When Grace Takes a Holiday—a Follow-Up

Yesterday, I posted an article on how to deal with disappointment of others (and also when you disappoint others).  I must have had this on my radar, but I came across two other articles that dealt with the same issues, this time toward pastors.

How Criticism of Jay Cutler is Like Criticism of Pastors (HT: Adam Embry):

Pastors just can’t win. They preach too long; they preach too short. They preach too theologically, they preach too shallow. They counsel too little; they counsel too much. They lead too much with a business perspective; they lead too little with a business perspective. They are too sociable; they are not sociable enough.

… Pastors, if they rip on Jay Cutler, who is one of the top 15 best quarterbacks on the planet, then folks will rip you, too.

The Punches I Never Saw Coming

I wonder how many pastors are shocked when they get the first nasty e-mail telling them that they are not a good teacher, a poor fit for the church, or that the last pastor had real vision. I wonder how many enter vocational ministry realizing that some of the people they welcome for dinner, drink coffee with, and confide in will turn around and slander them, gossip about them, betray confidences, and even mobilize support against them.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been on the receiving end of this as a pastor, but I have been there.  Few things sting worse.  And I did not post these articles as a shot over the bow about what has happened to me recently. 

I posted them because I recognize that both myself, the pastors on our team, my fellow pastor friends, and others all over struggle with this.  We want to please Christ with all we have, but there are others who are vocal who also say they want to please Christ, but want them to please them and Christ.  They are not one in the same.  I know that one day, this will happen to me again.  And do you know what I will do?

  • I will grieve over this breach of relationship.
  • I will pray for my own heart in whatever I did to contribute and be gracious in seeking forgiveness and restoration.
  • I will pray for their heart, that they will see if their grievance is to the true proportion of the issue at hand—and that they will be gracious in restoration.
  • Then I will trust God and move on to the next item up for ministry. 

If young pastors can last in their ministry five years, through the ups and downs of it all, and still feel a sense of calling from God and are willing to persevere, that is a good healthy sign.

Pray for your pastors.  We will not always get it right, but we do love you and love our churches and love the communities our churches are in.

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