Thursday, April 5, 2018

Really? This is it?

Whoosh! That sound is the sound of me blowing the dust off my blog…and boy is it dusty. Barb mentioned  a friend of hers was reading my blog and I began to panic and try to remember what I may have written in my blog that I regret now…kidding. While my blog has been pointed at leadership issues and styles I hope to expand it a bit in the future. I did find that in part of my writing I was angry at the state of the Church and even at times angry with my own tribe. I do apologize if my anger or frustration seeped in and offended some. Having led a church now for over 20 years a reasonable person would assume leadership would be easier now. I am seasoned…and also my head and my heart have taken quite a beating. One needs to remember that the person out in front makes a great target. And if fear or injury takes over that leader it leaks to the rest of the group. Fear. It creates indecisiveness, makes one want to shrink back and it paralyzes. Quite an effective tool of the enemy. 

A favorite quote of mine comes from a small book a I read a few years back titled, “Jim and Casper Go To Church.”  Jim Henderson, a former pastor and Matt Casper, an atheist go on a road trip visiting about 10 churches, many of them of the mega style. Now let me say up front this book is not an in-depth study of churches and how they work, it was more like a drive through view of church. At one mega-church with lights, and cameras, big cameras and smoke machines and a lot more Matt turns to Jim and asks, “Is this really what Jesus asked you guys to do?” I have never been able to shake that question and again to be fair if we all rolled out Radio Shack sound systems and used hymnals or over heads we would be criticized also. But…what brought this question back to me is the things I see pastors have to be concerned about. The incident that caused the question come back for me was an innocent one. Our sound guy took Barb aside recently and said he would be leaving the church in June. Now before anyone goes off on him let the say that 1st off he is in love and he is engaged to a wonderful young lady and he has decided to go to church where she attends. That is not evil…it is sweet…and it seemed to crush me. Why? How did we get to the place where a young sound person can seem to make or break our church? I read the Bible and wonder why didn’t Jesus or even Paul address things like sound people, small group leaders, or musicians? Jesus spoke to hundreds and even thousands at a time…without lights or a sound person. He fed thousands without a commercial kitchen or a smoke machine. 

My point here is not to criticize all the glitz or to throw my sound guy under the bus, again he has an incredible servants heart, but to unveil a bit about the things pastors and leaders concern themselves with…many times at the cost of them loving their own neighbor! I heard myself asking Jesus Himself, “Is this really what you called me to do?” Can I be real transparent with you? Only a pastor knows the feeling of having a person you love and have cared for come tell you that this is their last week at the church…on a Sunday morning. And they tell you like it is good news! You have to smile when you want to cry. You have to hug when you want to run away. You have to go preach all the while you feel like you are bleeding to death on the inside. Please hear me when I say I am not writing so someone will feel sorry for me. Don’t! I love what I do….even the crazy parts. I love the people God brings our way…all the way to the back door if need be. But I write in hopes some young guy or lady who will or is even now leading a church will know they are surrounded by other leaders who know exactly what they are going through. They actually may be kicking butt right now and they are the place to be…but what they are called to do is not wrapped up in the details of sound, musicians, heating and air or any other thing screaming for their attention. What has to sustain us is making sure we are sitting at the feet of Jesus and taking what we get in our times with Him to the people we are called to shepherd. We need to be living from His love for us, being secure knowing He loves us and that He has called us, so that every day we can love what He loves…and He loves the Church. Not the structure and the buildings…the community of believers who have called on His name.

My blog is called “Thoughts From a Regular Guy” and that is the difficult deal of being a leader, a pastor. I am not special…I do not have a secret line to the Father…I do not live in a bubble…I am not extremely gifted. I am a regular guy…who has been called…and I said yes…like thousands of other men and women. We said yes…to serving the Head of the Church, Jesus, and to loving His body, the Church. One more thing to my friends who are leading churches…when I look into the mirror I do not see Pastor Bill…I see Bill…Jesus follower Bill. The title can be taken away…but who you are in Him is eternal…live there…