my wife and I started visiting churches a few months ago. My only experience with church growing up was in the Baptist denomination. My wife really hasn't been exposed to "organized" religion. Anyway, our search for a church has been centered entirely on Baptist churches. FWIW, if this adds any relevance, we're both in our 20's and have a toddler.

    After visiting a couple of churches, we narrowed our decision down and started attending the local First Baptist Church. This is a fairly small church--about 40 people on any given Sunday. The average age of its members is about 65 years. In fact, I think we're the youngest in attendance. The pastor, again about 65 years old, is very friendly, open, and an all-around nice guy. He always makes a gesture to us at the start of every service. If the gesture were spoken, it would probably go, "Welcome. I'm glad to see you both here. We need more younger folks like yourselves. Thanks for coming." Again, a very amiable person. We also enjoy his sermons very much (isn't that what's most important!?).

    So, my question. A couple of weekends ago, I came down with a nasty cold, and my wife decided to take my son and go to church by herself for the first time (we had only been there about 3 times by then). When the service was over, my wife gets our son from the nursery and goes to the car. Son's in his car seat and my wife is in the driver's seat. She was about to pull out of the parking spot when the pastor taps on the window. She was a little startled and rolled down the window. I think he told her thanks for coming, etc. She mentioned why she had come alone and the usual chit chat. Before they parted ways, she said he leaned in to give her a peck on the cheek. You know, kind of like you'd do in Europe when you greet someone, except only once (not both sides). Of course, he's not European (and did I mention, he's a pastor...)--he's down home southern folk. So, my wife told me about this because she didn't know what to make of it. She asked if that's how Baptists are, i.e. very friendly. She thought maybe it's just how some people do things in the South. I really didn't know what to tell her, but I don't really feel it was the appropriate thing to do. Obviously, I'm not worried about the pastor running away with my wife or anything. I'm just wondering what your opinions are of this. I mean, I wouldn't expect that a 30-year-old male pastor would kiss a female member of his congregation. But is it excusable that the pastor is an older, country gentleman? Obviously, I'm trying to decide whether to keep going to this church. I really like the atmosphere and the sermons.
  2. GreenEyedLady

    GreenEyedLady My little Dinky Doo

    I would definatly say, THAT is not a very smart pastor.
    I would ask him about it. That was your wife he was peckin!
  3. ZiSunka

    ZiSunka It means 'yellow dog'

    Once, when I was in college, my boss gave me a ride to school because it was raining and too cold to stand out at the bus stop. When he dropped me off, I almost leaned over and gave him a kiss. I didn't do it because I loved him or anything, but because normally my boyfriend would drive me and I'd kiss him before I got out of the car. It was a reflex. I stopped myself just in time, but it was weird for both of us. I was very embarassed, but he said his wife always gave him a kiss before getting out of the car so it seemed reflexive to him, too and not to worry about it. :blush:

    I bet that's what happened with your pastor. He might normally give his wife a kiss before she drives away (a lot of pastor's wives drive separately to church so they can go home and get lunch ready while he finishes up business at the church) and he just did it as a reflex and not to be fresh with your wife or anything. :)
  4. constance

    constance The littlest billy goat gruff

    Sounds like a "grandpa" kind of kiss to me....

    I've been kissed on the cheek by similar pastor types and did not at all get the "yucchy old man" vibe.

    Did she get a yucchy old man vibe?

    And yes, there is some sort of double standard - I'd be much more likely to deck your younger brother than your dad. :)

    Greet one another with a holy kiss, and all that.

  5. filly

    filly Member

    Nah, I don't think she got the "yucchy old man trying to make a move" vibe. My first impression was of the "ol' granpa" type. When she gets back from visiting her parents in a few days, I'm gonna have her read this thread and see how she looks at it. I'll let her make the final decision on whether we go back or not.
  6. rural_preacher

    rural_preacher Well-Known Member

    I imagine that this pastor was just doing what is "normal" for him. My brother-in-law is a pastor in the South. He hugs all the old ladies as they leave on Sunday mornings. In fact, some of them are probably there more for the hug than the sermon. :D

    You mentioned that this pastor is an older gentleman. He probably perceives you and your wife as being his kid's age.

    I think you are wise in letting your wife make the decision since she is the one who was kissed and she knows just how it all happened.

    BTW, I'm a pastor in a rural area in the North. People in this part of the country aren't generally comfortable with hugs and kisses (except some of the older folks). If I tried kissing anyone other than my wife I would probably be shot. :p

    Sometimes I miss Southern sensibility and hospitality...but I'm glad to be where God wants me to be.

