There can be a tendency for those in the congregation to fail to appreciate the work of the pastor. The job is often misunderstood for a variety of reasons. People often feel that theological training is less intensive than in other fields and that they themselves could easily earn a masters degree if they had a little time on their hands. The task lends itself to the frequent joke concerning a pastor working just three hours a week. Obviously, this point of view is sorely lacking.
However, pastors are often guilty of the same flaw. During my time as a pastor, I discovered that I frequently formed and defended opinions concerning insurance, investments, construction, and a variety of other concerns. The problem was that I had not really earned the right to an opinion because I had not taken the time to become informed in that particular field. Occasionally, I would find myself clinging to my ideas even when opposed by men who had devoted their career to the topic at hand. Think of the incongruity of that scenario. I, whose only experience concerning insurance was that I compared three quotes for my car on progressive.com, debated an insurance agent. That shows both a lack of humility and a lack of judgment. I know I am not the only pastor to ever do this. Whatever the field, it is wise to allow those who have put in the hard work to become recognized leaders in their field the freedom to lead.
I think both sides need to step back and appreciate the unique skills and experiences that God brings to a local church. Both sides should feel free to ask questions. This is not a call for anyone to blindly follow another. However, both groups should humbly value the others’ contributions to their chosen profession. I think this is at least a small part of what it means to lead gently.