I have, from time to time, considered blogging but have come up with some of the best reasons imaginable not to do so. With a wonderful husband, 14 children, 12 still living at home, two dogs, three cats and a partridge in a pear tree (just thought I would throw that in for a little Christmas Cheer) I am afraid I will never find the time or that I might go into an uncontrollable rant about what my day was REALLY like, therefore, so far I have not yet set up my blogspot. However when Pastor Rob asked me to be a guest blogger for his site I thought here’s my chance to give it a try. So if you are in fact reading this I will know my blog at least met the approval of my new boss.
Yes, in case some of you don’t know, I have taken the position of Executive Assistant to the Lead Pastor. I have said many times since I made the decision to work part time for Pastor Rob and The Church that I am “back where I belong”. A couple of years ago I was “volunteer staff”. Then I had only two teenage children and one dog, so it was a way for me to be as involved in ministry as I wanted to be. As our family grew and the church grew it became difficult to work as many hours as I had been so I scaled back and just volunteered in various ministries, never feeling quite like I was where God wanted me to be. Now that my children are older and all are in school I have been given the opportunity to dive back into my ministry and I‘m loving it!!!
When I was volunteer staff I worked more directly with Pastor Rob and found it to be one of the greatest experiences ever for me. He understands the Word and makes it accessible to all. He cares for his flock deeply (often to the disregard of his own health and well-being), and takes a lot of hits that you and I will never hear about. Well, now that I’ve returned to church ministry, sadly I’ve found that some of the dysfunction I had experienced growing up as a PK (Preachers Kid) was apparently still alive and well in the Christian Community. Now that I am back I see that, unfortunately, some things never change. So that is what I would like to focus on here.
And before I rant, can I add this? Rob asked me to write about what was most on my heart. Truth? What’s most on my heart are the changed lives, salvations, baptisms, maturing believers, a growing church, awesome life-groups, etc., but this has to be a one part blog, not a 22 part series–so that won’t work. Now I do want to be sensitive to this great privilege of posting on the elusive, “robsingleton.net” site so that I might actually be asked back one day and that means understanding that Pastor Rob does not like to focus on the negative. Therefore, at somewhat of a risk, I decided to run by him the one thing I’ve observed (however sparsely) that I believe we could all work on for an even better, more effective church. Upon reading it he did have reservations but said he trusts my heart and that it shines through clearly.
Thanks, Pastor Rob—hopefully, I won’t let you down.
Here are my thoughts.
Rally around the Pastor and his Family
I cannot imagine how anyone who has not been part of a pastor’s family could understand how difficult AND rewarding this life is. God is so marvelously gracious to those who have chosen full time ministry but for some reason people feel that Pastors and their families are somehow magically non-human and do not feel the pain of criticism, indignation, confrontation and unreasonable expectations. Please understand that I see many, many people respecting and honoring Pastor Rob and his family, but for some reason, Pastors as humans, feel the sting more strongly of the ones who choose to be critical and condescending. And there are always some who diligently exercise their spiritual gift of “discouragement” every chance they get.
The definition of the word Reverend: worthy to be revered; entitled to reverence, sums it up as far as I am concerned. But all too often I see people who feel that there should be no entitlement (Entitlement is today’s buzz word in reaction to so many abusive people in position of power)–That in fact the Pastor has chosen a path in which he should suffer and agonize. I don’t particularly like the word entitlement (and I know Pastor Rob hates it so don’t tell him I used it. We’re safe, he hates reading his own blog as much as he hates listening to his own sermons) but as Webster says a Reverend is entitled to reverence and I agree. Pastors have chosen a path that Jesus clearly set out for them in Luke ‘And you cannot be my disciple if you do not carry your own cross and follow me.’ Which is exactly what a Pastor does in so many unseen ways!’
There are no words to express how much Pastor Rob aches for the people he has been placed to minister to, the flock that he has been assigned to tend to. That in itself is such a burden and an attribute to be revered. There are so many difficult things that come with the territory of being a Pastor. And though these things are hardly unique to Southbrook, one thing, IMHO, that is, is the incredible amount of complete life transformation we see when the unchurched come through our doors one way and leave another. That’s why it strikes me as downright bizarre that even Southbrook gets the peanut gallery critics. My wish is that people would not desire to put additional burdens on our Pastor and his family out of selfish ambition and/or a desire to be right—if people know how difficult this calling is, how they can peacefully condemn ministers and their ministry for minutiae? There is no doubt that there are times in ministry that we must agree to disagree. There are times that one person’s opinions do not line up perfectly with another persons, but throwing a pastor under the bus for something they say or do is just unimaginable to me and I hear about it most at the churches that are doing the most good!—The Southbrooks, The Elevations, The Forest Hills, The Newsprings, The Saddlebacks, The Fellowship Churches, etc,—In short, the ones you’ve heard about.
Ever wonder why you don’t hear this about “First Church of the apostollic, reformed traditionalists who still wear polyester church” (ok, I admit, I heard pastor Rob say this once and I stole it—sue me.)? Becasue they aren’t making a difference! I could go on and on. Bottomline? I know the Bible tells us that the more good we do for Jesus, the more we move forward for Jesus, the more resistance we can expect, but I just want to make sure that friction is never coming from me! We are to hold God’s leaders up. Give them the honor that they deserve. The support that will help them to be all that God has called them to be.
I recognize that the month of October has been assigned by Hallmark or whom ever as Pastor Appreciation Month, but can we not appreciate our Pastor EVERY day of EVERY week of EVERY month? Can we not protect the unity of the church by honoring our Pastor all the time? That is my challenge to you. Let’s Rally around Rob, Michelle, Nathan and Juliana and help them to continue to do what God has sent them out to do, reaching the lost for our Lord and Savior?