Last week, I was writing about healthy and was reminded of recent events in which my personal unhealthiness, brokenness and sin, showed through quite thoroughly. As much as I would like to tell you about it in vague terms, I don’t think it will be helpful. So I will stick my neck out since this story is truly MY story. It doesn’t reflect badly on anyone else either. Only me.
When the announcement was made that our pastor was going to be leaving our church, I was very sad. I was barely getting to know his wife and loved his preaching.
But, I soon realized it was important to get a good person in as the next pastor. One who was appropriate for this church at this season of this church. Deep inside me, I felt this desire to be on the pulpit committee (the group of people who work together to find the new pastor). I’ve been on the other side of pulpit committees. For the most part, it has been a positive experience. But I have learned a lot from it…both from the jobs we didn’t get (thankfully) and those we did.
I knew there were good reasons why this wasn’t a good idea for me and some reasons it was a good idea, so I prayed about it and decided to be quiet about it…something unusual for me. I felt that if it was meant to be, and GOD wanted me to do it, others would suggest my name without prompting.
As it turned out, my name was suggested, I had to fill out some information and answer some questions. In the end, I wasn’t chosen. I have to admit, I was disappointed not to be chosen.
It was like going back to Jr. High even though logic told me otherwise
In my head, I went back to all those times in Junior High and older, when I didn’t get picked for teams or voted for offices. I tried to put it out of my head with logic, but just as back then, it didn’t work. Logic doesn’t work for feelings! It was disappointing!
I also kept making the case to GOD for why I should have been chosen and why no one else could have done what I could do on that committee. I can be so arrogant and full of myself that way!
You know that idea that if something is going to get done, I have to be the one to do it? I thought I had mostly unlearned that attitude, but as it turns out, it is still there! Dang!
Let me tell you, going to a church with such an emphasis on grace is really hard on someone with my long self-righteous history. It forces me to be honest in ways I haven’t been used to in a long time! Thanks a lot Jean Larroux!
Watching GOD work through this committee and the session (our elders) had reminded me that I am not essential for every work of GOD to be successful, GOD is!
As I saw the work the committee is doing and the time they are putting in, I realized that the time and skill needed for the committee is way more than I could have managed. But at our recent retreat, one point that was made about the Gospel kept hounding me. (At least I think that is where I heard it.)
Our speaker was talking about the Gospel and how refreshing it is…for people who have been Christians. She said we can go to GOD in prayer and find that He IS working already!…in our home, church, community, work environment…even when it doesn’t look like it right now.
I realized that a recent report from the committee to the church brought out the fact that GOD is working! As a church, we are praying more about this need for our church…both for the preparation of our pastor in terms of him and his family for us and our church for him!
The other thing I learned is that the committee made up a questionnaire for all the members to fill out and turn in to give them input about us, our needs and some preferences.
The make-up of the church has changed so much in the last few years that I think it will be helpful to them in many ways, not the least of which is in finding the pastor we need for now. I was sure that nothing in this area was being done and that no one was thinking about the make-up of the church now, and yada-yada, when all along, GOD was working!
Somehow, I think, when I don’t know what is happening, my imagination makes things up. Fortunately, I didn’t share my ignorance with others.
Isn’t it amazing how GOD works in places where we think we HAVE to have our fingers dabbling? Or our agenda must be the one that is being used? When things like this happen, I am reminded once again that this is GOD’s church. Of course, He is working through Godly leaders. I am being small-minded and arrogant to think that they don’t know what they are doing if they don’t do things my way or on my timetable!
Does that mean I shouldn’t give them any input? NO. But the way I do it should be with respect…realizing that they love Jesus too. That they care for Christ’s church too!
But their perspective includes many more factors than mine does. Many, many more! So, I will give feedback, but stated in a non-whiney, non-judgmental way. I need to approach them humbly. I don’t know their motives. I need to be honest about that…with them and with myself!
If my dealings with them prove otherwise ie. that they are not humble, repentant when they fail, continually arrogant…then we are dealing with something else. That isn’t the situation I have here.
Where do you need to repent, change your attitudes and behavior in your dealings with the leaders in your church?
In the process of not “making the team”, going to the retreat, recognizing my arrogance, to name a few items, I realized I need to repent of not offering more encouraging words to our session…and pulpit committee. I need to be more intentional about encouraging them.
It is much more difficult in a larger church like this to encourage them like I tried to do in a smaller church. But even there, I failed. Regular encouraging of your pastor and elders, deacons or whatever name you have for them, will only benefit your church! The high ratio of complaints to encouraging words can make their job very unpleasant.
You know the saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”? That seems to be what most people think…so they squeak (or worse!) when they see things they don’t like and take for granted the things they do like.
Why not make a point of dropping a note/email to your church staff/pastor/elder board to thank them…
for something specific that you do like
that GOD has used them to bless you in a specific way
for what is going well at the church you attend
to assure them of your prayers and support during difficult times
Before you send it, read it over.
Is there a~
back-handed compliment…which isn’t a compliment at all!
If so, take it out and change the wording.
Give it as a gift as if you were giving it to Jesus! You are.
These are all servants of Jesus, not servants of you or me.
We sometimes forget that.