ever get scared?

20 07 2008

when was the last time you felt the goosebumps going up and down your spine and had one of those “i’m freakin’ out!” moments?

mine came in the form of an old blog entry i was reading tonight.  and when i say old i mean over two years, so back when bloggers were these nuts with nothing better to do.  they have definitely gained “cool” status in the last year since everyone knows someone who is this big blogger.

anyways, got this from TheResurgence, or Mark Driscoll, via PastorHacks.  the following gave me those goosbumps and chills i was mentioning before:

Pastors

  • Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
  • Fifty percent of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
  • Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
  • Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
  • Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
  • Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.

Pastors’ Wives

  • Eighty percent of pastors’ spouses feel their spouse is overworked.
  • Eighty percent of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession
  • The majority of pastor’s wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.

i am that recent Bible school graduate.  i am planning on going into full-time pastoral ministry.  in some sense, i am in full-time pastoral ministry right now.  and this freaks me out.

yes there are remedies and there are very practical things that are provided for those in ministry to overcome these problems that we are facing.  but it scares me to know that despite all of that, we still have this happening.

i have my own ideas as to why this is the case, but there are bound to be a great multitude of others who have their own thoughts.  personally, the island that is ministry, specifically being either “the” pastor, or a specific pastoral member, is what i believe to be the leading cause in these struggles of a ministry family.  we have come to believe in the approach to pastoral ministry that catapults the pastor from another church, school, or the general population outside of the church into the pulpit.  do you think this might be different if the pastor came from the actual church he started to serve in?  or if the pastor was no longer viewed as the perfectly righteous and holy one, but as the average Joe that he is, along with everyone else who calls themselves a member of the community?

there’s many reasons why this could resonate with me, and several reasons why it does, but as a guy who is preparing to go into this battlefield, do you think i might get a little on edge after reading that?

don’t get me wrong, the benefits of pastoral ministry and what you get to be a part of is beyond comparison (and i’m going to write about that tomorrow likely), but when you see stuff like this you can’t help but be scared.

so tell me, how do we change this?  or is it possible?

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jesus’ maturity

11 06 2008

Jesus has a different vision of maturity: It is the ability and willingness to be led where you would rather not go

i have thought of myself as being rather mature, rather wise in my ways for my age. of course i would never tell anyone else that i think i am mature and especially more than specific people around me, but we all have the thoughts. we tend to suppress these thoughts because it is prideful to hold such a thought and especially to hold it over others. but what if our idea of this profound maturity wasn’t at all what us “mature” people thought we had cornered the market on?

we believe that maturity is all about having the experience and head knowledge to act a certain way or carry ourselves in a specific manner. maybe, however, Nouwen is on to something in saying that maturity is going where we would rather not go. the notion of maturity is that the person can correctly identify where they should go according to human sense, or the logical choice. such a person chooses to stay at home and work for a few years, to “get some more cash” so that they can get started in life, when they know full well that they should be over in Africa. it’s the guy who decides to stay with his girlfriend for years even though he knows it’s not working out but it’s just safest in the relationship. it’s the pastor who preaches the prosperity gospel or that God just wants the best for you because you are good, in fear that he might damage the moral of his congregants and lose his job.

perhaps maturity is doing what doesn’t make sense, doesn’t seem like the wise option, and isn’t necessarily the popular choice, but a deep connectedness with God to the degree that the individual understands what must be done. perhaps we should stop deferring to our humanity all the time and take a risk, take a chance and trust the heart of God and what he may have in-store where he is leading us. so stop rejecting the prompting and jump at what God is offering, because he wants you to seize your life, not sit back and pretend to be mature.





the servant leader

5 06 2008

It is servant leadership…in which the leader is a vulnerable servant who needs the people as much as they need their leader

this follows closely on the heels of yesterday’s post about the responsibility of the leader to the community and the community to the leader.

a current struggle of mine is in regards to the role of the community in supporting their leader, beyond nodding the head during the sermon on Sunday morning, or shaking his hand on the way in or out.  in one sense the pastor or minister is an employee of the church, or the larger organization, that serves the community when they show up to “worship” with all the baggage out there.  if we hold just to this view, than the leader is just there to give the listener the product, or the message wrapped up with a nice little bow, and then withdraw until the next time or the next need shows up.  this is wrong, purely flawed.

the leader, assuming that he or she has an ounce of humility to lower themselves to some degree of servitude, is as much a part of the community as the man or woman who walks in with worries.  to take the position that the leader is above all others and therefore to be left alone at the top and to deal in a power exhortation downwards, is a corrupt view of the western Christian Church.  on a whole, pastors are left on an island by their people, the very ones who sing the praises of the preacher, or of the visit that the pastor made to the hospital during the past week.  one wonders if it’s that this is expected or that it is genuinely appreciated and valued.  what would it look like if your pastor was in the hospital?

we cannot ignore that the pastor is to minister to the people and is in place to lead the community of faith towards worship.  but the pastor is as much a member of that community that hurts, struggles, and doubts from day to day.  the pastor is not some perfect man on a pedestal, waiting to be worshiped and adored by his people because he did what was expected.  the pastor is as much in need of the very words that were spoken in the message as the man sitting three rows from the back, or the woman feverishly taking notes in the second row.  the pastor is a member of the body, is one with all other believers, not above or below, but has humbly accepted the role of leading the people to worship of the God on high.  the pastor is not greater, for he needs the people as much as they need their leader.

the question is, when will we start treating our leaders, pastors, and ministers as such?  when will we lose the stigmatism of a leader that doesn’t need the fellowship of his or her brothers and sisters as much as we need to hear the teachings and wisdom that God has given to the leader?

wake up people, we’ve got to learn to love our leaders as much as they love us.