I just read an upsetting story about a pastor a few minutes ago.. I’m sure I was supposed to react with anger or frustration… but my main emotion would probably just be a deep sadness.
I love God, I love genuine churches and genuine people. So before I continue that is where I stand.
With that said, I think you can believe those things and still agree with what I’d say next.
While there are still good people in the world and good things happening, if you look around we really are on unstable footing. I believe many churches are as well.
I’ve had a little bit of experience in youth ministry, as a volunteer, as a “leader”, and various miniscule roles. If there was one thing that frustrated me the most, it was probably attitude. I understand the role of a leader is to lead, to be an example, and to help take others by the hand and join in each other’s burdens along with other things, I get that. The understanding of what a leader was, was not an issue for me. I think why I ultimately found myself frustrated and hurt with church people was because I had held that title. If I could name one thing (that is relevant to this post) that I would change about churches it would be attitude. Geee whizzzz, it is as though people think if you go to church you have to act perfect, dress perfect, always be happy, and anything else that fits the “Christian image”. I’m not saying I never did this, because I can remember many times that I had felt pressure to be this way and acted on it. I cringe when I think about a few encounters where if I think back I know I came across as a judgmental, “holier than thou”, exempt from any temptation or sin kind of person. I am laughing as I type because I can remember a time. In fact, I started this blog when I had really gotten sick and tired of feeling like I should act that way, or from others acting that way.
I was raised catholic. So, I am used to the saying your sin out loud and to others kind of thing. (*I know you’re thinking, “OH MY HEAVENS you are supposed to ask the Lord forgiveness, forgiveness only comes from God!!!!!!!!!!!” Well join the party people, we believe that as well, we just also remember that scripture that says stuff like confess your sin to one another James 5:16 so back off with the judgement. 😛 ) Just had to clear that up while we are here… haha
Well I would try that out to other members in the church (not talking about a priest or a pastor here) and I QUICKLY learned who I’d go to for that, because maybe I missed the “go and tell all your buddies, friends, and give judgmental faces” scripture. I don’t know it was not an uncommon theme. That wasn’t even the main bother though, that was just the rice not the whole enchilada. I think what ultimately lead to suppressed frustration is that I stopped feeling like I could talk to people in the church because I “wouldn’t be fit to be a leader” if I actually talked about real problems, or real issues. In my opinion a leader could still be a leader if they talk about their struggles, are open with them and show how someone else could work through them victoriously with God! Whelp, I eventually got so frustrated I would just pretend like I was doing bad things to see what reactions I could get. (Immature? Probably. I just really like to analyze situations and observe, and what I thought was right.) You know what I learned, people “love you” when they think you’re down but even then, not very many want to help pick you up. Once you do “get up” though, people don’t celebrate like the Prodigal Son story. Then comes the “who is better than who” and comparison game.
~Random side note: In churches I think there is a serious problem with comparison. What people are doing, what people are wearing, who is “outreaching” more… It is honestly never ending. Sometimes I dream about how amazing it would be to be able to honestly celebrate one another’s successes, marriages, victories, and journeys.~
I understand a leader should be an upstanding kind of person. I’m not talking about anything that would contradict that here. Just what I would consider common struggles, fears, anxieties, etc. I’m also not talking about like 5 people I know, this is not confined to one group of people, one church, etc. I think as Christians we need to learn how to sit down, hush up, and just listen. It is amazing what God can do in that situation, and in a relationship when two people are just listening and truly there for one another. I wish we could see that in other people’s times of pain, it is not our moment to show just how “great” of a leader we are by speaking condescendingly, acting like there is something wrong with the person trying to share, trying to fix the other person, but simply taking on one another’s burdens with grace and love, and assist them in getting the help they need. In my opinion, if you don’t think you can do that for someone else then are you truly a good leader/ Christian/ friend?