the fact that i am one, only makes things more awkward.
look. i am more than okay with what it says in the bible about the position of elder, bishop, shepherd, minister, deacon, preacher and even pastor (even though that word only appears once in our english bibles). i just kind of live at odds with what the church and society have made the pastor out to be.
for uh…hundreds of years. it’s been a while, but i’ll save the rant for another time.
here’s what i’m thinking tonight, tho. i read a lot. the majority of what i read is about the church. church leadership. church growth. church programs. church shepherding. church discipline. church problems. church finances. church…church…church.
on top of that, i do church stuff every day. church counseling. church planning. church study. church management. church strategy. church problems. church relationships. church meetings. church…church…church.
i read this article today about pastors and why they quit. the author said that nearly 1700 pastors quit their roles as pastors every month. geez. i had no idea there were that many of us. the article also said every year, 4000 new churches open their doors…and 7000 churches close theirs. wow.
talk about a mess. talk about a disconnect. now i don’t know all the reasons why pastors quit. i’m sure burnout and disillusionment and feelings of failure and unrealistic expectations rank right up there. i’ve listened to pastors talk about how frustrated they are that their church family doesn’t view the church the way they do.
i’ve listened to pastors complain that their people don’t respond to their sermons…don’t give enough money…don’t come consistently…don’t show enough support. i suppose this is at the heart of my ill feelings towards pastors the role they play in our culture. i’m weary of the whining.
most people are never going to have the emotional investment in church life the way i do. just like i won’t have the same emotional investment you have in your job or your family. that doesn’t make me better. it doesn’t make you bad. it just makes us normal.
i figured out years ago that most people…
- don’t think about church programs every day.
- don’t reflect on my sermons all week long.
- don’t remember what i preached on the previous week.
- don’t get overwhelmed by the church calendar.
- don’t even know where to find a church calendar.
- don’t think about the church’s utility bill.
- couldn’t care less that i know greek.
- don’t understand what seminary is.
- don’t have a clue what i do.
- won’t think about “church” again until next saturday night or sunday morning.
and i’m ok with it. really. i don’t obsess about what HR is doing at your work. i have no clue what the labor / management issues are at your place of business. i don’t know what your yearly budget is. i don’t know the details of the crises that you are managing at your work. i don’t know what IT guys do. or how pilots fly planes…or how to fix faulty gas shut-off valves…or how to deliver babies.
…and your work and your life and the details of how you spend the overwhelming majority of your time are close to your heart and give meaning to your days. just like mine does for me.
church is not a building or an event. it’s a family. don’t ever confuse church programs with the church. and i won’t confuse my role as the benevolent ringmaster of all things north point with the friendship we share.