Pastor to Pastor: 4 Next steps to follow when a fellow pastor has failed.

My heart is broken this morning. Sitting in a pool of tears in a coffee-house this morning, I’m sure I must be concerning the baristas and customers looking my way.  

All morning, I’ve been fine, but sitting down and reading articles about the resignation of a favorite pastor of mine has brought be to a very humbling place.  The news came to me yesterday after a great morning at Kfirst.

Perhaps the shock of it has now settled in after 24 hours of processing it.
Perhaps my own humanity gets realized in these moments.
Perhaps the love for the church I serve is so immense that I’m examining EVERY area of my life today as to make sure I’m reflecting Christ and His Kingdom.

(A boy just walked by me looking at me weird…seriously, I was fine when I left the house.)

So when I struggle to fully grasp or comprehend something, I journal and I blog. It’s my way to work out my thoughts. Why? Because if you’ve been living under a rock, you don’t know that rawness has gotten the best of people on social media and caused more havoc by escalating situations more than needed. (I’d highly recommend a journal as to protect you and your friends from thoughts and emotions yet to be hashed out.)

This hurting pastor doesn’t know me. We’ve tweeted back and forth a few times but that doesn’t make us BFFs. How God has used him in the Kingdom has inspired me and the church he leads has (and continues to ) challenge me. I will not use his name nor refer to the church out of respect for both of them…

But my brokenness isn’t exclusive to just his resignation. It happens with EVERY situation like this. I love pastors. I’ve been a broken pastor before. I am here because of men and women who wouldn’t abandon me in my fracture but spoken into my wounded heart and mind (Luke 10:33-37).

What also breaks my heart is knowing the amount of “carnivorous christians” that will smell blood in the water. There are people who crave these moments. They whore themselves to the attention they get from stirring the pot so that they can promote their self-righteousness. They claim to be about the Kingdom but only care about building an empire that revolves around the box they have placed Christ and His Word into. Instead of rallying to the broken, instead of humbling ourselves and checking our own hearts, they abandon and even attack the hurting. I can sit and point the finger at them, but that tendency lies in all of us. So I say to US ALL…

Brothers and Sisters, this should not be (James 3:10).

So, in blog style, I’ve sat down and begin to pen out next steps for me.  

What is a minister’s response when a fellow minister has failed?

1 – Rally to the broken. The enemy works in isolation; God works in community. We need to be quicker to sit in the dirt with those who are broken rather than stand around ready to hurl rocks (John 8:1-11). We need more advocates in the Kingdom instead of accusers. I may not have a personal relationship with this pastor (or others), but I doesn’t stop me from responding to their pain.  Which brings me to #2…

2 – Pray for the broken. There is a fractured minister. He/she has a hurting marriage and family. There is a hurting congregation. You don’t have to know the details to pray. Don’t allow the desire for “the dirt” be deeper than the desire to pray. Let the Spirit of God pray through you. Let Him give you the words to say. Be obedient to pray when He prompts you.

3 – Stop the attacks. Don’t facilitate infection but be a source of healing. The Good Samaritan had the perfect response of “pouring on oil and wine.” Oil was the soothing agent to remove pain. Wine was the antiseptic to stop further infection. Let your response do both.

4 – Stay humble and learn. These moments that should bring us to a place of humility. They remind us that none of us are exempt from temptation. The Bible gives so many examples of men and women who failed.  And for a majority of them (if not all), it was in a place of isolation, hunger, and/or exhaustion. To every minister of the Gospel (this is a message I’d like to preach to pastors):

  • Have accountability. I love my board. (I don’t always do well communicating how much I value my present and past board members for their wisdom and insight. Despite my demeanor, deep down they are blessed and wise men and women of God and I am very thankful for them).  BUT you desperately need ministers who are IN the trenches and those who WERE in the trenches. Have the presence of both Paul (mentors) and Barnabas (peers) in your life who have permission to ask or inquire of ANYTHING in your life/marriage/family.
  • Don’t stop being teachable. Learn from others regardless of age, denomination, or size of their ministry.
  • Guard your heart against competition; keep the critical attitude at bay.
  • Don’t spread gossip in the name of prayer requests.
  • Keep yourself spiritually fed. Spend time in the Word. Have personal worship time. Listen to podcasts.
  • Get rest. Have good sleep habits. Date your spouse. Have time with your children. Vacation without guilt. Rest may be the most fruitful thing you can do for your ministry.

Would you spend some of your day today in prayer over fellow ministers? If you are struggling WITH temptation and/or struggling IN temptation, would you reach out to someone? If you have no one, I’d be glad to pray for ya. Hit me up in a message or DM on Facebook or Twitter. Don’t feel like you have to be alone.

We must be about the Kingdom. And it won’t happen if we are devouring our own. It’ll happen when we bind the broken and heal the hurting. And those we lead, will follow our example.

Love you all.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

BTW: This was the song I’ve been listening to during my blogging today: 

2 Minute Marriage Devo – Day 19

Welcome to our 2 Minute Devos. This month we are in our Annual Marriage Series at Kalamazoo First Assembly of God and we’re going through devotions for couples. Take the time to read through the passage of the day and listen to the 2 Minute Devo.

Song of Solomon 4:9

You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.

Stupid Spouse: A culture of demeaning our mate.

