Pros and cons of loving people:
One of the bits of advice I heard when I was considering pastoral ministry was, “Love the people.”
That sounds common sensical and is very true. It is also very difficult.
It’s easy to love the idea of people. It’s easy to love people when you assume they will be so grateful for your life-changing sermons and advice that saved their marriage and helped them raise great kids.
But when people call you during supper to warn you they will leave your church “unless” you bow to their demands, love gets tougher. When people yell out disagreements at you during your sermon and invite people to their house afterward to inform them of how dumb the pastor is, love is hard. When old timers from the church invite you over for dinner, only to find out it’s an ambush so they can stand over you and lecture you about how you are ruining “their church,” love gets hard. When you are accused of being legalistic the same week someone leaves your church because you don’t enforce enough rules on the people, love gets confusing along with hard.
Continue reading “Serving People Who Despise You and Other Perks of Being a Pastor”
George Muller’s prayer raised 100’s of orphans. My prayer once got my daughter out of the bathroom before I peed my pants.
The way George Muller tells it, he prayed and hundreds of orphans were fed. He wrote a book about it. I read it. I don’t know. I’m one of those guys. It’s possible this is simply my guilt and inadequacy on display, but I think George Muller was full of crap.
I think the same thing when I read about Francis of Assisi. They just make me want to puke.
I’m not belittling anything they did that was legitimately of faith. Just the way they convey what they do to others, I don’t know, it creeps me out.
There are all kinds of stories about these “great men of God” who did these “great acts of faith.” If we just could be more like them, then we would be awesome too.
There’s a solid chance these guys are better than me and anyone else I’ve ever known. There’s a chance. Not saying that’s impossible. I am saying it’s highly unlikely. People are people. I know some are better than others, but at the base, we’re all people.
The thing I don’t like about books about or by these guys is that God comes across as a genie in a bottle. If you pray right with the right amount of weepy and the right amount of feels, then God will do all this stuff for you. It looks more like superstition than anything explained in the Bible.
Continue reading “Alleged Christian Testimonies of Ministerial Triumph”
When pastors sin,
they don’t just have guilt over the sin
they also have guilt about whether they should be a pastor.
Pastors are people. Most pastors know this, but others tend to forget.
People are sinners.
Pastors are people.
Thus, pastors are sinners.
Pastors make mistakes. We have bad days. We lose our temper. We covet and lust after things we ought not. We lie here and there. We sin.
Sin is not good. Christians are at war with sin and the life of every Christian is a battle against sin. Too many Christians resign themselves to sin. “Well, Bible says we can’t help sinning, so whadaya gonna do?”
Pastors should really be taking this battle seriously. And, I believe, should have a track record of successfully battling sin. There should be a higher standard and that standard should be met regularly.
And yet, pastors are people. People are sinners. There’s a reason why grace and forgiveness are a thing.
One of the frustrations with being a pastor is that I’m not allowed to talk about my sin, and watch out if one of my sins is ever on display.
“You know, pastors shouldn’t do that. Maybe you should get out of the ministry.”
Continue reading “Your Sin and the Doubts About Whether You Should Even be a Pastor”
If you’re not doing anything else in a church, I fail to see why you should be getting married in a church.
“Would you do our wedding?”
Pastors rarely hear more terrifying words than these.
I used to do every wedding I was asked to do. But after 20 years of doing weddings and seeing the disastrous results of most of them, couples are now placed in a position of having to convince me to do their stupid weddings.
I have many bad feelings about weddings. Doing weddings is never mentioned in the Bible as a thing pastors do, nor is the church ever mentioned in relationship to a wedding.
I know some hold up marriage as a sacrament and there is good mojo from having your wedding in a church by a “man of the cloth.” But, trust me, the mojo is about as effective as going to the court house and getting a license signed.
I’ve had several couples where neither person attended church, or only one did. Again, at the beginning of my ministry I held out hopes for evangelism and getting people into church. I thought by doing the wedding the Gospel would be advanced and my church would grow.
I told many of them that they didn’t have to pay me; just come to church. They faithfully came to church all the way up to the wedding. Once the wedding was performed, poof! They done disappeared.
But I did all those weddings. They are all divorced now. Evangelistic results did not occur nor has my church grown, in fact, my church has a terrible reputation for marriage now.
Continue reading “This Pastor is Done With Doing Weddings”
The worst part about being a pastor is that I have no idea what I’m doing.
Regular people with regular jobs get performance reviews. They have a boss who tells them what to do and are given raises, promotions, or demotions based on how they perform. Even business owners can track the bottom line; the money will let them know how well they are doing.
But pastors have no bosses, at least not most. Some of you weird church hierarchy denomination people have such a thing, but alas, you’re weird. I have no performance reviews. Pastors are constantly told not to measure effectiveness by money or attendance.
So, what do I base my performance on? How do I know if I’m doing a good job?
“The spiritual growth of the people.” Oh great. And how, pray tell, does a guy judge that? And, furthermore, when a guy does judge that, boy howdy, how does he come out of that feeling like he has a clue that he’s doing anything right?
I have no idea what I’m doing.
As far as I can tell, the best way to know what a pastor should be doing is to not be a pastor. All non-pastors know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
Continue reading “Pastors: If You Always Know What You’re Doing; You’re Probably Not Doing it Right”
That new church you’re taking that looks so perfect?
Some pastor just left that church looking for a perfect church.
By the time I put in 15 years at my church, a guy I graduated with was on his fourth church. He couldn’t find a place that felt right. So he kept looking. He’s now at a church for an extended length of time and feels he has “found his church home.”
That’s good. I am happy for him.
From an outsider’s cynical view, finding his “church home” looks an awful lot like, “I found the place that pays me the most I’ve ever gotten for doing this gig!”
Now, again, I’m a terrible person and I am not the judge. I’m just saying what it looks like.
Did it ever dawn on anyone that maybe one of the reasons there are so many terrible churches is because no pastor will stay long enough to help them repair? Most churches have never seen selfless service in person. Many pastors are in it for themselves, not for the benefit of the church (Romans 16:17-18).
I know a lot of pastors and I listen to their words. They tell me why they are leaving their church.
We need to get more families/young people/old people/men/women but no one is willing to do what’s needed to get them to come.
— I hear this one a lot. There’s a certain market the pastor wants to attract for some unknown reason, and yet no one else in the church seems particularly concerned about getting that desired market. So the pastor leaves because the church won’t get him his audience he prefers. Why not just minister to the people who are there instead of firing and replacing the entire congregation?
Continue reading “The Top Four Reasons Pastors Leave Their Church”
The typical Christians’ ability to get a joke is a good indicator why there are no jokes in the Bible.
One entertaining thing about doing an anonymous Christian humor account on Twitter is the number of people who take me seriously. A quick glance at my timeline would demonstrate to people that I’m just making dumb jokes and an occasional point.
Yet the number of people who feel a need to correct my terrible (supposed to be kind of funny) take on pastoring, church, and Christians is quite large.
But non-humorous Christians are not just on Twitter; they are everywhere Christians are. Routinely I make jokes in my sermons. Very few jokes get a response. Maybe I’m not that funny, or maybe they’re all sleeping.
Several times people have taken issue with my sermon jokes. I said “shut up” one time in a joking manner in one of my illustrations. A family expressed their displeasure with me using that phrase and left the church not long after.
I made a joke one time about my son doing some dumb thing and how I wanted to kill him. My larger point was about the Gospel. My son might do something so bad I’d feel like killing him, but never would I feel like killing my son for a sin some other person did. I thought it was an insightful point about the Gospel. I was later lectured about promoting child abuse. These people left the church not long after as well.
On and on it goes. People need to lighten up. Here are a few quotes from G. K. Chesterton on the issue of humor and Christianity.
Continue reading “A Humorous Pastor Dealing with Humorless Christians”