What Would You Say?

Saw this tweet from a church pastor that I know personally.  This makes me sad on so many levels, but I will refrain from offering commentary on it. Just am curious what thoughts any of you have in response to this.  What would you say in reply? (And unlike Twitter, you don’t have to limit your reply to 140 characters if you don’t want to.)

Been Preaching for 51 years. Only 2 times felt totally satisfied. Something lacking. Spend much time thinking about it. Begins early Monday.

Until next time,
steve :)

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29 Responses to What Would You Say?

  1. mike says:

    In response, I’d have to ask what the two times involved and what he/she thought was lacking in all the others.

    I’d be really curious to hear the thoughts of someone who spent that much time behind the podium, especially if they were being completely honest.

  2. Mike, yeah, I wondered what it was about those two times, too. I have no idea what those two times involved for him.

    I haven’t ignored your latest comment on my last post. I’m actually planning a post in response to what you said about Paul replacing Jesus in people’s minds/theology — a thought I have often had myself.

  3. Tony says:

    It seems to me there is something going on at a much deeper level. Why would he wait fifty-one years to address something that has been part of his life at least that long? Also would like to know his rationale for “only two times.”

  4. ded says:

    Watching my own heart as I age, I wonder if he is not going through that questioning we have of ourselves, particularly as males (I am assuming this one is male, since 51 years ago women did not get a pulpit), “Did my life really matter?”

    I also suspect that he questions his effectiveness, when he might ought question the system that expected him to perform in the pulpit.

  5. Alan Knox says:

    wow… where to start? :)

    Seriously, I would simply suggest that the problem may be that preaching is not what its hyped up to be.

    -Alan

  6. mike says:

    @ ded,
    I actually typed out something along those lines but erased it.

    @ Steve,
    No problems, take your time.

    @ Alan,
    It could be that too many roles are expected to be filled by the preacher.

  7. Alan Knox says:

    mike,

    I would say that (in most churches) that is certainly the case.

    -Alan

  8. Scott says:

    I suspect that those times he was totally satisfied his expectations may have been too low. I mean “totally” satisfied? I can’t think of one time where that’s been the case for me in any serious endeavor. So maybe I also question what satisfied means for him.

  9. Tony, I’ve actually heard him make similar comments out of frustration before, so I’m not sure he’s waited this long to address it. I’m not sure what triggered this particular tweet, but this type of comment is actually not that out of the ordinary for this particular guy.

    One time, I heard him say from the pulpit that he was angry with God because “the higher I set the bar, the lower God jumps.” I still shudder when I recall hearing that.

    ded, no secret that I would agree with your last sentence. I have more thoughts about that, but am waiting to give others a chance to respond even more before I give my more thorough thoughts.

    Alan, I think your comment about preaching not being all it’s hyped up to be is very similar to ded’s closing statement. So, again, I agree.

    Mike and Alan, yes too many expectations are put on preachers.

    Scott, you certainly gave a different spin on this. I hadn’t thought of it from that angle before. I’ll have to mull that over some more. I don’t immediately agree with your comment, but I also don’t immediately disagree. :) At any rate, I would agree with the difficulty in knowing what “satisfied” means in his mind. Without knowing what made those two times different, it’s hard to say.

  10. Alan Knox says:

    I’ll go a little further… the current methods and models (yes, plural) of “preaching” are harming the church and helping believers remain immature.

    -Alan

  11. sidfaiwu says:

    I know what’s lacking! ;)

  12. I’d want to ask him what his motivation is.

    If I were a gambling man and I’m not then I’d say the two times he felt satisfied were when his motivation was right … just my 2p worth.

  13. Kansas Bob says:

    Pretty hard to respond without knowing the guy. On face value alone I would have to say that he has wasted a large part of his life.. probably should have been a programmer.. those guys mostly like what they do :)

  14. Sid, yeah, yeah, yeah :-P hehe

    Stuart, thanks for adding your thoughts. I’m not sure if I’ve seen you comment here before, so welcome! I don’t post here much anymore, but you’re welcome to jump in any time I do.

    KB, LOL!! Yes, we programmers do seem to like what they do…when the code actually WORKS! ;)

  15. ded says:

    So doesn’t God’s “code” work? I mean what God has programmed/ordained is a full life in Him, no?

    If a man follows God and finds that godliness with contentment is great gain, what is unsatisfying about that?

    An unsatisfied Christian? Why? Everything about the in-dwelling Christ is satisfying. He is the all in all. I understand and allow that while one works out his/her salvation with fear and trembling, while one works out the dilemma of understanding being a person of flesh and of new creation in the spirit, there may be some rough times, even the dark night of the soul; but after fifty-one years to not understand a reveals something is wrong with the input data, not the program.

    A man is not experiencing life in the spirit, though something in his soul knows something is wrong with that picture, he pursues the unsatisfactory course for his whole life. Many reasons for that, but none of them are God’s will for him.

    He missed it and can’t figure out why.

  16. David says:

    It has been a long time since I posted here. When I saw this it struck a cord with me. As many have addressed, there is a lot background missing to determine specifics, but having been in full time ministry for 15 years I felt very similar to his tweet.
    I wasn’t until I walked away from “the traditional church ministry” that I realized what it was.
    The “church”, “the ministry” and my involvement had taken the forefront of my relationship with God. the position Jesus was supposed to take. I could not see it in the midst of it, but only when I removed myself from that setting did I realize what was missing.

    Anyway, that was my experience with a similar feeling. So glad I made the difficult choice after only 15 years.

  17. Phil Hawkins says:

    Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, I had a Christian Education prof who continually reminded us, “What’s the worst method of teaching? The one that’s used all the time!” He passed away a few months ago at the age of 85, but I think he would be interested to see the changes brewing in the church today (I last saw him about 30 years ago). The traditional church has put a lot of reliance on preaching, and I’m afraid the results have not lived up to the hype.

  18. Jereme says:

    yes…sad…

    and from someone who knows the person in question…Stuart nailed it when he said:

    “… I’d say the two times he felt satisfied were when his motivation was right …”

  19. Brandon says:

    Late response but here goes-

    ded-
    I don’t think the problem for this pastor is so much whether or not Jesus and the abundant life are sufficient for him as a Christ follower. I think Alan touched on this when he said that preaching is, in reality, often not what it is hyped up to be. Perhaps this man is exactly where he is supposed to be but he’s expecting the role of pastor to be something that God never intended it to be…

    I know that’s been the case in my past.

    Jereme-
    without divulging any personal information, I’d love to hear more about why this man’s motives are in question. I know that at one point I was on staff in a local church and my motives were not what they should have been…if they had been pure I’d have never started that whole season to begin with.

  20. ded says:

    Brandon, you have made a fair assertion. I extended the problem to the depth of the man’s very walk with God and suggested his dissatisfaction stemmed from there. I agree with you that he was expecting the role to be something that God never intended. It clearly may be as simple as that.

    Yet, that begs the question, Why does any Christian walk with God for fifty-one years and not find God’s intent for the effort, if the walk is based on the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit? Was this faithful man missing more than God’s intent for the gifting? I would never suggest that God was not pleased with his service within the construct that was fully God’s will for the pastor in question. Such judgment is God’s alone.

    I only ponder why any Christian is left feeling unfulfilled in a life’s work of service.

  21. Brandon says:

    ded-
    That’s a good question…I’m amazed that anyone could stick with something that long without sensing satisfaction or spiritual fulfillment in doing what they’re doing. I know that personally, when I teach from the Bible, it’s extremely satisfying.

    I wonder if perhaps his discontentment might have something to do with his misunderstanding of what God has called him to do…maybe the vocational part is an issue…maybe he has been doing the best job that HE can do but not following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

    Just to clarify, i didn’t take your comments as questioning whether God was pleased with the man or not…I agree, that’s God’s call alone.

  22. ded says:

    Were he in the discussion, he may very well say, he was deeply satisfied with his life of service, it was the pulpit ministry that missed the mark for him. There is, after all, much more to functioning in the pastoral gift than teaching/preaching from the Bible.

    Therein may lie the problem. There is a cultural expectation that pulpit ministry is the primary means of encouraging believers and supporting their maturation in the faith. I think this is a false premise.

  23. Brandon says:

    I would have to agree with that…this is probably a major underlying factor is why many Christians find their lives in Christ to be anything but deeply satisfying.

  24. JanB says:

    Strangely enough, this reminds me of my sex life. No, I am not kidding, it’s a parallel that a lot of women would draw.

    Not in a twisted way, but in that both of us are lying and not being honest enough to trust the other person (people, in his case) with the truth that something is really, desperately wrong.

    I think that a lie is hardest when you’ve kept it up for years and years. After a while it’s hard to break the lie with the truth. Maybe you even convince yourself that you’re not lying.

  25. WAYYYYYYYYYYY too many times, the assumption is that someone who is really being drawn to God, really being drawn to the Scriptures, and really being drawn to living a solid Christian life, MUST be CALLED TO PREACH.

    I say baloney, because EVERY Christian should be called to those things, and we are NOT all called to preach.

    The church has elevated a lot of people into full-time ministry and into “preaching” that SHOULD have been serving Christ with all their heart in some other vocation entirely.

    It’s part of the BS that says “good Christians serve God full-time” or “if you’re a really good Christian, you’ll follow God’s will fully, which obviously and automatically means you’re either a pastor or missionary.”

    I say baloney.

    My suspicion is that this gentleman feels out of place with what he’s done.

  26. mike says:

    Steve,

    In continuing our thoughts about Paul, here is a thread I ran across when doing some research for a paper. An interesting dialogue to be sure.

    http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?t=38708

  27. Glenn says:

    I echo the words of Bernard [up two comments]

    WAYYYYYYYYYYY too many times, the assumption is that someone who is really being drawn to God, really being drawn to the Scriptures, and really being drawn to living a solid Christian life, MUST be CALLED TO PREACH.

    I don’t think that Christ calls anyone into today’s priesthood. This is a “presumer performer” thing:

    http://thebigpicmin.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/are-you-a-presumer-performer/

    Christ’s shepherds are servant leaders, washing the feel of the flock, plugging their sheep directly into the vine, into the participatory gathering. Please take a look again at 1 Cor 14′s gathering commands and
    “Those whom God Knows Not!!!”

    http://thebigpicmin.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/those-whom-god-knows-not/

  28. Steve says:

    I have had a couple of Mondays that felt like that.

  29. Rhonnie says:

    Cant really say anything about this since there are so many ambiguities.

    Either way, lets just support him both in prayer and positive inputs =)

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