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I do like sitcoms (situational comedies).  I grew up watching them. You probably have your favorites. I’ve got mine (MASH, Newhart, Taxi, Cosby Show, and Home Improvement). The really good sitcoms take every day situations for the everyday person and makes them funny.  It’s what keeps our attention and helps us to see the humor in own lives.  Now that Netflix has “Everyone Loves Raymond,” I find myself finally watching the show right before I sleep just to let the comedy relax my mind before sleep.

But…it’s got me thinking.

At 30-minute intervals, we see situations revealed and the comedy unfold.  While we watch, we, and especially our children, subliminally soak in messages and quotes.  They sit in our minds and crowd up our memories.  (Even now, you’re thinking of your own favorite sitcoms and/or the quotes and moments that stick out to you.) Unfortunately, over the years, there seems to be a steady vein running through most sitcoms.  It was there from my earliest memories of seeing “The Honeymooners” and it lingers now into our modern-day shows.

The “Stupid Spouse.”

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stu·pid/ˈst(y)o͞opid/ lacking intelligence or common sense.

Most of you reading this won’t have to think back very far to see the sitcom with the “Stupid Spouse.”  You name the sitcom and you’ll have no problem naming off the spouse or the person in the relationship that has been chosen to be “stupid.” Not only is he/she the butt of the jokes, but the role that he/she plays becomes a laughing-stock of their family. Children are allowed to disregard dad because he’s an idiot. Don’t respect mom because she’s disconnected from reality. Husbands are spineless and weak leaders.  Wives are selfish and conniving. There is very little respect for marriage as well as parenting.

My wondering: has what we have been viewing and enjoying been allowed to soak into our own families? Have we allowed our entertainment to actually shape our marriages?  Have they become emotional pornography creating unrealistic ideals that ravage the reality of how the Lord has designed you both?

Do you have a culture of demeaning your spouse?

Our homes SHOULD be the place of safety. Our spouse SHOULD be our greatest supporter.  Our marriage SHOULD be the source of our greatest encouragement.

But somewhere in this demeaning culture, we have become what we watch.  We tear down our spouse.  Now we don’t do it to their face all the time. Let them leave the room first before we give a comment to our kids about how you disagree with their father/mother.  When our parents call us, we’ll start-up again on how “stupid” our spouse is.  We’ll even go to church and sing of the love of God and put on the facade to our friends of how our family is. Somewhere this has to stop.  Someone has to draw a line in the sand and make a stand for encouragement.

James deals this sensitive subject by saying, “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

If you find yourself thinking about how stupid (lacking intelligence or common sense) your spouse is…
If you are constantly refusing to let your spouse be a helpmate…
If you cannot speak to them respectfully and lovingly…
If you cannot talk about your spouse without tearing them down to someone…

Husbands and wives…THESE THINGS OUGHT NOT TO BE SO!

Before you cancel your cable, Netflix, and Hulu accounts, take a step back.  I’m not telling you to go all “pharisee” on me with your TV’s and computers.  I’m asking for you to just pause and reflect.  It’s time to turn the tide of the culture of your home.

1 – It starts with you.  I’ve dealt with too many marriages where a husband and wife are acting like middle schoolers and not adults.  Don’t wait for him/her to make the first move to having a culture of respect and honor.  Thank the Lord that Jesus didn’t wait for us to make the first move back to him before he extended love toward us. “Drawing a line in the sand” ISN’T about “do this or I’m leaving.”  It’s about saying, “It stops here and now.” STOP TRYING TO CHANGE YOUR SPOUSE!  Let the change start in you.

2 – Ask for forgiveness.  Admitting fault is not a sign of weakness.  It’s a sign of strength. Hiding your faults is what makes you weak. Humility is the antibiotic for a pride-filled marital culture.  Proverbs 22:4 says, “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.”

3 – Create culture.  Embrace who your spouse is and how the Lord created them as an individual. Your differences are to be celebrated…not rejected. Create a culture where encouragement and praise becomes the norm. When there is a culture of edification, the constructive criticism that is needed for growth is received on furtive soil as opposed to calloused hearts that have been damaged by harsh remarks and disrespect.  You may have been married 2 years, 20 years, or 40 years.  It’s not too late to create a new culture of encouragement that will foster the atmosphere of healthy marital growth.

4 – Lastly, be dedicated to feeding the new culture.  Occasionally, Anne ticks me off.  I never make her mad (okay that’s a lie). But there needs to be a decision that, no matter how out of the norm it is for you, to feed the culture of encouragement and honor.  Your kids cannot see and hear you demeaning their father/mother.  Your parents cannot hear you tearing your spouse down.  Before other and before the Lord, chose to be a spouse who builds instead of destroys.  Ephesians 4:29 says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” You will have moments that you will not feel like feeding the “new culture.” That’s where we come to grips with the fact that love is a decision and not just a feeling.  Love your spouse to feed the culture of a healthy marriage.

If we were real here, we’d admit we ALL have moments where we are lacking intelligence or common sense.  Be humble to see that in yourself and that humility will feed into how you deal with your spouse.

Encourage liberally.  Laugh loudly.  Love unconditionally. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

2 Minute Devo: “Don’t miss this piece” Phil. 2:1-11

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October is our journey through the 2 minute series called “Resurrecting Repentance”.  It’s as simple as viewing the vlog and reading the passage for the day.  Today’s passage is Phil. 2:1-11:

Philippians 2:1-11

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.