Sorry I haven’t updated until now . . . this week was insane. We have a leadership retreat (read: meeting) this weekend – oh joy. There are many things I’d like to post (like a new book that I’m reading regarding pluralism and the Bible – just read a very interesting article by Walter Bruggeman suggesting Israel’s problem addressed by Amos was they claimed exclusivity – interesting). However, with the upcoming retreat, my thoughts instead go ministry.
I have heard it said many times: the best part about working for a church is working with people. The worst part about working for a church is working with people. IT is the best of times and it is the worst of times. I have met some of the most godly and humble people and I have met some of the worst and most arrogant people. The problem is that working with a church you can never really tell people what you’re thinking – believe me, if I did that I would have been fired like within a month. Approaching the third year here in August, I am entering into the most challenging years of ministry. You know the people. You love the people. But you still have the naive idealism that wants to change this place and turn it upside down. I have a blessed church – but they still make me pull my hair out. Here are some observations from my short years in ministry:
Old people in churches – usually the best to be around, the wisest, the warmest, and the biggest pain in the butt to deal with as change occurs. Here at AC, we’re a little unique in that our old folks are pretty open minded. I like to focus more on their incredible love, devotion to church, and love for people.
Middle age people in churches – these are the folks that may drive me the craziest. They are generally the people running the church. They are disagreeable, cynical, and for the most part pessimistic. They approach chance with pessimism that nothing could ever make this church better, “Believe me, I’ve been trying for years,” is what they often say.
Young families in churches – these folks are usually so busy in their own world of jobs, children, sports, hobbies, and travel that they don’t have a general interst in the overall status of what’s happening. Reel them in by ministering to their kids. If the church has a good program for kids, they’ll stick through all kinds of crap.
Young adults in churches – there aren’t many of these folks left straggling in churches. Their general idealism and optimism gets drowned out by the older middle agers who are in control. They convict the churche of its apathy and uncaring spirit. Their fallacy is that they often care too little for what’s been done at the church to get it to where it’s at. [This is where I hope to stay as long as I can.]
Youth ministers in churches – underappreciated, underpaid, undervalued, often-overlooked, behind-the-scenes, making other members and ministers looking good, optimistic, idealists, promoting growth, health, social justice
Pastors in churches – overpaid, often over appreciated, spend more time on sermons and classes than on actually getting to know anyone, approaching prideful, politicians [doesn’t that sound like the perspective of a youth minister] – though there are many, many more that don’t fit this mold, but our captitalistic impersonating churches create these kinds of men and women to lead churches.
Non Christians outside of churches – don’t care much at all about any of the stuff that I just mentioned.
It’s time our churches break the mold. Let’s do something. Get off our hands. Stop bickering and in-fighting. Acknowledge that a good portion of the world around us might be searching, hurting, and lost. ANyone see that PBS documentary last night called “Raising Cain” about the plight facing adolescent boys raised in American society? I saw just clips, but was very moved and struck with emotion.
I’m off to face a great mix of the aforementioned folks at our leadership meeting.