I have a good friend, who, if you have read his blog, doesn’t exactly hold modern churches in high regard. I’ve criticized him, perhaps wrongly, because he chooses to have a service with his family, instead of going to a real church. I’ve defended churches of all types, under the premise that it’s better to go and be a part of a community of believers, to help others, and to occasionally be supported when you go through your own hard times. I, myself, belong to an amazing non-denominational church. While no church is perfect, I feel that mine gets it right on all the major points, and if they’re wrong in an area, they try their hardest to be right. I’ve always made the assumption that most churches were similar…that in their own way, they all just wanted to be right. They may go about it in wrong, or different ways, but that mostly they were trying to help people. Boy, was I wrong.
Recently, a good friend of mine, a youth pastor, discovered his wife was in adultery. They had recently had their first child, and as you can imagine, he was devastated. They separated, and my friend was intent on working things out (a good deal more than I would’ve done, personally). When he told his senior pastor, he was FIRED! Can you imagine? He has a baby, has just lost his wife, now his job, and his church! Apparently his church was concerned that it would make them look bad.
First of all, my friend did nothing wrong… at least to my knowledge. This would’ve been a time for the church, and the ministers of the church, to surround him with support and prayer. Take some time off…sure. This could’ve even been an example to the members of how a Godly person works through horrible situations with help from God. But instead, in his time of greatest need, the people that he had worked for, given his life to, and prayed over brushed him to the side when he was no longer immediately useful for praying for headaches, warts, or meaningless relationship problems. When it came to to repay all that he had given, they threw him out and brought in someone new to use and abuse until there was nothing left in him also.
Is this biblical? I think not. But it happens everyday throughout the country…when self-righteous, arrogant, Pharisaical, self-glorifying, religious dingbats run churches like medieval extremist witch hunters, on the prowl for the weakest Christians to crucify in their times of need. I see it constantly in my wife’s family (her grandmother pastors our church). The church has used up every bit of life in her until her health has failed…and is trying to do the same to her daughter while she fills in for her in the pulpit. I am sick and tired of willfully and woefully idiotic church-goers expecting their pastors to be nothing more than religious slaves, waiting on their beckon call, for whatever ridiculous thing they need that day… “Pastor…my son is running with a bad crowd…can you come witness to him?” How about living saved in front of your son, and not allowing him to participate in things you don’t agree with…cracktard?
We are all called to be ministers. Making our churches the healing centers that God means them to be is a responsibility we share in equal parts with our pastors. It’s our responsibility to go out and bring in sinners…it’s our responsibility to see about other Christians who need help, or who are sick, as much, if not more, than our pastors. STOP USING PASTORS TO BE SPIRITUALLY LAZY! STOP KILLING OFF THE LIFE IN OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN NEED! TAKE CARE OF YOUR PASTORS, INSTEAD OF USING THEM!!!!
How long were my friends in need of someone to turn to, to talk about their problems in their relationship? But no…as youth pastors, they weren’t able to say they needed help…they had to be Superman to their church’s Metropolis. Pastors and Ministers are people too…they go through things, feel the same hurt and heartache we all do. Their families are just like our families…they miss their husbands and fathers when they come out to see about your broken arm at 2am, because you just had to have your pastor there. After he spends all day praying over and tending to the needs of his flock, he is seldom able to devote that same care and concern to his family, because members call all night long. Of course in a true emergency, a pastor would want to come. But I’m not talking about rare occasions, I’m talking about a habitual systemic abuse of clergy, that is not the exception, but the norm, through our country.
Christians…I encourage you to grow up. Take on your biblical responsibility of caring for your brothers and sisters, and set your pastors free to seek God and pray for you and your family, as well as your church and town. Organize hospitality groups in your church for members to visit the sick, elderly, and back-slidden. Build your pastor up with prayer and encouraging words…because he prays and encourages you. Even if you don’t like or agree with your pastor…it is who God has given you today…and that makes them worthy of your respect, prayer, and help, in every way you can give it. Make your church a safe haven for weary souls…not a executioner’s table for the down-trodden.