  7. P_G

    P_G Pastor - ד ע ה - The Lunch Lady

    This is a really hard call you know
    I am a pretty huggy pastor
    and if I know some one well I might give them a kiss on the cheek

    Provisio always when Miss Bonnie is around and never EVER EVER in a sexual way

    I think it might have been a bit forward since he does not seem to know you all real well yet. I think it was a judgment error on his part.


    Pastor George
  8. filly

    filly Member

    Should this at all discredit the legitimacy of this pastor? I have OCD, and I can already tell I could turn this into some huge problem in my head: Is he a true man of God? If I am saved and baptized while at this church, will I truly be saved? And on and on and on. I can see it coming. In other words, would a real, sincere, pastor working for God kiss members of his congregation? OCD is terrible. I'll have to ask my wife to make a judgement call on the nature of the "peck."
  9. constance

    constance The littlest billy goat gruff

    It certainly sounds like you need to talk to your wife. She's your rock, isn't she? I feel like that too some times.

    In several places, the Bible says, "Greet one another with a holy kiss" or "with a kiss of love".

    Pray about it, and I'll pray for you.

  10. P_G

    P_G Pastor - ד ע ה - The Lunch Lady

    Would a pastor kiss his congregation yeah I think some would it is a judgement call however if he is just a physical person and this is something you don't want you need to simply say look that makes me uncomfortable.

    As for the rest being saved or baptized

    lets change the discussion

    Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior now?
    Lets have a talk!

  11. RED that's ME

    RED that's ME *~*God *IS* Love*~*

    I'm a southern girl and my grandfather is a retired Baptist minister. IMO it's one thing to hug a member but a lil' over the top even for a peck on the cheek. My pastor tries to always have his wife around or another staff member when he is counseling/talking with females it's good accountibility IMO. Not knowing the pastor there it's sorta hard to make comments. I also asked my mom about that and she has been around bunches of pastors all her life. Honestly I would just suggest keeping an eye on the situation if you & your wife sees anything out of the way you need to deal with it then. :angel:
  12. desert_island_1

    desert_island_1 Be Transformed - Romans 12:2

    I think it is kinda hard to say but you may want to speak to the pastor about it and just say how you felt a bit uncomfortable about it and ask him not to do it again
  13. filly

    filly Member

    No, I don't, and neither does my wife. Oh, boy, you're opening up a Sam's Club size of worms on this one. Let's just say that right now I don't feel I'm ready yet due to a perceived lack of faith and many other things. When I take that step, I want to know that something actually happened.

    At some point, I'd like to have any pastors of the forum who are willing, volunteer to receive a lengthy letter/email describing my situation and concerns. A major reason that I want to ensure the pastor in question is a sincere pastor is because I plan on bringing my issues up with him. I need some serious pastoral counseling.
  14. filly

    filly Member

    By the way, I'm brand new to this forum as of today, and I wanted to say that I appreciate ALL of your responses, although I find it hard to reply to everyone. I just don't like people feeling that I don't value their opinions, especially when I'm asking for them.

    Thanks again.
  15. daveleau

    daveleau In all you do, do it for Christ and w/ Him in mind

    Many pastors take Scriptural mention of the holy kiss literally. Usually, it is older ones that do.

    Rom 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.
    1Cor 16:20 All the brothers here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
    2 Cor 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.

    A look at the probable intent of the passage warrants that a hearty handshake or a warm hug would be the equivelant of a holy kiss in the 1st Century. The intent is to warmly greet the other members.

    I would NOT take this as a slight on the pastor assuming this is the only thing that has happened that you (or she) feel uneasy about. The pastor is probably old fashioned in his theology about certain things, and the holy kiss is an old fashioned theology. Please pray about this and don't let this get in the way of the place God put you in (assuming that He guided you there.) If he had done something more inappropriate, I would be remiss to give the above advice, but a peck on the cheek to a young girl is nothing to get too upset about. If this continues, it is your duty to let the pastor know that you are uncomfortable with this (or she is uncomfortable with it). Don't just leave the church and leave the elder pastor wondering what he did to drive you away.

