Amen Brother Blake!
That is very much true. I know that I catch myself many times keeping people just far enough away to where they are close yet cannot hurt me. It is toughy to beat, but when you realize that being Christian is all about giving yourself up, then it becomes easier.
I think it is very important that we get back that Love that we are supposed to have filling each one of us. That sacrificial Love for one another. Cause' it isn't about what GOD can do for you so much as what you allow HIM to do through you. You can only serve as much as you allow HIM to use you.
Bless you and your friends Bro Krispy.
| 2006/5/17 13:28||Profile|
Krispy, I would contend that the problem is that Church "and many others" but we are the Church and either the Church meaning the people there like the way it is or to "chicken" to stand up to the Pastor and let him know that "You ain't right" and we want change but no one wants to be the hand that rocks the cradle. This is were I go back to what I have said before in a five fold ministry were there is really no "absolute" power you won't find these kinds things going on, and I still believe that one day the walls of domination will be torn down and these five fold ministries will prevail and this example you posted will be a thing of the past.
| 2006/5/17 14:11||Profile|
Amen Bro Bill.
| 2006/5/17 14:49||Profile|
We are to be salt and light. I have been at the same fellowship for almost 15 years now. I could have left 100 times over, I could have pointed the finger and accused, AND BEEN RIGHT doctrinally. But the thought I kept having was "If I leave along with everyone else that has left and is leaving, who is going to stay here to be salt?" I know we are to be salt out in the world to stop the rot, the decay, etc...how much more is it needed in the fellowship we are attending?
The problem with "Christians" today is that the easiest thing to do is leave the 'church' we are attending and go to the next church down the street...even if we are 'right' in leaving. The issue isn't one of finding the 'right' body to join. The real issue is "Where do You want me, Lord?"
When you find where God wants to plant you, you'll stay no matter what happens, because God put you there. And you will pray, because God put you there. And you will submit to those God has placed over you and they will be accountable to God someday for the way they watched over your souls (Hebrews 13:17), because God put you there. You are not your own. You have been bought at a price. It will keep you humble, broken, repentant for yourself, your wife, your family, the body God placed you in...and the beautiful thing is you have nothing to boast in, nothing to complain about because God has to do it.
Lord, help us to walk in love towards the 'bodies' we are fellowshipping in today, as Shem and Japheth walked backwards with the blanket to cover their father's nakedness, which led to blessing later on. Help us to repent of being like Ham, who saw his father's nakedness and went out anbd told his brothers all about it, which led to being cursed later on.
Love covers a multitude of sins.
| 2006/5/17 15:58||Profile|
Josh... good word. I agree with your point. However, in this particular instance one of the issues our friends are having is the lack of true Christian fellowship. Saying hello on Sunday morning with no interaction during the week with anyone. How can one be "salt and light" when there is no interaction? There has to be interaction. And without fellowship a believer will suffer in the spiritual life. So in this instance my advise is plug into a place where you can find true biblical fellowship, and people who share your vision for out reach.
| 2006/5/17 16:45|
I've concluded that these problems are touched on by the Reformational idea that the true Church is invisible, and that she exists partially within visible churches, and partially outside of them.
If we truly trusted each other in the Church, would not we truly give everything for one another? Would we not be more communal?
I have found that this type of communal transparency does exist even in the US, but it has little to do with the churches we attend. In fact, Sunday morning has become a familiar rite (nothing wrong with that) for me, as well as a place to recieve the sacraments of communion, baptism and marriage. Other then these and a few other important purposes, I still find that my invisible church is ongoing throughout the week with various familes and people who do not even attend my place of worship. There was never a moment I orchestrated this, but the needs of safe fellowship, accountability, and outreach shaped the formation of these relationships. I believe this is happening much more then we talk about.
(edit: I wanted to say that the church I attend is a fine place with great oversight and warm Christian people. My family participates there in various ways. My point about the invisible Church is not criticize normal churches, but to simply observe that real life isn't going to fit into a few hours of programs each week. Even a healthy church organization won't have the spiritual and social circumference to encompass all of Church. In fact, mature and secure "leadership" will understand this.)
| 2006/5/17 16:49||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: Another perspective|
Some great discussion everyone, really appreciate Josh's most recent thoughts here and they coincide with others.
Came across this earlier and hopefully it is appropriate to post here, permission wise.
