It is a feeling deep down in the pit of my stomach. It has been turning for a long time. I have managed to keep it from coming out but I no longer have the energy to fight it. I am not alone. There are many of us that have kept the symptoms hidden for fear that if others found out we would be ostracized. Some people have opened up about their malnourishment (the most prevalent symptom) only to have those who could best address their condition become angry and defensive even going as far as to blame them for their current condition. It is time we stand up and say, “No more!”
I am angry.
I hope it is anger that does not overstep the boundaries of righteousness. I hope that my anger doesn’t blind me to counterpoints that I have not considered. I pray that those who join me in this anger will also avoid allowing their anger to become sinful or to blind them from seeing other points of view. With the potential of going too far always looming in the back of my mind I will tread carefully but I will not back down, “No more!” I hope you too will remain aware of the potential of going too far as you join me in saying, “No more!”
There will be a cost.
As I said before, “Some people have opened up about their malnourishment (the most prevalent symptom) only to have those who could best address their condition become angry and defensive even going as far as to blame them for their current condition.” You too may find that taking a stand will not be easy. For me to say, “No more,” I will have to stand against my own, I will have to call out those whose job is the same as mine, I will have to suggest that some of them have lost their way and are no longer fulfilling their calling. I won’t be popular but I can’t live with these symptoms anymore.
If this is how pastors feel then I say, “No more!”
This is a quote from a website that caters to pastors. I will not name the author or the web site as I have heard the same sentiment from many pastors. This source is only one of many similar voices but I want to make it clear that this is not the way, however tempting it may be, I feel.
I do agree with one thing. There are people who will never be happy and will try to create a way to disguise their inability to find the church that does what they want with what appears to be a Godly reason. These people are few and far between. If you really have the heart of a pastor, their current way of living should be a source of great pain not anger because they are so far away from the peace that accompanies full surrender to God.
There is a growing number of malnourished church attendees.
With the job of pastor becoming more of a marketing and spokesmodel position, the pulpit has at best fed the attendee a steady diet of baby food void of any depth and at worst a diet of nutrientless junk food that makes everyone feel good but lacks any of the ingredients needed for meaningful growth.
That being said, if you don’t want to find yourself attacked, criticized or blamed, avoid bringing up anything about not being fed. I have heard pastors insist that it’s the responsibility of the people to feed themselves. While I would agree that personal devotion time is foundational to the growth of the believer, it is not a replacement for corporate teaching. If you are not in church to be fed, then why have teaching at all?
Before this saying, “No more” goes too far…
… there will always be times that we don’t feel fed and it has nothing to do with the pastor. In these times it would be nice if you could say to the pastor, “I am not being fed,” and receive heartfelt concern and loving guidance rather than defensive attacks.
There are also times that we aren’t being fed and it has everything to do with the pastor. In these times it would be nice if we could say to the pastor, “we are not being fed,” and receive some heartfelt concern and a deep desire to pastor better rather than defensive attacks.
Not everyone is out to get you, to belittle your work or to make excuses to leave. Many want to be pastored, want to grow. If you are truly called to be a pastor you will desire to fill that role. The rest, those who are out to get you, to belittle your work or to make excuses to leave should set off a deep desire to see them change if you are truly called to be a pastor.
Pastors are human. Their desire to protect themselves, to avoid being hurt or belittled, even if no one is actually trying to do this often drives their behaviour just like it does in your life. If you truly embrace your role as a Christ follower who loves like Jesus, then love your pastor like Jesus loves your pastor.
Dave (Me) and any other people and pastors who are saying, “No more”
Jesus called out the religious leaders for their empty, meaningless religiosity, their long prayers filled with worthless words but when it came to the rest…
When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36 (NLT)