Friday, February 08, 2008

Closing Reopened Sepulchers

One of the things about pastoring is that people come and go; people drop in and drop out. Pastors, does your church experience a change over in faces every 5-7 years?

The ‘coming’ is always met with excitement. The words are very encouraging – ‘best church,’ ‘great pastor,’ ‘love the children’s ministry’ and on and on.

So, who wouldn’t be encouraged!

But, sometimes people blow in, blow up, and blow out!

Sometimes the going is nice and sometimes it ends up ‘hitting you with their best shot.’

It’s the ‘going’ part that often leaves the pastor hurt and frustrated. We love people, care for them, go the extra mile for them, sacrifice for them, and so forth.

So…When they leave we have to close that chapter, nurse the wounds, and bury that hurt in a sea of God’s love and healing. Then we move on…. Caring, loving, and sacrificing for others!

But wouldn’t you know it… the cycle gets repeated. Then you are not only dealing with the present ‘going’ but for some reason, the tops blow off of all the past sepulchers and the dead ‘goings’ resurrect to haunt you again. Your memory is flooded with the ‘issues’ in the theater of your mind. Oh great… reruns!!!!

You expend a lot of emotional energy fighting the devil of condemnation, defeat, and frustration, … rapidly running from one open sepulcher to another trying frantically to get the ’resurrected going’ back in it’s place, with the top back on it and closed once again!

Today, I have succeeded in getting them all closed yet again!


Ronni said...

You know I'm reading this and thinking that this is probably how my former pastor feels. He (and his staff) poured quite a lot into me for a number of years, only for me to leave twice, then finally leave perm. Last year. Thing is... I wish I could tell him "the rest of the story"... but I'm not so sure he'd understand...

Just know...pastors... we do appreciate and love you. We really do. I owe those men so much... and love them so deeply... thing is, it was time. Sometimes you just have to realize that the church is bigger than your building and flock, and trust God to hold them when you let go...

I've had to walk away from those I've ministered to as well. It hurts, but I've had to learn to be thankful that God allowed me to be used in their lives at all... hard thing to learn (at least for me..)

Pastor David said...

>ronni- thanks for the great and sensitive insight you provided. And yes, we all know that we hold God's people loosely and but for a season.

Thomas said...

I became more serious as a Christian on the fellowship aspect a four years ago. As I have went through those seasons in my life know I have dropped in and out of a few churches. I can understand why you are perplexed. I'll bet many of them are like me and have been un-churched for the majority of their lives. It is difficult to fit in to new social and fellowshipping settings for some folks. For me it is especially hard. Single kind of feel,well...odd. You walk in un accompanied, while the majority of the congregation comes in two's three's, and so forth. Life changing events can also cause someone to divert from fellowship, but it doesn't mean that they don't love the Lord. I was away from fellowship for 9 months. I moved 30 miles away to be closer to the place I was remodeling so I could concentrate more on the task at hand....It took over all free time and before I knew it...wham...I was no longer fellowshipping, nor did I have a new church. Finally Christ prompted me to get back into fellowship. I am easing back into it at my new church. I am hoping I never stray away from fellowship again. I am sure that I will find my place at my new church soon!

Pastor David said...

>thomas- great insight- appreciate your candor and honesty- no one can fault you and what you have experienced- I know God will build you as a 'living stone' in some great church. Keep pressing in to Him! Thank you,