(Kansas City, MO)
I have been in ministry now for 27 years and my husband and I now Pastor a ministry we pioneered. We have been pastoring now for 16 years and as with all relationships it went through its honeymoon phase and now we are in the "grind" so to speak. We have had two church splits and are somewhat stagnant in growth. We have been attacked by people, mostly family who are church members, for an array of different things. To be honest like most on this forum I am tired of "church" people. They can be some of the cruelest, mean spirited and selfish folks around. O wait, that sounds like what Paul told Timothy (LOL!!)
I also work full time in a hospital and I have seen my share of "sick" patients who refuse treatment because they are confused and hurting. However, in the midst of all of that I think we (Pastors, Ministers, etc.) have all been fooled into thinking that the people we minister to are "all good" just because they are "saved." The more I think about it the more I realize they have the "potential" of being saved (pun intended). In other words, we are dealing with some sick people. They are involved in more reality shows than imaginable which typically means constant strife and confusion, drug abuse, extra marital affairs, abuse, etc. The world is dark and some of that darkness remains in the hearts of God's people.
The bottom line is this. Our members/people we minister to will only get better to the extent they allow God's Word to govern their lives. That is a fact. Salvation is a "daily" decision and every member of our church has to make the daily decision to live, love and give for God. We cannot own the outcomes of people's lives nor can we as Pastors allow the people to lay the blame for whatever is going on with them at our feet. We have one command as shepherds and that is to feed the sheep and lambs. That is all we can do. Feed people and TRY to help those who want to be helped. Easier said than done I know but at the hospital when patients refuse to take medication and follow medical advice we discharge them AMA (against medical advice). We need to start discharging AMA from our hearts these people that refuse to take the Word and instructions we give over the pulpits every week. We cannot allow our sick members to make us sick. Our job is too important. If we don't do it...who else will?
The only and I do mean the ONLY thing that has kept me in the ministry all these years and Pastoring without being offended is that I know that I know that I know God called me to do it. I was there when He called me out (LOL!!).
We cannot quit....you are in a war and the devil, not the people, are trying to pick us off. If the people of God have no shepherds they are doomed. If the hospital has no physicians they are doomed. We are more valuable than physicians. We have to stay put and endure hardness as a good soldier. If you are not welcomed where you are and they shut the door on you start your own. If they won't come to where you are, stand on the street. God is our source, not our members. If money is the issue start your own business. Ask God for witty ideas and concepts. Do whatever you need to do. Make a decision at which there is no return...no backdoor...no B plan. Whatever you do fight and do what God called you to do. If Jesus endured those "crazy" church people we can too. In comparison to that this is light. Stay encouraged and stay in there. We need you. I need you....
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