The Truth Beneath the Coldness
Being a Pastor is a tremendous privilege that is only given to chosen individuals — at least, that’s what I always tell myself.
I also remember how my Senior Pastor told us that being a Pastor of the Church is not a gift, but a calling. And the Pastor is God’s gift to the Church.
Excellent choice of words.
Encouraging. Uplifting. Inspirational.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely believe all those words.
However, the struggles of being a Pastor of a Church can make you question the things that you believe when it comes to loving people, being called by God, and the essence of leadership.
There are a lot of challenges in being a Pastor.
And some of the most heartbreaking issues are those that come directly from the people you lead.
One notorious problem that most Pastors faced is the reluctance of the flock to submit to their leadership, participate in what the Church is doing, or just plain rebellion and disrespect to the authority of the man of God.
I’ve been assigned as Pastor for only a few months, and I’ll admit that this is one of the greatest struggles that I have.
Considering my temperament of being an authoritative choleric and critical melancholic, I can’t stand the fact that there are some so called “leaders” in the flock that I lead that commit the mistakes that I mentioned above.
My tendency when these leaders and old-timers in the Church are acting like jerks is to quickly pass judgment on them.
I typically come to the conclusion that they are lazy, lack commitment and discipline, and don’t really love the Lord with all their heart.
But the Lord allowed me to see how foolish this kind of thinking is through a recent event in our Church.
At this point, I believe it is appropriate to say that in addition to being a Reluctant Pastor, I’m also a Struggling Pastor when it comes to my Christian life.
I still fall to temptation.
I still commit a lot of mistakes.
I still struggled with a lot of things.
If there’s a person who doesn’t have any right to judge other, then it’s me, because like what Paul says, I’m the worst sinner. But let me explore this point in another blog post.
Going back to my foolishness of judging other people inside the Church, let me share the details with you of what happened.
Our Church is experiencing severe problems right now.
Attendance is an all-time low.
Leaders are extremely cold and complacent in their task of winning souls.
There are no visible fruits of winning and discipleship.
And as I see it, our Church is not stagnant — actually, it’s starting to go down.
Several people have already expressed their fear about the possibility that our Church might soon close its door. And I can’t argue with them.
As the Pastor of our Church, I rallied the people to start seeking God — seriously. And He immediately answered and told us what to do.
I called for a Prayer Meeting while God is showing us the issue that we need to deal with.
It’s wickedness in leadership.
God confirmed through three different instances that sin is present in the lives of the leaders, there’s the spirit of Achan, and we need to deal individually and collectively about the sins that each of us has committed and left unconfessed.
After the initial worship and prayer, I explained to them what God has revealed to me along with the actions that we will take during that night.
I encouraged them to spend 15 minutes alone to pray and talk to God about these three things:
- Ask God to search their hearts and see if there’s anything offensive to the Lord.
- Ask God to reveal every sin that they have committed and left unconfessed that might already become a stronghold for the enemy.
- Ask God for the courage to confess those sins in the group.
It’s pretty daring, I know. But I believe this is what God wanted us to do.
When the time to confess arrived, I was shocked.
This was when God showed me the foolishness that I committed by judging these brothers and sisters of mine.
Like what I said, I have this default judgment mode to think that these leaders are just plain lazy, uncommitted, undisciplined, and cold with their relationship with God.
But beneath their irritating response to what we are trying to accomplish as a Church is the truth that they are struggling, they are fighting their personal battles in the dark — alone and with no one to support them.
I was ashamed of what I did, of how I judged them.
Here I am, pastoring these people, leading them to do what they are supposed to do, but I missed the most important part of being a Pastor…
…to care for them and show them the love of Christ.
My takeaway from that night is surprisingly simple.
“Don’t judge. Reach out first to understand.”