I posted a highly irreverent comment in the comment section at Brent’s blog depicting two pastors at an associational meeting, Pastor Bill and Pastor Ted.
“I had ten thousand baptisms last year. How about you Brother Ted?”
“Oh yeah Brother Bill? Well I had ELEVEN thousand…”
In Oklahoma we’d call that a ‘pissing contest’–if you’re offended by that I’m sorry but this IS Oklahoma we’re talking about. Two men trying to out-do each other. Frankly its been the cause of a great deal of trouble in the world. “My sword is longer than yours, nyeh, nyeh…” and there go the gauntlets. One has an eight point buck-head hanging on the wall in his study, the other has to find a ten. One has an amp that goes to ten, the other has one that goes to ELEVEN. DUDE if you get that…whoa.
I spent some time working at a local Southern Baptist Association of Churches once. A few years as an assistant, that’s all, and I wasn’t very good at it to tell you the truth. But it was very enlightening to talk to ten or twenty frustrated pastors on Monday, a few less relatively placid pastors on Tuesday, and then a couple of fired up pastors on Wednesday and on Thursday it was back to frustrated. You can see the cycle…they get all worked up to preach and then there’s a let-down the day after. It’s not the man. Any one who desires to pastor a church ‘desires a good thing’ the Word tells us. Preaching is a good thing…its just all the stuff that goes along with it that eats away at these fine men of God. The church doesn’t deserve these gifts, but God gives them anyway. Footmen for Christ, tending his flock, his bride until that day…
The pressure on these men to perform is just crazy. I have seen men, who should spend most of their time with their nose stuck in their bible or their books, desperately looking for some program or formula that will revitalize their church. It’s not because they don’t know that the people need the Word of God, its just that they have been trained to go looking for some ‘church growth widget’ that they can drop in their ministry that will allow them to ‘grow.’ And that was like ten years ago. It can’t be any better now that churches have to be ‘Purpose Driven’ and have twenty thousand member congregations to be considered successful or relevant—awful word that it is.
So I think the problem is pride. That has to be why the congregation insists they grow and grow and grow numerically…and yet neglect the kindergarten state of their own walk with the Lord. It’s the root of many evils, and many men have fallen prey to it. Why not pastors too? Are they not men? Can they not stumble on the same blocks as the rest of us? Why should we make it easy for them to do so? Why should we clutter their desks with programs, and material, and projects, and a hundred other things when they are called to the ministry of the gospel? Think about that one for awhile and if you don’t hit your knees to pray for the man who leads your church you better ‘examine yourself’. It’s time for a spiritual checkup.