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My Mess, God's Message: Prelude To A Fall

ReadabilityMy Mess, God's Message: Prelude To A FallSo, here’s my story in earnest. I grew up in beau­ti­ful Rus­sel­lville, Arkansas in a Chris­t­ian home. I had a goofy sis­ter (she’s still goofy) and a good net­work of friends. My dad was a health physi­cist, which means he...

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Pastors in Trouble 2a: The Community of Faith

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in burnout, Christ, church, church face, church leadership, church members, churches, community, conflict, culture, fallenness, forgiveness, leadership, pastoring, pastors, relationships | Posted on 26-02-2014

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Pastors in Trouble 2a: The Community of Faith

troubleIn my last post I asked two ques­tions — why are so many pas­tors in trou­ble? We have pas­tors com­mit­ting sui­cide, depressed, com­mit­ting adul­tery, just quit­ting, and some are leav­ing because of con­flict. Why?

The other ques­tion was a per­sonal one. I wanted you to ask your­self whether you were lov­ing peo­ple the way Christ intended for you to. Go back and read the post if you haven’t. It’s our begin­ning point. If, as a Chris­t­ian com­mu­nity, we are going to fix these prob­lems and take them seri­ously, we have to start answer­ing some questions.

We have to be shocked that more and more pas­tors are com­mit­ting sui­cide. We have to be shocked over sta­tis­tics where 80% of pas­tors say they are suf­fer­ing from depres­sion. We must have some sort of twinge of pain when we learn that 77% of pas­tors say they do not have a good mar­riage.

Some of us think, “Well, it’s not my prob­lem. The pas­tor knows where to get help. He can fix him­self. He’s got the Bible. He knew it was a dif­fi­cult pro­fes­sion when he got called. I’m sure he’s doing what he needs to take care of him­self.”

I have a sur­prise for you. He’s prob­a­bly not. Most pas­tors don’t do what they need to be doing to take care of them­selves. I’ve blogged about it before — most min­is­ters think they can fix their own problems.

Let’s look at one of the prob­lems I believe is respon­si­ble for so many pas­tors leav­ing the min­istry. Sim­ply put, instead of liv­ing as com­mu­ni­ties of faith, we are Sun­day gath­er­ings of happychurchpeo­ple with bright smiles who have lit­tle con­nec­tion with one another and are engag­ing in one more weekly activity.

Let me explain what I mean. The church as we find it in Scrip­ture has Christ as its head. We owe all to Him. He is the rea­son we exist. When we speak of church, we should be speak­ing of it as all those who have been redeemed by Christ. When we meet locally as a body of believ­ers, that is a local church gathering.

When we find a local church gath­er­ing, we ought to be doing it for the right rea­sons. We ought to be there first because we love Christ and want to join with those of like mind who wor­ship Him in spirit and truth. We also want to go there because we want to be able to fol­low Scrip­ture and hear the Word preached. We should desire to be there so we can use our spir­i­tual gifts and become peo­ple who are mis­sion minded in our community.

Some­thing else should hap­pen to us when we decide where we belong. We become part of that com­mu­nity of faith. And when we do, we aren’t look­ing at the church and say­ing, “What can you do for me?” We are humbly approach­ing Christ and ask­ing, “How can I serve you here?

worshipWhen we enter a com­mu­nity of faith, we are part of that func­tion­ing body. And what does a body of believ­ers in love with Jesus Christ do? They act like the believ­ers in the early church did. They love one another. Their fel­low­ship is sweet. It’s not lim­ited to a once a week handshake.

Fel­low­ship means being able to share your heart with one another in an hon­est way and not fear­ing that the secrets and pains of your life will be the object of scorn or gos­sip from those within the com­mu­nity. It should be as Christ told us — treat oth­ers as you wish to be treated.

We should always be look­ing to men­tor and dis­ci­ple new Chris­tians. We should always be look­ing to for­give those who sin. If some­one is in need, we ought to help them through any sit­u­a­tion. The prob­lem often is that we don’t open up with one another enough to know that any­one is hav­ing seri­ous problems.

Why is that? Because we’ve become accus­tomed, for some rea­son, to put on our church face facesand ride each Sun­day out, look­ing the best we can. The entire time, many of the peo­ple in the pew are going through some of the most dif­fi­cult moments in their lives — finan­cial bur­dens, health issues, depres­sion, anx­i­ety, sui­ci­dal thoughts, prob­lems with fam­ily, job issues — but most will leave it tied up tight in their brain where no one can see it.

