With great patience…

2

15/01/2019 by Chris Green

Being a pastor makes demands on your levels of irritability.

Before I go on, let me reassure you – this blog post is not autobiographical!  You are not about to get an insight into my inbox!

But still…

  • How do you respond when someone repeatedly refuses to accept your position of orthodoxy?
  • How do you respond when you are repeatedly told what you should be doing on what of what you currently do?
  • How do you respond when someone wilfully misunderstands an action?
  • How do you respond when two people criticise you, and for opposite reasons?
  • How do you respond when someone disagrees with your sermon, from a position of almost total ignorance?
  • How do you respond when good people leave to go another (usually, larger) church where the teaching/music/programme/fellowship is just – better?
  • How do you respond when your elders repeatedly block a critical ministry development?
  • How do you respond when your attempts to close down an email conversation repeatedly fail?

If you just skimmed that list, try again – and try to remember that feeling when your blood pressure started rising.

Most of us know better than to respond in kind, or lash out, or bully, or ostracise.  Most of us.

Most of us know better than to fly solo, and not tell any of our senior elders but to carry the burden alone.  Most of us.

But even the best of us can get caught in a bitterness of spirit, whether to an individual, a group, a type or even a whole church.

Even the best of us can get caught in a bitterness of spirit, whether to an individual, a group, a type or even a whole church.

And even the best of us are tempted, just once, to go full on with the ‘Let me tell you exactly why you’re wrong, because I know more than you, have read more books than you, know my bible better than you, and you’re treating me like – an equal.’  

Which discloses the unspoken question, ‘Where’s the respect I’m due?’

That’s a whale of an issue. Because clinging to respect, being driven by a need for it, was one of the characteristics of the Pharisees (Matt. 23:7)

Yes, Christian leaders are to be respected – but we are to be respectable.  And you lose that when you lose your temper because of pride, self-righteousness, a feeling of being misunderstood – all the usual suspects.

And the fact that we live in a way that is respectable does not mean we will be respected.  Ask Timothy.  Ask Paul.  Ask Jesus.

It’s no wonder that Paul reiterates to Timothy that he needs to display one of the fruit of the Spirit, in extraordinary measure. Paul had modelled it: You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance (2 Tim 2:10), and Timothy was going to have to grow into it, under the pressure of being a pastor: preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction (2 Tim 4:2).

So when you get that call or email, begin that conversation or – my favourite – the unexpected letter arrives, draw a deep breath.  Remember that you are not expected to deal with this in your own strength, but in the Holy Spirit’s supernatural power. Pray, and tackle it again.

And again.

And yet again.

With great patience.

2 thoughts on “With great patience…

  1. James says:

    Thanks Chris, as always SO helpful.

  2. […] With Great Patience… a word in season? If not 2019? From Chris Green […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Shortlisted for “Most Inspiring Leadership Blog, 2018”

New resource

Pastors are busy, and leading a church is a demanding task.  That’s why I wrote this e-bookchecklist: The Pastor’s Checkup – The Top 10 Questions every pastor needs to answer (and helpful stuff if you can’t)

There’s only way to get it is by subscribing to my  (occasional) email newsletter here.

Topics

God, Suffering and Joy

A conversation between me (with cancer) and Michael (with Multiple Sclerosis)

Legal stuff

This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyse and optimise your content and reading experience. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

I welcome your participation on the Ministrynutsandbolts site, and invite you to share ideas elsewhere on what you learn and read here. At the same time, I ask that you respect my intellectual property rights in the process.

You are welcome to link to my site or any specific post on my site, extract and re-post less than 200 words on any other site, provided you link back to my original post, or print my posts in any non-commercial publication (e.g., company newsletter, class syllabus, church newsletter, etc.), provided you include this copyright notice: “© 2017 Chris Green. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.ministrynutsandbolts.com.”

Please do not do the following without written consent: Re-post one of my posts in its entirety anywhere else on the Internet, use this content for commercial purposes, including selling or licensing printed or digital versions of my content, or alter, transform, or build upon this work.

If you have some use for my content that is not covered here, please contact me. If you would like me to do a guest post on your blog, email me at ministrynutsandbolts@gmail.com

Copyright does not apply to the titles of books, but transparency means I should own that the title of the blog is taken from the excellent ‘Ministry Nuts and Bolts: What They Don’t Teach Pastors in Seminary ‘ by Aubrey Malphurs (Kregel: 2nd edn. 2009)

© 2018 Chris Green

%d bloggers like this: