Ed Stetzer has written an interesting article for Q ‘How Christian Consumers Ruin Pastors and Cheat the Mission of God’. I have often struggled with those folks who simply come to church for a product or service, not unlike taking your car to an auto mechanic or hiring a contractor to work on your home. It could be a baptism, wedding, funeral,counseling or some other type of inspirational entertainment. We pastors step in it all the time, willingly providing what we think people are looking for, fearful of what will happen if we do not continually attract and retain an influx of new people at church. How effective and healthy can ministry be if that’s the model?
In retrospect, it was so good to get away to Haiti for nine days. Even though it was an intense, tiring week, the only expectation was that I be a pastor. “Do justice…love kindness…walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). Help people, show compassion, pray and preach the word. No meetings, few demands, and countless opportunities to proclaim the gospel in words and actions.
You get spoiled real quick. It’s freeing to not be hounded by time and schedules. So when you get back to the real world, it’s hard — real hard — to take seriously some of the things you used to spend time and energy on. Like meetings that accomplish little if anything. Complaints and concerns about our facilities. Shopping and travel plans for Christmas. A whole bunch of people who live in tents in Haiti, including many of our friends, are now in the path of a hurricane in the Caribbean. Suddenly, it’s real hard to focus on that other stuff. And maybe that’s a good thing.