Leave a commentPosted on December 31, 2014
The Exodus Stories
Note: This is in no way in opposition to previous posts regarding the church and its relationship to our pastors. In fact, it should be read in conjunction with those posts. I believe there is a space in which we honor and respect our pastors, without making them the end all authority on every church matter. Each church, and really each church member has to discover that space on their own.***
I just read another article by a former pastor.
These articles are often thought-provoking and informative. But more than that, I find them troubling. Why are so many stepping away from the church? Sure, there are a few who were caught in some scandal or another, and who were involuntarily removed from their positions. But for the most part, these are just regular guys, who felt it was best to step away from the congregations God called them to serve.
In the last year or so I’ve seen a couple of young pastors (45 and under,) in the first two years of their tenure, have to step away from the pulpit for weeks at a time. Why? Because they were tired. I’ve heard tales of midnight phone calls because a parishioner had an idea for ministry, or pastor’s breaking up squabbles between ministry leaders, or my personal favorite, the pastor and his wife planning their own appreciation banquet!
These pastors, many of whom are bi-vocational, and have families of their own, should not be expected to manage every aspect of ministry within a church. The gift of the gospel is both a burden and a blessing. While it is certainly a joy to be used by God, it is a heavy thing to be tasked with delivering the word of God, especially to those of us, who like Israel, are “stiff-necked” . We should not be adding to that burden. Their job is to preach, and teach and prepare us for ministry. It is not their job to perform every ministry function there is.
I’m reminded of two stories of Moses in the book of Exodus. In one story, Jethro advises Moses to delegate authority to “captains”, or ministry leaders, so as not to wear both himself and the people out. The second story is when the Amelakites make war against the Israelites. The Israelites win battles as long as Moses held his hands up. As Moses got weary of holding up the rod of the Lord, Aaron and Hur come alongside him to help carry the burden.
Dear friends. Our congregations are in desperate need of Aarons and Hurs, and leaders who are willing to do the hard work of ministry. Without them, the pastor and the church suffer.
So hold up. Step up. Lift up. Or the fall could be very great.