Friday, March 19, 2010

Who's looking out for the one who looks out for you?

I read a number of good blogs each week including the posts of my fellow Kingdom Bloggers. Reading what others are thinking and sharing how I personally feel about a subject matter is the lure to the blogosphere for me...and I'm sure that's the consensus among my peers. The relationship dynamic usually works best when that's a give-take relationship between blogger and reader. There are a number of Tony C Today and Kingdom Blogger followers who only visit to read and rarely, if ever, leave a comment. Most of these folks don't really care about writing their own blog either...and I'm perfectly okay with that and genuinely appreciate their interest in the thoughts of a very small voice in a sea of screamers.

There is another blogging relationship that doesn't work so well though, and that's the blogger who throws out a thought and refuses to even remotely acknowledge there might be an opposing opinion by a reader. I've visited a few of these blogs and they're far too Limbaugh-ish for me...seldom do I visit more than once. But that's not what I really want to talk about today...

This week, I came across a post by a guest blogger on Shooting the Breeze that has really stuck with me. Ryan Tate from Doorframes of TaterHouse wrote the insightful piece about the need to protect your pastor and used Paul's letter to the church in Thessalonica as the basis (1 Thess. 5:12-13). Ryan made several great points, among them the need to protect our pastors from burnout. I've thought about this many times before when it comes to my own pastor. Like most overseeing a flock, he is pulled in a number of directions each and every day. He's expected to visit the sick, counsel the troubled, represent the church at community events and make a presence at every church function throughout the week while maintaining 'normal' office hours. He's often overlooked as the church flourishes, but the first one blamed when attendance is down or the budget is pinched. Did I mention he has his own family?

My pastor is also my good friend, and that causes problems too. The church I attend is modest in size at around 350, but one of the larger churches in the small town where it is located. Inevitably, friendships for a pastor cause friction and animosity in the congregation. He shows him or her favoritism or they're in his click. What I have noticed, however, is that the pastor is usually closest to the people who are at the church most often...which makes sense. I have a hard time finding validity in the argument of clicks and favoritism from the person who attends church every other Sunday morning and is rarely, if ever, involved in ministry work by the church...but that's just me. You'd never hear that language come from my pastor.

I busted my pastor out a little this week on my personal blog about being forward thinking...but still living in the Reagan Administration. I truly meant no disrespect, and I'm sure he knows it was all in fun. We have that type of relationship. I love my pastor and his family dearly and would do anything for them in a time of need...but the fact of the matter is...I would just be returning the favor.

Call or visit your pastor one day in the coming week (and not Sunday) and pray with and for him/her. Chances're just returning the favor too.


Joyce Lighari said...

Good word! I've been close to several pastors and been a pastor are right on target with this one. I am sure you knew that though :-)

David said...

I think it's fine that pastors are friends with folks. That is one of the reasons that people like them. Of course, a pastor, or anyone for that matter, can't maintain deep relationships with more a large handful of people. It is unrealistic to be close to everyone in even a small congregation. You're lucky to have that friendship.

One thought on burned out pastors. How come they don't equip folks to do some of the pastoral care stuff? I'm just askin' Sometimes they are expected to do everything.

But I think we could start a movement. How about we call that pastor, and then work our way down through the ranks. "Hey, it's me, I'm just checking in."

photogr said...

Makes sense to me if you can get to your pastor.

Anonymous said...

While I well realize there are many, many good pastors - there are also people in the pulpit who have no call to pastoral care. They may be great preachers or administrators or have lots of "charisma" not to be confused this charismatic - but they don't have a clue how to relate to people and come along side them as a Pastor

Ryan Tate said...

Great post Tony. I completely agree with you and the aspect of the pastor having his own circle of friends. I think this often happens in smaller churches (100-400). And it can also happen when the pastor's closest friends are on the leadership team. It is a thin line to walk sometimes and the best thing my pastor does to combat it is to be super-vulnerable from up front. Odd enough, vulnerability is also the way that best communicates the gospel sometimes.