Recently I had the opportunity to catch up with a pastor friend of mine. He shared with me that he was going to make another huge leap in furthering his academic studies. When I asked him why, he said, "I need an external mental and emotional push. It's either this or have an affair. I chose the least expensive option."
I can resonate with my friend's feeling of always wanting the "next big thing." I can become so forward-thinking that I forget about today. The next big thing is always elusive. It seems just as I arrive and accomplish that project or event or attain that "next ring," I find that the satisfaction evaporates on my soul like cotton candy on the tongue.
This constant striving left unchecked can cause us to live life like a bull in a china closet. Because of this mindset, many churches watch their pastors leave because they feel "called" elsewhere. That "calling" more often than not is the desire for the new, the better, and just change in general. They walk out on churches like the deadbeat dad that stumbles out the front door into the snow to get a drink. Imagine if we treated our spouses and children this way. This addiction to "new" is breaking churches and ruining the credibility of those that minister in the pulpit.
Not every pastor is the Apostle Paul called to from city to city plant churches. Yet, many seem to see themselves as just that: itinerant pastors. Two to three years and they're out. When all of their best sermons have dried up, the ideas stop flowing, or obstacles come their way, they hit the door. That's not Spirit-led; that's dysfunctional.
I don't foresee this issue becoming any more stable unless a drastic movement in the hearts of pastors takes place. Think about this. We have the Millennial generation now entering the ministry who are already noted as having the proclivity to move from job to job when anything new or better comes around. This idea of making a long-term commitment to a church must be mentored and modeled by those that are ahead of them.
I'm not saying that God doesn't lead us as pastors elsewhere. I'm saying it should be the exception, not the rule. We need pastors that won't leave; we need pastors that will cleave—cleave to their calling and their commitment to their church family.
I know what it is to be on this roller coaster of emotions, and it's horrendous. With God's help, over time I've slowly grown in my ability to manage my emotions instead of my emotions managing me. For the sake of my marriage, my family, and my ministry, it is crucial I get this right. Bottom line: I must remind myself daily that my life's pursuit is not to attain greatness, comfort, and ease for myself, but to point to Christ's greatness.
Let me encourage you to stay in the ring. Don't give up or walk out because your ministry has gotten hard or stale. Take a deep breath and dive in again to the work you've been called to.
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