03 October 2007

Babbling about my shaken spirit

There is a season of weirdness going on in my extended Christian community and it's really becoming a bit of a challenge for me not to dwell on the downers that I keeping hearing about. And by season I mean the last 6 months or so. This biggest blow to my senses happened a month and a bit ago at my home church. A couple of staff members resigned for certain moral failure issues. For obvious reasons I won't get into the second-hand details that I've heard. These are people I've worked alongside, people I respected, people who I was learning from, people who were where I wanted to be etc. And then sin got the best of them. I'm not naive when it comes it the reality of sin but when people in these positions of authority and respect fail it's so shocking. It's hard to have faith in people when even the best can't stay on their game. It makes living the so-called Christian life seem impossible. I'm also left without a mentor and a guide. One of these people was (what I thought) my biggest supporter in my current ministry role. He was supposed to be there for me and now I can't trust him to mentor me as he is in a state of faith repair.(not to mention I can't get in touch with him) I feel lost and abandoned as I move ahead in my ministry position.

Another situation is the one that took place in our church here in Taiwan. The pastor and church planter of our church burnt out and became depressed and incapable of pastoring our church. Maybe I am some strange source of bad and leaders around me go down. I don't know. He was another guy that was supposed to mentor me and became incapable of doing so. I'm running out of options and it's taking its toll as I'm trying to lead myself. This just gets me going in circles and I don't actually learn or get better.

Even my pastor back in Canada had to take a stress leave. He's always been a suck-it-up kind of guy and I realize that isn't always the most healthy attitude but in some ways it was inspiring. He took some time off to get healthy and that's good but it's hard to maintain hope that one can successfully get through a career in ministry with all the damage being seen around me.

A church friend of mine who I grew up with has recently left the ministry after about 5 years of pastoring and although I don't know the story of what happened the news still shakes me. He seemed so content and on his way to a fulfilling life as a pastor and church family man. For some reason it went bad and he wanted out. I don't get it. I thought the church and the Christian community was supposed to be a place of joy, love and life to the fullest. All I've seen recently is scandal, depression, tiredness and bitterness.

Is it something that's going wrong in these faith communities or is it something bigger than that. I don't often challenge God and his ways but I'm starting to wonder what he's up to in these lives and in my life for that matter. When does the joy come? When does the peace settle in? I'm in a place of spiritual turbulence and I need a safe place to land.

I also wonder when congregations will realize they are partially at fault. Why are these leaders getting tired? depressed? hurt? Are expectations too high for pastors? Are we putting too much pressure on them? Why can't churches be communities that support leaders and give them realistic goals/tasks? Those of us that are called to ministry can't help but press on and try to do the work but it would be so much healthier if the community around us would rally around and move forward as a unit rather than as individual players looking out for their own interests. None of this (the Christian life) is about us and doing to fulfill ourselves...it's about doing for God and doing for other people, the two golden rules. That includes looking out for the safety and well being of our pastors/leaders even if the program must suffer.

There's more in my head where this came from...I'll be back soon with some more thoughts.

6 comments:

Grandpa Steve said...

Chester,
I for one and there are probably many others who have failed to support and also hold our leaders accountable. We need to continually check out thoughts and actions.

There are things that I have said, thought or looked at in the last 24 hours that are not wise or healthy fortunately most have been wise. Most of the world would see all of this as of no consequence but we have made a committment to a life involving eternity.

As we have seen each choice has works with previous and subsequent choices to either build or tear down our lives.

HANG IN THERE, LOOK UP, WATCH OUT

Anonymous said...

You need to find another support group in the ministry within your community for now.

Another who has left the ministry is S.Wms.

Keep plugged in with G.T.

MOM

Melissa said...

I'm with you on the thoughts of what's happening in the "church" that so many leaders are walking away from ministry or needing extended breaks.

I have so many friends/acquaintances who have taken this step and it makes me sad and worried at the future of leadership roles in ministry.

I guess all we can do for now is try and support them and lift them up in prayer.

glennteal said...

Could someone in the loop email me with the basic info of what just went down at LakeView. I love so many leaders there and hope and pray that things are not too ugly.
glennteal@aim.com

Kristin, Katrina & Nate said...

Hey,

Keep on pluggin', bro! We miss you guys a lot over here and would love to head back over. Nev's gotta get me a job in the 'wan.

Later, bro

loveth

jax

Adam said...

Hey Chris - I was in full-time ministry for about 5 years, but nothing bad happened that I wanted out. I've always thought of doing other things.
I realized I needed to pay attention to my own calling - the context can change.
I'm still attending the same church, speaking regularly - I'd venture to say I'm as involved as I've ever been. Just not getting paid. It's alright.
Everybody had a calling and it looks different for them - people's faith looks different - and nobody has landed just yet... so hang in there buddy. Run your own race.

A

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