It is oppo­site of what a fel­low­ship of believ­ers is sup­posed to be. We are called broth­ers and sis­ters in Christ for a rea­son. Yet we build all these walls so that the peo­ple we should be trust­ing and talk­ing to the most know the least about us.

Next post, we’ll be look­ing at today’s church cul­ture and how we can start mak­ing a difference.

_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​

Ray Car­roll is the author of “Fallen Pas­tor: Find­ing Restora­tion in a Bro­ken World,” which answers many of the ques­tions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pas­tor who needs to talk or you are some­one who has been affected by a fallen pas­tor and would like to con­tact me pri­vately, please click here. You are the main rea­son this min­istry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, asso­ci­a­tion, con­fer­ence, or news out­let and would like more infor­ma­tion about this min­istry, please click here.

troubleIn my last post I asked two questions – why are so many pastors in trouble? We have pastors committing suicide, depressed, committing adultery, just quitting, and some are leaving because of conflict. Why?

The other question was a personal one. I wanted you to ask yourself whether you were loving people the way Christ intended for you to. Go back and read the post if you haven’t. It’s our beginning point. If, as a Christian community, we are going to fix these problems and take them seriously, we have to start answering some questions.

We have to be shocked that more and more pastors are committing suicide. We have to be shocked over statistics where 80% of pastors say they are suffering from depression. We must have some sort of twinge of pain when we learn that 77% of pastors say they do not have a good marriage.

Some of us think, “Well, it’s not my problem. The pastor knows where to get help. He can fix himself. He’s got the Bible. He knew it was a difficult profession when he got called. I’m sure he’s doing what he needs to take care of himself.”

I have a surprise for you. He’s probably not. Most pastors don’t do what they need to be doing to take care of themselves. I’ve blogged about it before – most ministers think they can fix their own problems.

Let’s look at one of the problems I believe is responsible for so many pastors leaving the ministry. Simply put, instead of living as communities of faith, we are Sunday gatherings of happychurchpeople with bright smiles who have little connection with one another and are engaging in one more weekly activity.

Let me explain what I mean. The church as we find it in Scripture has Christ as its head. We owe all to Him. He is the reason we exist. When we speak of church, we should be speaking of it as all those who have been redeemed by Christ. When we meet locally as a body of believers, that is a local church gathering.

When we find a local church gathering, we ought to be doing it for the right reasons. We ought to be there first because we love Christ and want to join with those of like mind who worship Him in spirit and truth. We also want to go there because we want to be able to follow Scripture and hear the Word preached. We should desire to be there so we can use our spiritual gifts and become people who are mission minded in our community.

Something else should happen to us when we decide where we belong. We become part of that community of faith. And when we do, we aren’t looking at the church and saying, “What can you do for me?” We are humbly approaching Christ and asking, “How can I serve you here?

worshipWhen we enter a community of faith, we are part of that functioning body. And what does a body of believers in love with Jesus Christ do? They act like the believers in the early church did. They love one another. Their fellowship is sweet. It’s not limited to a once a week handshake.

Fellowship means being able to share your heart with one another in an honest way and not fearing that the secrets and pains of your life will be the object of scorn or gossip from those within the community. It should be as Christ told us – treat others as you wish to be treated.

We should always be looking to mentor and disciple new Christians. We should always be looking to forgive those who sin. If someone is in need, we ought to help them through any situation. The problem often is that we don’t open up with one another enough to know that anyone is having serious problems.

Why is that? Because we’ve become accustomed, for some reason, to put on our church face facesand ride each Sunday out, looking the best we can. The entire time, many of the people in the pew are going through some of the most difficult moments in their lives – financial burdens, health issues, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, problems with family, job issues – but most will leave it tied up tight in their brain where no one can see it.

It is opposite of what a fellowship of believers is supposed to be. We are called brothers and sisters in Christ for a reason. Yet we build all these walls so that the people we should be trusting and talking to the most know the least about us.

Next post, we’ll be looking at today’s church culture and how we can start making a difference.

____________________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

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[…] via Pastors in Trouble 2a: The Community of Faith | Fallen Pastor. […]

[…] This post is the sec­ond part of the dis­cus­sion about one of the issues that needs to be addressed — our churches. Make sure you read the first part before you start here. […]

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