The Burden of Church

I was inspired to post on this topic because I keep reading all of these blogs from pastors called, “I love my church!!” and “I love pastoring!!” and “If I loved my church and loved pastoring any more than I do, my nipples would burst!!” And I think it’s cool that they feel that way, but I often don’t. Yesterday I explained WHY I pastor anyway, but for me it’s not because I get a lot of joy out of it. So from what do I get my joy?

Well, in my opinion, from the right places. As far as I can remember, God never teaches us to get joy from pastoring or from our church. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. If you can, more power to ya. But there are two places (that I can think of) where we’re told where we’re to get our joy. (1) Nehemiah 8:10, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (2) Proverbs 5:18, “…rejoice in the wife of your youth.” (I’m not going to mention the fact that the next verse says, “may her breasts satisfy you always.”) (Whoops, just mentioned it).

I don’t acheive this perfectly, but I want my joy to come from my relationship with God and my relationship with my wife. Personally, I don’t look to pastoring or my church for joy. If I do get any joy out of that, that’s just icing on the cake.

So, maybe my “confession” has encouraged you. At least, if you feel like I do, you can know that you’re not alone.

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Vince Antonucci

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

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