I love what I do. No….really, I do. So while this post may seem like a rant and a vent, it’s not. Well…. maybe it is. You will infer from this what you want. Pastoring is tough….and don’t start with the “pastors only work one day a week” cracks. The preaching component, while only a small piece of the pie, is somewhat indicative of our scope of work. Imagine having a presentation and a term paper due every 7 days given to people who have seen, heard and know it all, have an opinion, and will grade you – good or bad – over Sunday lunch and beyond. Take that concept and spread it out over such things as:
Not to mention maintaining healthy personal disciplines, marriage and home life, which is a pre-requisite for doing what we do.
Overwhelming? At times. Rewarding? Oh yeah. Could I do anything else with my life. Not a chance. But there are times (and I’ve been here recently) where you do feel the pressure. At our church, The Fountain ,we are expanding: new campus, new ministries, new staffing – and doing it in Phoenix in the summer time when temperatures go up, attendance and finances go down. Selah
Then, as with any expansion, opinions rise and momentum slides. It’s hard to gain traction because most people can’t see the whole picture. Fortunately I read something yesterday in one of Paul’s Pastoral Letters that brought incredible peace to my heart in the middle of all this.
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.” (2 Timothy 2:23 NIV)
“Foolish” is translated from μωρός (moros) from where we get our word “moron” and in context, Paul uses it to tell a young Pastor (Timothy) to avoid empty and useless arguments. But even more powerful is the word used for “stupid” – ἀπαιδεύτους (apaideutous) which means “undisciplined”.
Discipline is obviously a key component of being a disciple, learner, pupil and follower of Jesus Christ. So Paul is actually advising his protege to avoid empty and useless questions and arguments that come from a point of view not reflective of a disciple of Jesus Christ. Here’s how I think it would translate to church life.
“Well, Pastor, I don’t know about ___________ I’m not sure I like it or agree.”
“OK, have you done what disciples do and taken it to Him in prayer and searched the word out for His perspective? What does the Holy Spirit have to say about this?”
“I haven’t done that yet.”
“How about we give that a shot, but in the mean time we will avoid this because if it’s in this context, it will be unproductive and only result in a quarrel.”
Notice as we wrap this: Paul is not calling individuals “stupid”. He’s saying that undisciplined (un-discipled) arguments are stupid – useless, empty, and only lead to fights.