Friday, August 29, 2008

What You Should Know About Pastors

We don’t always get our way in the church.

I really get a kick out of people who say, “It’s his way or the highway.” Do they really believe that? Trust me, I don’t always get my way. If I did, all the ministries in our church would operate efficiently, volunteers would show up – and on time – people would get along, money would never be an issue, power-brokers would not jockey for position, and gossip would be non-existent. And one more thing - other people would accept the fact that "THEY" will not always get their way either!

We often hear too much about people.
Sometimes people tell me more about themselves than I need to know. It’s just not healthy for me to know too much. I understand now why the apostle Paul said, “I determined to not know anything among you, except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (I Cor. 2:2). Knowing too much about people often ties my hands when I preach.

We work more than one day a week.
When I hear people say, "preachers work only one day a week" I am always amazed at how ignorant such a statement (person?) is. Believe me, a church does not run itself Monday through Sunday all by itself. There are ministries to plan, staff to supervise, volunteers to recruit, policies to write, budgets to fund, leaders to develop, money to raise, people to take care of, services to prepare for, weddings, funerals, and buildings
to maintain.

And the last time I checked we were still a 501 (c) 1 non-profit organization chartered with the Division of Corporations with the State of Florida. This means we have state and federal laws to comply with, meetings to conduct, minutes to take, books of account to monitor, and bills to pay. We have corporate officers, incur liabilities, employ personnel and allocate resources. Add infitim.

In the midst of this maddening schedule we plan and prepare for the hundreds of people who will show up on Sunday. Then on Sunday we have to engage ourselves in the most frightening thing on earth – public speaking.

We hate it when people leave the church.
That’s right, we do. We want to be liked and it hurts when people leave. Myself, I always wonder if there was something else I could have done differently to keep them from departing. But people leave, and sometimes they need to, so I’ve learned to deal with it.

Ministry is hard. Not everyone can do “hard.” That’s why I stay with it; I can do hard. Bill Hybles said once, “You can cry over the people who are leaving or you can cry over the new people coming to Christ, but you won’t have enough tears for both." I don’t have too much time to cry over losses; - my energy is devoted to “plucking another firebrand from the burning” (Amos 4:11; Jude 23).

Most pastors really do love God, the church, and people.
When God calls a man or woman into the ministry something takes place in his/her heart that cannot be fully explained. i.e., There is certain awareness that of all the people in the world, God has “chosen” and “set us apart” for a “special work.” This “calling from God” causes a love to grow within us for the church that is very similar to the love that Christ had for the church.

I know it’s easy to assume the worst about (all) preachers. But trust me, and take it from someone who lives in the world of ministers – most pastors (all across church land) really do love God, the church, and people. They are sincere, godly, and full of integrity. And yes, they are human.