Thursday, October 25, 2007

This is my brother, Brad! Familiar hairline?

Being called into ministry is something that few people will ever understand. It is a powerful move of God when it occurs, but it comes with much more difficulty that many never see, and fewer believe exists.

Too many believe that those who are called live a life of leisure. Many believe they don't really do much, have lots of time to play golf, and generally take life easy until Sunday.

At the same time, they believe it is responsibility of the pastor to do all of the evangelizing, all of the hospital visitation, all of the visitation of new members or potential new members, all of the administration, handle the worship, direct the youth ministry, grow the church, keep their own family in line, preach every time the doors are open, and be able to do so in five minutes notice, because after all, they are the preacher.

Most of their lives look very different than we think. Their lives are a 24 hour a day on-call existence. They deal with multitudes of problems and issues that we never hear about, because they have integrity and keep things confidential. They are constantly pulled away from their families to do this or that, or go there because the church needs them to. They reserve a day a week for a day off, and we always feel free to call them on that day when we need help to do, whatever.

Their children are often resentful because they can see the emotional pull on the life of their dad, and the struggle it is to ever have him present at their own events in life. He is often too busy attending the needs of others to be able to be where he should be...with his children.

When his children do not act as we would like, it's open season on him and his parenting skills. We fail to realize that we have responsibilities for what is happening in his own family. We fail to be active enough to assist him with the needs of the body and thereby steal time from his children, and then blame him for their shortcomings.

Most ministers have no idea what they are headed for when God calls them. Fortunately, most would still follow God in obedience even if they knew.

I remember sharing my calling with a pastor's wife. I had great enthusiasm when I did. This poor lady had been beaten down and run over for so long, that all she could do was offer me stern and frustrated warnings about what lay ahead. She was not happy for me. Her experience was colored sharply by the harshness of reality in the body of Christ. She had seen what it had done to her husband, her children, and feared for mine.

Most believers do not realize how difficult it is for a pastor and his wife to find close friends. Those who will stand by them, help protect them and see that their needs are met.

Most are too busy firing pot shots because they didn't like the worship, the sermon, the length of time it all took, or how things went in children's church. They're mad because someone didn't show up in the nursery and caused a disruption in their own schedule.

You know the pastor really should have taken care of all of that, after all he has nothing else to do.

It is amazing how many will fire off anonymous letters to the pastor yelling and screaming about issues that are based on human traditions and have nothing to do with Scriptural truths. There is little to no backbone among those who feel free to do such things. There is just a need to cry out and place blame...apparently on the one who least deserves it.

It's kind of like when we crucified Jesus. We allowed a mob mentality to gain a foothold in our thinking. The blame game began. A scapegoat was identified. Surely, it must have been his fault. Clearly, He was not doing all He should. He certainly offended us when He said this. He had no business meddling in our affairs when He said that.

You know, I think it will make us feel better, if we just kill the guy. Lets heap all we can onto him, from the bowels of our own hypocrisy.

Better yet, there is probably a better one around the corner. Let's just run him out of town. The next one will surely be better than this one.

Maybe it all began two thousand years ago. I'm not sure we've discovered that we crucified the wrong guy. We just keep on doing it. All of our justifications are in order, so it has to be okay.

We are beating the wrong nail heads!

We need to drop the hammer and pick up the mirror.



At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen dad! I pray it is not your head someone is pounding upon today. Promisekeepers has been instrumental in making me understand the importance of standing with and protecting my pastors. I would also recommend highly Partners in Prayer by John Maxwell for those who need a little education and action plan to become an Aaron and Hur for their pastors. (Ex. 17:9-12)

Lord, we are a stiff-necked people. Thank you for men and women of all ages who answer your call, care for your flocks and who keep hugging our necks when we have given them every reason to break them! Give us eyes to see your kingdom purposes, passion for your will to be done by our hands and feet, and compassion for those you place in leadership over us. I ask in Jesus' name, Amen.
Mark \o/

At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never knew, or fully understood.
Thank you
God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana

At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome message Brent.

Couldn't you have use a picture from 1984?


At 11:17 PM, Blogger Rachel Wallace said...

I really got a lot out of this post, but in somewhat of a different way than I think most did. My husband is a pastor right now and we are both finishing up our degrees. Your post was an interesting look into the struggles, blessings, and pressures that he faces every day. Now I have a clearer view on how to pray for and be a help to him. Thanks!
Rachel Wallace

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Marti Pieper said...

My husband is also a pastor. And although we have had our moments of pain in our years of ministry, I would like to say that our family has experienced many many multiplied blessings because of his calling and obedience to and in it. As we have learned especially in recent years, by virtue of this calling, he is a pastor REGARDLESS of where he works.

As you mention, Brent, the element of "call" is critical. That's what we go back to when the criticism comes. That's what we go back to when praise might tend to cause our heads to swell. It really is all about Him and our covenant relationships with Him and with His people.

When we--pastor, church member, missionary, whoever--fail to recognize and remember that it is always the Lord Jesus Christ whom we serve, we put ourselves in the path of the enemy. Sometimes we fall, sometimes we fail, but ultimately--it's about our audience of One. Abiding in Him, obeying Him, and continually listening for His voice is the only thing that keeps us from either a critical spirit or one that places undue attention on the opinions of man.

Thanks for helping us remember these things always even as we continue

praying in pink
with tender love


At 2:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen... that is a good message for both those in and out of the ministry.

By the way... please keep me in your prayers... I could use 'em.

Sincere thanks...


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