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23 May '12

What your pastor might want to tell you if he could

Posted by T.J. Addington in church health, church leadership, relationships
Dear congregation:


It is a joy to serve you, most of the time. I love you and I love what I do but there are things that irritate me too. The problem is that while you have full freedom to tell me those things that irritate you, it is harder for me to tell you. So, this anonymous letter.


I know that Sundays are convenient days to talk to me about concerns you have, or criticisms, but it is not convenient for me. Nor Monday's. I work so hard to be ready for Sunday when I preach and teach and it is really discouraging when I get sideswiped by issues on those days. Can you wait till at least Tuesday?


Also, as a pastor I have a congregation with 500 adults which also means 500 people who have an opinion on almost everything. I want to know what you think if you can share it nicely and without an agenda to force me to do something. Part of being a body is being flexible enough to deal with the varied people we have and to learn to live together in harmony. I try to be flexible. I hope you can be as well.


On that matter. Remember that this is not the church you left to come to this one. I know they did things a certain way but we are not that church (remember why you decided to leave there?). We are a different church with our own DNA and way of doing things. So please don't expect us to do things the way your past church(s) did them.


Sometimes I do things that irritate others. I guess it is part of being human. I know that as the pastor that is not really allowed but it can and will happen. Can you forgive me as I get to forgive a lot of others on a regular basis? It is hard to preach to people who are holding grudges and issues that they won't let go of. Maybe you could sit in the very back instead of the front row if you can't let it go :). 


I am learning to not be as defensive as I sometimes am. I guess one can become so when they care so much about something and I care a lot about the church and its people. Easy criticism is hurtful to me because I am doing my very best. Thoughtful, loving dialogue is something I can handle a lot better if you have constructive ideas.


I know it bothers some of you that I cannot be at all events. The truth is that I have a family like you and I do my best to balance my family and ministry responsibilities. I also get tired from the many heavy issues that people have and bring to me. I love to minister to hurting people but sometimes I just need to get away and regain my perspective and rest. Thanks for understanding.


Oh, another thought. On a lot of things you really don't need me. You need someone to help but not necessarily your senior pastor. We need to learn to minister to one another and not expect the pastor to do all the ministering. I am pretty sure that is why the Holy Spirit gives gifts to everyone. Let's spread out the caring and ministry so that we are all in ministry because otherwise I will burn out. I cannot carry the load but I will gladly share the load. And you?


Really, most of the time my work is a joy which is why I do what I do. But I did need to share with your my perspective on a few things. Thanks for listening. I love you (most days).


The pastor of a typical church, maybe yours.