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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You May Be Killing Your Pastor

It is traditional for a church to have a pastor who is the leader of that church. He must be good at preaching and administration. He must counsel and discipline the members. He must be at every function, every hospital stay and every fellowship. He is expected to drop his vacation for a funeral or any other crisis in the church. His days off are hardly his days.

The pastor preaches tired sermons because they come from a tired man. He is typically overweight, diabetic and flirting with a heart attack by the time he is forty years of age. On top of this, he is the most criticized person because, even with all of his effort, he really hasn't been all places at all times. He has walked past a member when entering the church and been castigated down the halls and on the telephone for his unfriendliness. He has been accused of misuse of the church funds when there is an unexpected expense. He is considered lazy by some members because they don't see him at the hospital emergency rooms in the middle of the night. They don't know of the visits he makes to help a family heal through an adultery. They don't see him praying over the person in the nursing home who can't recall that he was there.

I am not in a church like the ones I am describing. However, I know several of my fellow pastors who are. They want to grow and help their congregations but the discouragement has become such a weight that they can hardly get up each morning. One said, "I feel like a boxer who has been hit so many times that I can't hold my hands up anymore. I don't have the energy to block the blows. I am just taking a beating and no one is there to call the fight."

Churches often elect search committees to find a pastor. They come back and tell the church that he can walk on water. He preaches a trial sermon and the church says that he can walk on water if the lake is frozen solid. They vote to call him their pastor. He comes. Within three months they say that he can't walk on frozen water but he can swim.  A year passes and the church says that he can't swim. Another year passes and they say that not only can he not swim but he is them down with him. They stand on the shore chanting, "Give up! Give up! Give up!" They want a new pastor. Even the one they got rid of before him seems better than the one they have now.

This ungodly action and attitude is killing pastors all over the world. It is the work of satan. It is his desire to see those whom God called become failures. These pastors feel like failures. They wonder who they have disappointed each day they enter. They wonder why God would make them go through this pain. They wish they could do something else with their lives. Eventually, they don't care if they live or die. They just want it all to end.

Of course, God will have the final word. He will "reward" each of these people for what they have done to their pastors. They will suffer for their own actions in this life too. They will have missed God's presence on this earth.

If you are a pastor reading this, I would like to tell you something that God has just told me to tell you. He has not forgotten you. He knows the struggles you are in. He knows your heart and He will deliver you. You may suffer for a little while but not forever. He is Almighty!

Now, send your pastor a note of encouragement. Believe me, he needs it.

Hebrews 13:17 (NIV)
17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

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