It’s harder to come back than I thought

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.

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One thought on “It’s harder to come back than I thought

  1. That is so very true. After seeing similar poverty in the Dominican Republic on a vacation there, I went to Santo Domingo and was sickened by the level of poverty I witnessed. I returned many times with a Very Large suitcase full of clothes and distributed them in the village of a family I befriended every year for 4 years. They would share their meger shack with a dirt floor and insist I eat with them at least once during my week at the beach in Punta Cana. Then back to the U.S. and the demands of running a business and raising two children alone. Reality hits you from both experiences. You are really giving the same love and caring either way. God bless you for giving to everyone you minister.

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