    Instead of focusing your head on this superficial problem, focus it on Scripture. This is a Scriptural interpretation issue, not a sexual harassment issue. If you let it turn into the latter, then Satan has done his job and successfully turned you away from God's purpose (assuming this is where God wants you...of which you can only know through a routine prayer life and personal relationship through fellowship with Him in prayer).
  16. Stefan Davidovich

    Stefan Davidovich Active Member

    Would he kiss your wife on the cheek in front of you?

    It strikes me as odd that this first occurred away from your presence...but of course I don't know nearly enough to really comment.

    Absolutely! I would also encourage you to talk further with Pastor George.

    Welcome to the Baptist forum!! You will be in my prayers as you continue on your journey.

    Many blessings,

  17. aReformedPatriot

    aReformedPatriot Ron Paul for President!

    Amen Dave, I totally agree.
  18. daveleau

    daveleau In all you do, do it for Christ and w/ Him in mind

    You can be saved anywhere, anytime. It is up to you and has nothing to do with procedure outside of what Scripture says that you have to do.

    Romans 3:23
    "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
    We all have sin in our hearts. We all were born with sin. We were born under the power of sin's control.
    Admit that you are a sinner.

    Romans 6:23a
    "...The wages of sin is death..."
    Sin has an ending. It results in death. We all face physical death, which is a result of sin.
    But a worse death is spiritual death that alienates us from God, and will last for all eternity.
    The Bible does plainly teach that there is a place called the Lake of Fire where lost people will be in torment forever.
    It is the place where people end up that remain spiritually dead.
    Understand that you deserve death for your sin.

    Romans 6:23b
    "...But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
    Salvation is a free gift from God to you! We can't earn this gift, but we must reach out and receive it.
    Ask God to forgive you and save you.

    Romans 5:8
    "God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!"
    When Jesus died on the cross He paid sin's penalty. He paid the cosmic price for all sin, and when He took all the sins of the world on Himself on the cross, He bought us out of slavery to sin and death! The only condition is that we believe in Him and what He has done for us, understanding that we are now joined with Him, and that He is our life.

    Romans 10:13
    "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved!"
    Call out to God in the name of Jesus!

    Romans 10:9,10
    "...If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."
    If you know that God is knocking on your heart door,
    ask Him to come into your heart.

    Jesus said,
    Revelation 3:20a
    "Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him..."
    Is Jesus knocking on your heart's door?

    John 1:12
    "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God,
    even to those who believe in His name!"

    If you want to be Saved, all you have to do is believe in Christ as your personal Savior and ask Jesus to enter your life. A prayer something like this is all you need, but anything with the same intent in your own words will work as well. Talk to God. He is there for you and while He deserves our utmost repsect, He is our friend and does not need high and mighty speech to be reached:

    Heavenly Father,
    I come to you in prayer asking for the forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my mouth and believe with my heart that Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
    Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose from the dead and I ask you right now
    to come in to my life and be my personal Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and will Worship you all the day's of my Life!. Because your word is truth, I confess
    with my mouth that I am Born Again and Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus Name, Amen.

    If you just prayed this prayer and you accept and believe all that it says, then you are Saved. Go spread the news to your pastor and to those in the Church!

    God bless,
  19. novcncy

    novcncy Well-Known Member

    I agree, that's what it sounds like to me too. I have moved around a lot, (Army), and been in many different churches, but when I got married we started going to our current church, which sounds like a very similar situation, except it's in Maryland. The pastor there was elderly, and viewed us almost as his children. I don't know if he ever kissed my wife, but I know he hugged her, (and me too :0 ) He's retired now, but still goes to church with us, and I hear him tell grown men, in public, that he loves them. Hmmmm, what's so wierd about a pastor loving people??? (that's a sad commentary by itself!!) At first, I thought it was really wierd, but then I saw that that was exactly how he hugged his grandkids, who are just a few years younger than us, and I realized he just wanted to nurture us and let us know he cared for us.

    The bottom line, is that if it really bothers you, you should go ask him about it. If he does see you almost as his kids (and in a way, you're part of his flock, so you are :) ) then you should feel honored. If you're getting the "yucky old man" vibe after you talk it out with him, then you should find another church. Don't do anything drastic until you talk to him, and don't freak out and let your imagination get crazy either. If you find it's still bugging you, go talk to him, as a brother. If you feel he's just expressing his love for you, be glad your pastor truly cares for you.
  20. Tappanga

    Tappanga Senior Member

    See, I think you said it right there. If you knew them well. It was the OPs wife's third visit to the church (correct?). That's too creepy for third time there (and I'm a huggy baptist in the south).

    I'd pray over it, and watch him closely.
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