When I was 13 years old, everyone told me I was going to be a Pastor someday. I was pretty sure that wasn’t going to happen, I mean, I was going to play 2nd base for the Detroit Tigers.
Then came the day when I decided for sure that there was absolutely NO WAY I WAS EVER going to be a Pastor.
It was late on a Sunday night. Youth group was over and I had finished cleaning the basement (youth room) and I was walking upstairs to find my dad. My dad was the youth pastor. He was awesome at it. I loved it.
As I walked up the stairs I heard someone yelling. As I got closer, I realized it was someone from the church yelling at my dad. I stood there in shock. I don’t think I had ever heard someone speak to another human being that way before. The things he said were…well, they were hateful. They were hurtful.
That’s the day I decided that there was NO WAY I was going to be a Pastor.
I went through high school and again, everyone said I was going to be a pastor. I went to college for music. I was not going to be a Pastor! NO WAY! It took God pretty much starting a burning bush at a Sunday school Convention to finally get me on the path to being a pastor. I’ll never forget it. There was no technology in 1994 to keep my attention. But, this young preacher gets up and just pours out his heart and I told God that night I would do whatever He wanted me to do!
Thats when I willingly opened myself up for a lifetime of hurt and pain.
Wow, that’s kind of a crazy statement. But, the reality is, you can’t escape the hurt that comes when you get involved with people. We live in a broken world. People hurt each other. Even in the Church.
And, from my experience and talking to other leaders in the Church, the pain and hurt can be a level of bad that’s hard to comprehend!
If you’re in leadership of any kind, the pain that you’re going to experience is on a different level.
So, have you been hurt by your church?
That’s my question. The answer is probably yes. You probably have story after story. But, here’s question to your answer.
Were you really hurt by the Church or just some people from the church?
Think about it for a minute. Was it really the entire Church? Was it a few awful people?
Were you left out? Were talked about? Were you excluded? Did someone forget about you? Did someone say something negative about you on facebook?
Or, did you disappear from the church and no one has contacted you and you’re ticked! Or, did you say some disparaging stuff about others and you got called on it and now you’re ticked.
Or, did really want to be in a leadership position and you never get asked and now you’re ticked?
Let’s face it, it’s easy sometimes to get hurt by the people in your Church. But, my question is…was it really the entire church that hurt?
If an entire church was going to hurt us, a massive effort of collusion has to occur. Like, special meetings to get everyone together, including JESUS, because He leads the church and then they decide that they’re going to hurt you.
No?!? I don’t think it works that way. Now, I do think that could happen, possibly.
But, the majority of the time, it’s SOMEONE or a few SOMEONES that hurt us.
And, from my experience, the pain caused from those few someones can feel like its the entire Church! We get so bitter. So angry. So mad.
We sometimes get so mad at our churches and at our pastors they we in turn either want to hurt them or withdraw. And, the reality is, it’s not the churches or the pastors fault. It’s the few hurtful ones. But, again, it feels like its coming from everyone, so either people withdraw or hurt back.
If someone decides to withdraw, typically they…
- They start to show up less.
- They start pressing decline on the planning center invites.
- They come up with reasons to not be around. ‘I’m busy’ is the mack daddy.
- They start being less active on social media.
- They stop giving financially.
- They stop liking or encouraging the Pastor or staff.
If someone decides to hurt back back, typically they…
- Hurt others with their words.
- Hurt others with their actions.
- Hurt others with social media.
Let’s face it, it sucks to be hurt by the Church. But…
Why don’t we figure out the hurt?
I mean, scripture teaches us so much about conciliation. So much about pride and forgiveness and seeking those out in humility. So often, people choose to just flea. They leave their community. They leave their Church because of it. And I get it! The wounds are so deep.
And, TRUST ME, I understand. I’m not proud of it, but if I had a $1000 for every substantial time I thought about leaving (the ministry, pastoring and the church) because of pain of hurt, well, I could buy a few brand new iPhones!
I’ve experienced every type of hurt and pain there is. I get all this, I really do! It just sucks when the church hurts someone.
I HATE IT!
But, what if we commit ourselves to working out the pain and the hurt? What if we commit to staying? What if we commit to humbly doing whatever it took to figure it out?
The reality is…sometimes the pain is too great.
But, what if? What if there is another way?