It’s very easy to be a “Monday Morning Quarterback.”
In the almost 40 years of ministry, I have heard it all. You’d think the church would be more considerate of things. You’d think that God’s people would be more tolerant and supportive of things. Yet, I have heard statements like this and you probably have too:
“I’m just not getting anything out of his sermons anymore.”
“I’m not getting fed spiritually.”
“I don’t like how long his sermons are.”
“I don’t know why he’s always preaching about money.”
“I don’t know why Pastor is always preaching against _______.”
“Maybe it’s time for our pastor to move on, find another church. You know, we might need some fresh thoughts in our church.”
I used to shrink away from conflict in church. That was when I was younger. Now, I welcome conflict. Do you know why? I believe that conflict is simply someone wanting/needing additional information about something and not knowing how to go about asking for it. And, usually, once the information is given, or they have an opportunity to “vent” their feelings, things get back to normal and the church moves ahead again.
However, I have known some instances where conflict is so damaging that the church splits, the building sits in ruin and the testimony of the church is damaged beyond repair.
So here’s something to think about for this week: Your pastor is human. Yep, that’s right — they are human. They don’t have wings or a halo or feet of gold or feelings that can’t get hurt. They have been called by God to do something that would scare most people to death — minister to and help Christians grow in their faith. Build a church, reach out to the lost and share “thus saith the Lord.” And in this world of change, where too few believe the Bible is God’s Word, and every other week it seems there is a need to “re-define” this or “re-define” that, your pastor’s calling is getting more and more difficult to perform.
Statistics tell us 97 percent of pastors have been betrayed, falsely accused or hurt by someone close to them, and 70 percent of pastors battle depression. Seven thousand churches close each year, and 1,500 pastors quit the ministry each month. Only 10 percent of all pastors will retire a pastor, and 80 percent of pastors feel discouraged. Ninety-four percent of pastors’ families feel the pressure of the ministry. Seventy-eight percent of pastors have no close friends, and 90 percent of pastors report working 55-70 hours per week.
It’s not an easy job and your pastor works more than just on Sunday or Wednesday. Your pastor is actually “on call” 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Many times I have received a call for help at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. and sometimes, our days don’t end until way late at night.
So the next time you get a little disturbed or angry at your pastor, instead of flying off the handle and telling someone else, call your pastor, set up a time to meet and sit down and talk with them. I’m sure the door to their office swings both ways. And before you call them up to schedule a time to talk with them, maybe you should spend some time on your knees talking to God about them. That might be all that needs to be done.
And that is Something To Think About for this week.
Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at (740) 852-7800, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.