Friday, October 21, 2011

I Can't Attend Every Event

Although I would like to, I can’t attend every meeting, event, or ministry function that takes place at PCC.  There is simply too much going on.  This isn’t easy for me because I like being around people.  Yet, as our church has grown I’ve had to learn how to let go and allow others to lead in my absence. 

Consider this true story.....

Chuck Swindoll once described the personal pain that he experienced during such a transition in his church.

On one occasion, a long-term Sunday school teacher came to Chuck Swindoll and said, “Pastor, the last two years, when I invited you to our Sunday school Christmas party, you turned me down.  This year I’m not going to take no for an answer.  You have to come.”

Pastor Swindoll said that encounter hit a painful nerve.  Everything inside him wanted to say yes to his friend.  Instead, he replied, “I turned you down the last two years for the same reason I’m going to turn you down today.  We now have twenty adult fellowships, all of which have Christmas parties, and if I attend all those parties, the Swindoll family will not have a Christmas together.  There would be too much going on.  So I’ve decided to decline all invitations, and I hope you can come to terms with that decision.”

The Sunday school teacher walked away in an angry huff.  But Chuck Swindoll knew that overextending himself further would cause more long-term harm than good.  But still it hurt to say no to a member who expected his senior pastor to be available.

HERE’S THE LESSON:  Was the Sunday school class really less cared for because the senior pastor did not attend?  No.  What about the class’s social and fellowship needs?  The very gentleman who demanded Pastor Swindoll’s attendance was doing an excellent job of providing care himself to the group all year long. 

The fact is:  no one suffered because of the pastor’s absence at the party.  The only distress was within the member who expected that his senior pastor would be there, and within the senior pastor who hated to say no but knew he must.

That is the dilemma I have faced:  the more inclined I am towards direct personal involvement for everyone and every event, the greater my struggle is in learning to let go so that certain parts of the ministry can be carried out by others.

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