Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why I Am Still A Pastor

Today was one of those days that God was at work. And when God is at work, so is the devil. And then there's little ol' me being pulled in both directions.

This morning I went to a conference. I almost missed it, thinking I had too much to do. Above all else, I've been working on a comprehensive plan for our church to consider adopting as its own. God placed it in my heart and mind, but keeping it there doesn't do anyone any good. I have to communicate the vision to God's people. And hopefully I can do it in such a way that I don't mess it up. Anyway, I need to get out of the "rough draft mode" and finalize this plan before the budget is set for next year. At least I think that's what I need to do. It makes sense, but then again…how in the world did God move so freely in the early church when they didn't have a budget, business meetings, committees, etc.? All they had is the Holy Spirit. May we become that primitive.

Short story long…I went to this conference with Reggie McNeal. (Check out his books. They make churchy people crazy.) The conference was EXACTLY what I needed to experience. It fit perfectly with where God is leading me. I can't reveal it all just yet. Some of it I have to live out first.
So there I was, excited as a teenager on a first date, when BAM! Out of nowhere came a committee meeting. Okay, it didn't come out of nowhere. It was in my calendar. But my calendar needs to be controlled by me, not vice versa. So, not only did I fail to skip the meeting (which I should have done to be with my family, who needed me), but after it was over I was made aware that a growing number of people in the church are downright livid with a decision I made. I thought, "Doesn't anyone care that the decision I made has brought people into worship on Sunday? Apparently not. 'WNDITWB'." (Google that!) How did I handle the news? I became annoyed, peeved, riled…you get the idea. Apparently that's not the pastoral thing to do (although I do remember something in the Bible with moneychangers and tables).

Here's the thing that really bothers me about the whole episode: I should have known that I was on Satan's hit list. I was pretty geeked up about God's work at Woodland Acres Baptist Church. So Satan was sure to take his shots. And the only weapons Satan has in his arsenal are lies. He uses lies to deceive, entice, wound, and distract. When church members criticize their pastor–especially when they do it in an unbiblical manner through gossip and slander (cf. Matt. 18:15)–Satan uses it to wound the pastor's family and distract him from his mission.

In a sermon, John MacArthur, Senior Pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA, said, "I do know what it is to suffer criticism. I do know what it is to be the constant subject of accusation, both inside the church and outside the church. There have been moments, believe me, when leaving the church was attractive to me. And there is almost a constant query to me…'Why don't you leave Grace Church and do something else?' But I have never contemplated any such move seriously because I love my calling from God and I love my place and I love my people. I remain wholly totally committed to the duty of a pastor."

That's exactly how I feel. Being a pastor is an impossible task, but I love it. I love God's people, and I love my calling in life. There are times–like tonight–when I feel like no one believes in me. I told God that this evening, and He said to my spirit, "I believe in you, David. You're at the cusp of a God-sized thing. Just do what I've told you to do. Believe Me."

So that's what I'm going to do. Tomorrow evening is Church Council. I'll be more ready for that than I was tonight. Let the rain fall.

Oh, by the way, what's this God-sized thing that's going to happen? Well, subscribe to the blog. When the time is right, you'll be the first to know. If you want a clue, read those books I mentioned earlier.