Wednesday, November 3, 2010

An open letter to pastors in our world

Preface first: I genuinely feel the need to write this to every pastor out there who faithfully serves Jesus and is in the trenches today. I want my blog to encourage people from all walks of life. I am not personally seeking anything from this and I mean that. I feel like God wants me to speak this to you today. I feel like there are many pastors out there today who need this encouragement in a bad way! I love being a pastor and would not want to do anything else. I am healthy, content, revived, refreshed, and blessed to serve at Grace Community in Goshen Indiana. May these words truly encourage you to hold on, and to stand strong in the midst of giving your life away. I speak from experience and have walked in your shoes. My hope is that God uses this blog-post to pick up pastors who are thinking about giving up!

No one knows the depth of pain, anguish and hardship you and your family goes through on a weekly basis. You have been handed a high calling from God that requires great sacrifice. No person in his right mind would ever take the position of a pastor for money. The daily glass-house that you and your family lives in, can be overwhelming at times. Everywhere you go someone has an opinion on your ministry, sermon, decision, children, house, car, clothes, wife, and kids.

Your weekends are never the same again, when most people punch out at 5PM on Friday your work increases. Your weekend get-aways are non-existent because of your responsibilities. One sin in your life can lead to the end of your calling and job. You are held to a higher standard of life and people remind you often. Every week you feel the pressure of putting a sermon out there that is life-changing, loaded with power, illustrative, engaging and spirit-filled. It's like writing a term paper every weekend for the rest of your lives.

You rarely can appear in public without the eyes of people watching how you respond to a referee's call, an umpire's decision, or a fan's outlandish comments. You become the conversation of people's Sunday afternoon dinners, blogs, tweets and lunchroom breaks. Every move you make is critiqued, evaluated, and run through the mill over and over again.

You carry information about people and their lives to the grave that only you know. You know way more information about decisions that have been made about people, yet can never defend your decisions with that information. You are expected to have every answer that the Bible surfaces and your kids are supposed to be perfect. If you miss a hospital visit, wedding, or party you are looked down as not caring, or not as good as the last pastor.

There are moments in your most honest times that you wonder if it is worth it. It feels like people do not appreciate you, understand you, or follow you. You carry such a burden for people who have chosen to walk away from God. There are incredible attacks spiritually on your family from Satan; kids sick, cars breaking down, people starting fires with words, and a real sense of evil is present wherever you go. You are a walking target for the enemy, because of your desire to exalt God and proclaim the Gospel.

You battle the insecurities of people doing it better, the church down the street, and the podcast world of incredible communicators. There never seems to be a moment where you can just stop and say, look at what God is doing. Because someone's marriage is failing, or sin has invaded the camp. The list goes on BUT!

Here me clear and loud today!

You are important! You are making a difference whether your church is 20 or 2000. Very few people are willing to do what you do. It takes great courage to put your life on the front lines week after week with very little fanfare! Your ministry matters, and God loves you and is your greatest fan... If he could speak today, he might say Don't give up! Don't walk away! Don't give in to Satan's lies that try to tell you that your church is not making a difference!

The world is full of people who have directly or indirectly been impacted by your life. And when it is all said and done, deep down in your scarred heart and beat up body lies an individual who made a profound difference in this world! I am proud of you and I just thanked God for colleagues like you! Thanks from the bottom of my heart for not giving up! The world needs you and your family to press on no matter what!

1 comment:

randy said...

Thanks Jim, that was an encouragement. I have around me some great people that help me mature in spite of myself, and am glad to call you a brother. R