This response is to the article entitled "Why I go to Church" that was in the journal on last week [Jan 28, 2010]. As a woman that grew up around ministers and pastors, I found that the article peaked my interest for a myriad of reasons. My paternal and maternal Grand Fathers were pastors, and my older brother is a pastor. I know firsthand what pastors have to deal with, as I watched my Grand Fathers deal with things that happens only in Hollywood movies.
To get right to the point, the article was very one-sided, self-serving, and even arrogant. I read the article three times to ensure that I would be "fair and balanced" in my assessement. While I can appreciate the author having a love for church and for participating in church affairs, I think she missed something. Church is not about what we can get out of it; it is more about what we can contribute to help in the goals and objectives of the ministry. The author then says what she wants in a pastor and what she wants from the pastor.
However, I found nothing in the article about what the pastor can expect from her, and what pastors should expect from all members. This is a two-sided relationship, not one. The pastor is a human being with real needs, struggles, dissapointments, hurts, and pain just like the members they are called to serve and minister to. Church people can be very self-centered with no thought of anyone but themselves. They think that the pastor is their "errand boy" to do what the members tell him to do, and when he doesn't, then he is a "dictator", or he is "unloving", and other nonsensical titles.
For the record, and contrary to what the author has written, pastors don't run members off, members run members off by their vicious behavior, disrespect, and malicious gossip concerning pastors. Yes, members run other members away from the church and may God have mercy on them! Every pastor that is honorable deserves the respect, prayerful and financial support, and encouragement from the people that he will give account for someday at the throne of Almighty God. I would hope that if people decide to write an article in order to throw some stones, that they would at least examine their own hearts and motives. If the author wishes to send a message to her pastor, I would strongly advise her to take her own advice and not write a subtle message in a newspaper, but to make an appointment to see the pastor in order that she might air any grievances to him/her in person. That is the Christian way! Here are two passage of Scriptures that will aid you in the understanding of your responsibility as it relates to the pastors and leaders of the church.
"Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other." (1Thessalonians 5:12-13)
"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." (Hebrews 13:17)