Recently God has been speaking to me about the my church. I have absolutely no issues with him. On most days, I totally agree with him on whatever the sermon may be on. But, there are times when I give him this look and can’t help but what in the world he is talking about. I’m fairly certain that most everyone has had one of those moments when they just didn’t get what the pastor was saying. It doesn’t matter what church or what country people reside in there will always more people. People are always going to have an opinion.
I can’t help but wonder about the mindset of our world. I honestly feel like people have lost respect for those who are in positions of authority. You can sit there in your living room and see it all around you. People are wanting to tear down others and they want to tear down everything. The world we live in is self-destructive and driven by pride. Pastors are emotionally beaten down by those within the church because they weren’t happy with the sermon. If I left every church that I went to because the pastor said something I didn’t agree with, then I wouldn’t be going to any church.
As I sit in my seat and listen to the sermon, my mind is somewhere else. He will always say that we need to focus on what God is wanting us to hear and to basically clutter our minds. My friend and I were talking music at churches. There are some you can feel the joy as they sing. I have also been to some churches where the music was more like going to a funeral. I guess to some, it is a joyful sound, but there are times when it is far from joyful.
It’s seems as if Pastors all over the world are under attack. I appreciate Pastor Ray and Kathi. There are the obvious attacks from those outside of the church throughout the world, but they are also being attacked from their own disgruntled members. If people are that unhappy and all they can do is grumble, then maybe they need to re-evaluate their relationship with Christ or what is going on inside of them. They need to also stop blaming others because something isn’t going according to their ways of seeing things.
What gets me is that there are people out there who have it in their minds that if they don’t agree with what the pastor is teaching, then it is OK to exit stage left and they make sure they let everyone know they were right and they should side with them. Instead of going home and studying the Word of God, they get their panties in a upraor and that ends up causing division and a ton of hurt feelings. I brought up before how that happened at another church I went to. Because of disagreements, they end up causing hurt among the members of the church, church leaders and so on. I would bet any amount of money that this behavior and actions aren’t pleasing to God.
As I think about Pastor Ray and his messages, I was feeling guilt. The reason I say I was feeling guilt is because I haven’t been doing what I should be doing. I don’t think many at our church really understands everything that Pastor Ray does. He doesn’t put himself on a pedestal and have people look at him. Instead he is putting himself into the lives of those who don’t have a church home. Most people don’t affiliate themselves with one particular church or faith. He will stand outside with a few others from other churches and witness and share the gospel with anyone who will listen.
Last week he was in Cedar City doing what is called, “open air preaching”. Click here for the link to listen to his message. As I was listening to his message and what s a couple of the guys that went with him to take part in this and to pray for others, this is when guilt entered my heart. I felt terrible that those who didn’t attend our church was with him and there wasn’t anyone from our church that I know of. He stood there sharing the Gospel with all who would listen and yet nobody from our church showed up to stand with him or stand up for Christ.
I totally get that there are those who aren’t able to do this because of physical limitations, schedules or being preoccupied. We are living in a time where our time is being used for everything else. Pastor Ray also makes it a point to show up to local events and opportunities to share the Gospel. Each and every month, he will go to the First Friday street fair here in St. George. He packs up all the stuff, sets up the canopy and prepares the table and will pray and talk to anyone who will listen. I knew he did this, but I didn’t know what all was involved and how most of the times he does it alone. I have a great amount of respect for those who put themselves out in the publics eyes and risk bashing and laughter.
Pastor Ray also have the prayer station in our churches parking lot. Every now and then someone from church will show up to pray for those who may be prayers. But, most times it is just Pastor Ray out there. We have a hand full of people who will show up and be there. Usually it is the same people. I know that Pastor Ray feels blessed to have those who are willing to help be there.
The other night my friend Lisa was over at my house and we were discussing how people want to see all sorts of things to be changed. We need more kids, we need more time, we need better music, we need, we need we need. As we were finishing up our discussion, we realized that God has pointed this out to us because we need to be proactive. It isn’t just Pastor Rays job to do everything. He is one person, but he needs help. Pastor Ray never complains, but I can see it in his eyes that he feels discouraged and frustrated. I don’t see how he wouldn’t be.
There was a friend of mine who I lost track of many years ago. He was the pastor of one of thr churches. I attended. The people at that church were horrible to him. They pretty much dictated what he needed to say and do. I wouldn’t be shocked if they didn’t have him schedule his bathroom breaks. The congregation made his life a living hell. It was as if he was babysitting a bunch of 2 year olds. People would squabble over the craziest things. Eventually he through in the towel.
Instead of criticizing and finding fault , why not encourage instead of discouraging. Is it has to feel terrible to know that people don’t appreciate what a pastors job and I appreciative? Every once in a while it would be nice if pastors were told that the sermon meant a lot. Or to let them know that the pastors are in need of prayers just as much as anyone else.
All pastors are in need of prayers, honest feedback. They are also in need of friendships and help just as much as anyone else. Pastors can’t do it alone. Pastors and church leaders needs your emotional support, prayers, honest feedback.Think about how you feel when you know when the phone rings it is something bad. Or that you hear from a certain person, it is going to be endless complaints.
People are demanding of a pastors time, energy and counseling. We all should be praying for him and other pastors we should be there to help. A pastors job is 24/7. Even though technically he gets vacation, I’m pretty sure he is still called all the time. I know I am guilty of texting my pastor when I am having issues with someone or something. A pastors time is just as valuable as anyone elses and just because a pastor is a pastor, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have problems.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17).
I would like to encourage church attendees to be more proactive. There is always something you can do. I don’t know if those at church realizes how much time and thought goes into bringing special music, programs, and movies to church. I also realize that not everyone drives. But, it is disheartening to organize something special and only a few people shows up.
We have started a Movie Night for church and it is free. Last month we had only 7 people show up. For myself, I was upset that there was only that many that showed up. I totally get that people don’t go out and drive at night. I get it, I really do. But, at the same time, I was upset that so much has put into having an enjoyable night and only 7 were there.
Pastor Ray showed more compassion than I did. I don’t handle “no shows” very well. I think it is disrespectful. I am praying though that we have a good turnout for the move this coming Monday July 18th at 6:30 PM we will be showing the documentary “The Cross, Jesus in China.
I’m going to end this by saying,that it may seem easier to engage in false peace by appeasing people. It is hard to speak truth when they may become angry and walk out of the church. I know I may get myself in trouble over this one. But if people are so petty over disagreements and decide it is better to get into arguments over these, then it may be a good time to re-evaluate why you are going to church to begin with and if you need to work on your walk with the Lord.
And I also want to say that it would be nice to see more people get involved in church things when it comes to reaching those who needs to be reached. Just because we are getting older, it doesn’t mean we are dead. As long as there is air in our lungs and we aren’t hanging out with the daisies 6 feet down, then we can be used to help advance the Kingdom of God.
I would like to ask you all to keep Pastor Ray and Kathi in your prayers. I will be praying for them. Even though he hasn’t said anything about people not getting involved, I still feel the need. Also, keep all pastors in your prayers. You never know what someone is going through. Just because someone is a pastor, it doesn’t make them exempt from life.