10-6-2019 Remember Your Pastor

FROM THE PASTOR

October 6, 2019

 

I share this message because I’m confident that your hearts know my heart well enough to allow me to welcome you into a small portion of the life of most Pastors…

 

In one of my seminary classes a professor reminded us that ‘burn-out’ for a Pastor (plus anyone else who serves the Lord) occurs most frequently when we try to accomplish on our own what God intended us to accomplish through Him. He reminded us that even though Pastors are called to a unique field, Pastors are still human with human limitations. He warned us that one of the swiftest traps leading to burn-out is to forget we serve God first, before anyone or anything else.

 

It is easy for a Pastor to see something that needs done and add it to his list of things to do (even though that ‘something’ is often not his to take care of). Its easy for a Pastor to see a need in someone’s life and feel a responsibility to help ‘fix it’ and then encounter frustration when that person doesn’t want to receive help. Its easy for a Pastor to feel the pressure when the church is not growing… the congregation is not responding… and attending a service becomes optional in the hearts of those he has been called to shepherd. Its easy to feel OVERWHELMED which too frequently leads to being neglectful in hearing and disobedient in action to God’s guiding Spirit.

 

I once had a member (former church) take me aside and proclaim very sternly, “Never forget you are here to serve us”. My response was a simple, “NO, I am here to serve God. If any service comes to the congregation, it comes, because God is blessing the congregation because I am serving Him faithfully.” It’s easy for a congregation to forget that a pastoral ministry includes a diversity of people, personalities, gifts, needs and yes, demands. It’s easy to forget that it is our privilege to join God in His work and not the other way around. And it’s easy to forget that He is still the Holy and Righteous One whose leadership possesses the only true answer. It’s also easy to forget that we are all ‘followers” and we are all ‘called’ and it’s all about Him… and none of the all is about us.

 

Pastors carry with them details of people’s lives that no one (not even their wife) is aware of (or needs to be) This means he frequently has to be accomplished at walking a tight-rope between personalities, demands, issues and well-meaning interests of others. Pastors cannot always share the intimate details… some details are not for public consumption… some actions cannot be shared because of confidentiality… some delays in action cannot be detailed because it may affect someone’s life in an eternal fashion. If the Pastor has earned trust…please, trust him.

 

The majority of Pastors feel a tremendous burden to stay out of God’s way. My weekly prayer is, “Lord help me not to mess up your message”. I resisted the fact, but finally had to accept it, that not every message presented is going to be received by every person sitting in the pews. Please, if you sense that the message is not “yours” on a given week (even though we can all still learn from every message) … pray that God will use that message to touch the person or persons life it’s intended for. Rarely do I know myself who that person is but it is still my duty to sow regardless of the soil type it falls on. To that end… be a prayer warrior and hold my arms up while the battle is being fought.

 

A Pastor’s study time is vital to his relationship with God… his understanding of God’s leading… and his confidence that God is behind every message. There are times that God and I play tug of war with the subject matter of the message. There have been times that I have attempted to resist God by saying what needs to be said a little differently than first impressed to say it. Within a Pastor’s heart there is often the lingering fear that the message will be taken as “preaching at someone” or “having an ulterior motivation” ... or “self-serving”. Those times will be noticeable as invariably the message will be less than it could have been if I would have been obedient. Pastors MUST be obedient… sometimes it’s more than difficult…sometimes it down-right hurts.

 

Lastly, every Pastor is different. We don’t come from a cookie cutter. We all have that special uniqueness God has prepared us with as individuals. Don’t expect any Pastor to be like your former Pastor, or your favorite Pastor growing up, or your TV Pastor you enjoy watching, or the perfect one you’ve imagined. Be assured, if there was honest prayer as God impressed on congregation to extend the call, and the Pastor to accept the call, God knew there would be a perfect fit between the under-shepherd and the sheep. Embrace and appreciate the uniqueness of the union. In that, God will receive the honor and glory.

 

I can honestly say I’m not sure why this “From the Pastor” went in this direction. It didn’t start out like this. In fact, I erased a major portion I had already completed on another subject because I was impressed so heavily to write this. Perhaps it’s because I remain confidently expectant that God is going to use this Body of Believers to build His kingdom. After all, the empty pews aren’t just because someone is missing… they’re also for someone new God has prepared a place for. Maybe that person is just waiting for your invitation? May God bless us we journey together.

Thank you for your faithfulness. Pastor Larry

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