I realise this may be an utter surprise to those who don’t lead churches… but us pastors can have bad, bad days. Often, Sundays! Now, lots of things make me grumpy. I know it shouldn’t be so, but sometimes Sunday isn’t so much holy for me, as grumpy. Here are the top ten things that make me grumpy on a Sunday:
ONE: TRAVELLING EVANGELISTS
Coming in to local churches, telling all their sparkling stories, making the local pastor look limp. It’s not fair! Ha! Ha! How insecure every leader can be!!
I so love the kind of guys I invite to my church, who minister with the understanding that local pastors carry immense pressure, rather than getting to develop their spiritual gifts all week.
The truth is, dear evangelists, we need your gifting … to stir us, provoke us, enlarge us. Just don’t be a superstar as you do … be a servant of every house you visit.
TWO: EMPTY SEATS
There are some Sunday’s when you look up at the start of a service and wonder “Where did they all go? Did I miss the rapture?!” A brief check of the diary or weather usually reveals it is half term, bank holiday or the sun just came out in England! It does make me grumpy when a few give their all to the Gospel, and some can’t cope with the temptation of a little sun.
But Grayson Jones put it brilliantly at a recent leaders forum: “Don’t preach to the empty seats”. I.E. It is pointless taking it out on those who DID come!
Of course, even Jesus’ meetings were filled with everything from the “crowd” to the “committed”. Don’t fool yourself that your Sunday morning crowd is your church, and you won’t be so disappointed. Spend your emotional energy on your sending capacity, not your seating capacity.
THREE: “CAN I HAVE A WORD…?”
….2 minutes before a meeting starts. NO! Afterwards. Always AFTER the meeting.
Why it is that people always want to tell you what’s wrong with your theology, why they hate you or are leaving the church, 30 seconds before the meeting … when you are trying to hear God, serve people, and deliver something from heaven, is beyond me. I honestly think it can be a “get thee behind me satan” moment, as the enemy uses people to put you off.
FOUR: INDIFFERENCE TO YOUR SIN
STOP IT! Or I’ll have to come and stop you doing that. And it’s not enjoyable for me. So read the bible and just STOP IT!
As leaders we have to get comfortable with loving confrontation, but we never enjoy it!
FIVE: THINGS UNDONE!
Why can’t people make a little list and just make sure everything get’s done. Or is it my O.C.D.?
But Jarrod, “perfection and excellence are two very different things” or so I tell grumpy me. Biblical perfection is about maturity, not whether the seats are in straight lines, the Air Con is just right or every light bulb working. Calm down Cooper.
SIX: UNITY EVENTS
I get enormously grumpy when my failure to attend someone else’s unity event is interpreted as a weakness in my motives. I could spend every day in a unity meeting and some leaders do. They ask me in one breath why is your church doing so well; then in the next they ask why I wasn’t at their unity event. Haven’t got the guts to say “You just answered your own questions”. My “Not to do” list is as important as my “to do” list.
Unity is about divine relationships, and love for the Church, expressed in generosity, kindness, loving language and forgiveness, not attendance of meetings. “Lord, let me never leave an already busy leader feeling leprous or accused of being less kingdom minded ‘cos they cannot make MY meeting!”
SEVEN: LEADERSHIP CONFERENCES
I LOVE leadership conferences, but not when everything goes well. I love it when the projection breaks down, the string quartet are out of tune, the speakers are less than perfect and don’t all utter stories of unbridled success.
I’ve been to so many leadership conferences that leave me feeling so inadequate, slow, behind the times, fruitless & yes, grumpy, because it’s a parade of mountaintop victories. Please, leaders, open up the bin (Garbage can for you Americans) and let us in on your trials, failures, temptations and losses – It will cure my post-leadership event grumpiness!
EIGHT: ABSENT LEADERS
“Where’s my leaders?” I ask myself in some prayer meetings or leadership development times. You give guys honour, authority, responsibility and influence, and they reward you by attendance worthy of a Uni student!
OK, that’s me being very grumpy. In fact, sometimes I fall prey to the “If I’m here, everyone else should be” spirit! But truth is, we’ve got some really busy people out there. If they are already giving up 4 nights a week to pastor for you, invest in areas, run administration, be directors on your board…then cut your top flyers a little slack sometimes.
You meet a pastor you don’t know. You can tell they are sizing you up. Trying to discover your “level”. They think there is one sure fire way to do this, and it makes me grumpy. They are desperately trying to get the conversation around to “How big is your church?”
I love playing with this one. “Do you mean seating capacity, people through services, membership lists, international works, watchers on TV, or just leaders and core members?” “Er, any of those” they reply. “I don’t know” I reply. Job done.
Yes, most of all, “I” make “me” grumpy. I wish I was more decisive, further on, better developed. A bit more Reinhard, a lot more Maxwell, a tad more Benny. Perhaps a quiff & white suit would do it?
But truth is, I MUST develop a love for me more, cos I will love others “as i love myself”. In fact, perhaps all this grumpiness is just that I need to like me, like life, like God, a lot more, and not get my boxers in a twist so often.
After all, it was “life in all it’s fulness” we got promised wasn’t it?
So leader, if like me, you get a little grumpy… Try to relax a little more. I truly am trying to overcome my grumpiness by fixing my eyes and goals more on Jesus.
But for now, & for Vicky’s sake, please pray I have a good Sunday this week.