Shortly after taking my first ministry assignment I was faced with something I had no idea how to handle. This was the first time someone called me “Pastor” which I really appreciated and it did cause me to think too much of myself. It didn’t take long until I almost hated the term. During the interview process and accepting the position I was made aware that they were looking for a day care administrator. I kind of nodded my head because I was under the assumption all I needed to do was PREACH! Little did I realize that this vacancy meant I needed to become an administrator, personnel recruiter, conflict manager and a psychologist all at the same time- all disciplines I had zero training in.
You see, even though there was a “vacancy” I found out that Tina-the one filling in until we found someone else- really wanted the position, but didn’t want it, then wanted it again, then didn’t etc. I met with the daycare committee and we went over the resumes that had been submitted. (Tina’s was not one of them). We unanimously decided on a candidate and presented it to the church board. After a brief presentation of our recommendation.....enter Steve. Steve was Tina’s husband who served on the church board. I learned after the fact that he should have stayed out of this discussion due to conflict of interest. Duh? He looked at all of us and said, “I will take care of this right now.....Tina’s last day at the daycare was today!” Others tried to calm him down. He talked over everyone and made threats. He said we should shut the day care down. In my naivety, I thought to myself “Well this was easy, since she will be leaving this makes this decision much better.” Little did I realize that he didn’t mean one word of what he was saying. I completely lost control of the meeting- didn’t have it in the first place. The next thing I knew we took a break to wait for Tina to drive to the church, because now we were to offer the position to her. Huh? Yes. The correct process of going through resumes and interviews was completely negated. That night we hired someone who could never make her mind up about whether she wanted the position or not. This was all because a husband thought it was his duty to use his position to protect his wife. Welcome to the ministry!
Pastor, ever been there? Have you ever experienced a situation where one person dominates and always gets their way? Many people refused to serve on the board and cited him as the reason. By the way there is a term for this behavior, it's called bullying.
A couple months after this incident we were going through annual nominations. The nomination committee chose not to nominate him again- I didn’t argue. It was announced that he wasn’t nominated. He came to the church and explained to me what was wrong with everyone else on the committee. Eventually, she resigned her position and they both left the church. All of this happened within the first 6 months- again, WELCOME TO THE MINISTRY.
Could I have done anything different? Possibly. The truth is Steve and Tina were Steve and Tina long before I ever showed up. Looking back on it, though it was a very grueling, stressful and long six months, I can’t think of anything else that could have been done.
During this time, I was studying Luke chapter nine. This chapter explains that ministry is all about Jesus. The disciples forgot about Jesus and began ministering on their own, which resulted in dismal failure (v. 40). God reminded me through this Scripture that Ministry is all about Him and not about me. Though there were many hurtful things said about me and to me, He continually reminded me of this truth. Regardless of the insults others will throw, that isn’t the basis for ministry- Jesus is. My problem throughout this entire process was I blamed so many people for what was happening. I blamed the previous Pastor, the District, my College Professors, Parents, upbringing and so on. The truth was I should have stayed focused on Jesus and not allow myself to be on a roller coaster ride of fear and emotion. He and Him alone needs to be my stability. May this be true in all of our lives....
They Call Me Pastor, Sometimes I Like It- Series
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
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