From David Ravenhill
We live in a day where pastors and other ministers are burning out at a faster rate than ever before. According to a recent report in Family News from Dr. James Dobson,
Thousands of spiritual leaders are barely hanging on from day to day. Our surveys indicated that 80 percent of pastors and 84 percent of their spouses are discouraged or are dealing with depression. More than 40 percent of pastors and 47 percent of their spouses report that they are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules and unrealistic expectations. We estimate that approximately 1,500 pastors leave their assignments each month, due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention within their local congregations.1
H. B. London, Jr. in an article entitled Pastoral Pressure Takes Its Toll quotes Southern California psychiatrist Richard Blackmon: Pastors are the single most occupationally frustrated group in America. Blackmon reported that 30 to 40 percent of religious leaders eventually drop out of the ministry while as many as 75 percent experience periods of stress so great that they consider quitting. The incidence of mental breakdown is so high that insurance companies charge ministers four percent extra for coverage compared to employees of other businesses. The article states further that the demand to be on call for a congregation 24 hours a day as personal confidant, marriage counselor, and crisis intervention puts church leaders in a constant whirlwind of stressful events.2
A 1991 survey of pastors conducted by the Fuller Institute of Church Growth revealed these disturbing facts:
90% of pastors work more than 46 hours per week.
80% believe that pastoral ministry is affecting their families negatively.
33% say that being in ministry is clearly a hazard to their families.
75% have reported a significant crisis due to stress at least once in their ministry.
50% felt unable to meet the needs of the job.
90% felt that they were not adequately trained to cope with the ministry demands placed upon them.
40% reported a serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
70% of pastors do not have someone they would consider a close friend.
37% have been involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church.
70% have a lower self-image after theyve pastored than before they started.
If this is the state of so many of the trained, professional pastors and other ministers in our churches, then what is the condition of those they serve? I believe that a survey of the non-ministerial people in our churches would reveal similar levels of discouragement, stress, and burnout.
Charisma or Character?
I am convinced that much of believer burnout (like shooting stars) at all levels stems from a lack of personal intimacy with God. We have become very professional. We have focused on the externals at the cost of a true inner life. A major problem in the Church today is that we emphasize charisma more than character. The Word of God teaches that the gifts of the Spiritalong with blessing and even authoritycan be bestowed by the laying on of hands. However, there is not a single verse, either in the Old Testament or the New Testament, that says character can be imparted through the laying on of hands. Character can be forged in our lives only on the anvil of experience and with the hammer of obedience to God and His Word.
This is excerpted from a larger article and don't want to leave things misconstrued as to where he may be going ... It seemed important enough to leave in the character aspect as it applies across everything. Just as well it was food for thought at the beginning to re-access just what many a pastor and his family is up against.
Took special note of just this;
contention within their local congregations
Even here in a more open, less accountable ( a deceptive ideal in actuality) setting as one can come and go as they please, write what they may and so forth. It is this issue of contention that rears it's ugly head more than any other.
| 2006/5/18 0:00||Profile|
Let me offer your friends this sage advise from two great men of God that I have always used regarding where I should attend church.
"You have nothing to do but save souls, spend and be spent in this work" John Wesley.
Coupled with "Go to church where people are getting saved on a regular basis" Oswald J. Smith.
If you can find a soul winning church and you enter in to that work, friendly won't matter.
| 2006/5/18 0:56||Profile|
wyattearp (I love the name!)... that is great advice! I will pass that on.
Mike... those stats are alarming. I think one of the reasons that pastors feel the way they do is because the people they are over expect the pastor to do everything that scripture has commanded EVERY Christian to do. They expect the pastor to visit the sick, and the pastor to visit those in prison, and the pastor to do this and do that... when all along is was God's intention for EVERY Christian to do those things, and NOT sit back and let someone else do it for them. Thats how we do it in our house churches that we have here. If someone is sick, I may go visit them, but usually someone else in the fellowship steps up and does it before I ever get a chance to. Thats how it should be!
| 2006/5/18 6:52|
AMEN BRO KRISPY!!!!
Every Christian should be a "Pastor" in action.
I think that one reason Pastors get so worn out is like stated before, lack of relationship with GOD on an intimate level. Being a Pastor has become way too professional.
Sometimes I see that Pastors (also like stated before) are the only ones to step up to the plate and are the only ones expected to.
They also see all of the things wrong with their congregations, which is very saddening.
Another thing that I feel is lost in all of this is the fact that GOD really is the one that is doing the work, not us. The only work we have to do (which sometimes is the hardest work we know) is to be totally open and usable for GOD. To do as he commands of us and asks of us. Go where HE says and do what HE says.
We have forgotten to trust the Lord with all things and all aspects of our lives.
| 2006/5/18 11:32||Profile|