(If you are not a pastor, this post is also for you.)
I have been leading Refuge Point Church for 6 years now and I’ve been in the ministry for 14 years so I feel like I have enough experience to explain some of the emotions that some pastors (and church staffers) go through. It’s also important to start off by saying that I have been extremely blessed with some amazing life giving people at Refuge Point. I have an unhealthy love for you guys and you are the best people I know. The people at Refuge Point Church are seriously some of the most amazing people on the planet. I’m one of the luckiest pastors to have you guys and I’m extremely blessed that even some of you see the ugliest parts of me and love me despite the ugliness.
Before we dive in to this, let’s have a brief discussion of the job of a pastor. A pastor has been entrusted to lead a local church, but Jesus is the head of the Church. A pastor is not to be placed on a pedestal, because the pastor is NOT a king or a dictator. A pastors primary job is to equip the church. (See Ephesians 4). A pastor, which translates as shepherd, smells like the sheep, corrects the sheep and goes after the sheep. A pastor is not responsible for wiping your butt, and the pastor is not the churches whore and the church is not his his pimp.
So, with that said, (everyone breath) lets talk about what your pastor wants to tell you:
1) I Love You and The Church. It’s true. I can’t tell you enough how much I love people. And not to sound like I pick favorites, but I love people who are selfless and life giving. I love pouring in to people and watching God grow them further than ever before. And I’m flipping passionate about seeing The Church grow.
2) I am a human. I know that’s simple, but think about it. That means that pastors are not perfect and we will also sin and fail you. I may even “accidentally” cut you off on the highway. In fact, give me just a couple of minutes and I will disappoint you, heck I may even miss a hospital visit. It doesn’t mean I don’t love or care for you, it just means that I simply wasn’t able to get to you.
3) My Family > You. I remember mine and Merinda’s first kiss, I cried when I asked Merinda to marry me, I cried when Jude was born, and I cried when my boo (Nora) was born. I’ve poured my entire life in to these three and nothing will change that. My first call of pastoring is to pastor/love my family first. They are only second to my relationship with Jesus. I will always pick them over you and nothing will ever change that.
4) I Get Really Down in the Dumps When People Leave. However, there are some that I open the back door and throw a party when they leave. (I kid…but seriously, we hide the fireworks.) But that’s not always the case. For the most part it hurts me, my wife, and the other leaders of our church when you leave. The pastoral heart in me weeps because I know you shouldn’t be leaving. I know the church is not perfect, but we are trying our best to equip you and your family to do the work of ministry. And it really hurts when we’ve spent so much time pastoring you through difficult times, only to find out that you got mad about one small thing and you did the adult thing and just went bye bye. So, when you leave, know that you are deeply missed by your pastor.
5) I Don’t Like Control Freaks. I’m not talking about strong willed individuals or people with A type personalities. Rather, I’m talking about the people that want to take over and get you off the course God has set you on. They are generally all about themselves. Seriously, if you are coming to a church to try to take over, please do everyone a favor and leave. You are the person I was just talking about that is celebrated when you exit the building. I love creative approaches, I love strategic meetings, and I love different methods BUT I do NOT love it when you come with an agenda and try to derail us from the vision that God has called us to. Get behind your pastor and churches vision, and if they don’t have one, pray that God will give them a fresh vision for your community.
6) I Want to See You Flourish. Which, for me, means that I want you to live the abundant life that Jesus has called you in to. I want to see you overcome addictions. I want to see your marriage flourish. I want to see your children saved. I want to see you healed. I want to see you prosper. I want you to be serious about the commands of God: evangelism, praying, giving, serving, studying the Bible, worshiping with your life, etc.
Again, I am blessed to be serving some of the greatest people on earth. But it always hasn’t been rainbows and butterfly’s – but I’m extremely grateful for the season we are in now.
So for all the pastors out there, what would you want to say to your church? (Or previous church?)