Recently our church held a service to celebrate what God had done over the past year. It was a great time of celebration, with a twist. On...
Recently our church held a service to celebrate what God had done over the past year. It was a great time of celebration, with a twist. On that day I brought a message that included something I've never done before. I publicly repented.
Up to this point in my 30 years in full-time ministry, when I've heard that some pastor publicly repented it meant he'd confessed an affair or some egregious sin. My repentance, however, did not involve moral sin, but very subtle attitudes and behaviors that had sneaked into my leadership.
So, in keeping with the Apostle Paul's thoughts on repentance in 2 Cor. 7:10, where he writes that Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret....I felt God prompt me to share 10 "I repents" with the church that day. Here they are.
I repent that...
I’ve allowed myself to get too comfortable in my Christianity
By doing so I’ve encouraged you (the church) to stay comfortable in yours
I’ve subtly fostered a consumer mentality (striving to make each week bigger and better and hipper than the previous week so that people will want to consume our spiritual goods rather than go to the other hip churches in our area to consume theirs)
I’ve unintentionally prioritized bringing people to the church rather than sending the church to the people
I’ve allowed the people-pleaser monster to rear its ugly head (Prov. 29:25, the MESSAGE, The fear of human opinion disables…)
I’ve sought too often to minimize risk and maximize safety (J Oswald Chambers: The frontiers of the kingdom of God were never advanced by men and women of caution.)
I’ve allowed organization, process, and systems to trump heart, passion, and people too much
I’ve allowed the barrenness of busyness to slither into the church and into my life as well
(Bill Hybels: ”Doing the work of Christ is killing the work of Christ in me.” )
I’ve not given discipleship the attention it needs
I’ve created too great a dependency upon the ‘professional’ clergy
This vulnerability took lots of guts for me to publicly admit these issues to our church. Their response to me was overwhelmingly positive!
I've served as a pastor for over 30 years in churches as small as 4 1/2 (my wife, two preschoolers, and one on the way) to churches...
I've served as a pastor for over 30 years in churches as small as 4 1/2 (my wife, two preschoolers, and one on the way) to churches that approached 2,000 attenders. The locations have included the far west, the mid-west, the south, and the southwest.
A sampling of responses to the question, "How well do you think the pastor did?" would include...
He was great. I'm sad he moved.
I'm glad he left.
His preaching really inspired me.
I just wasn't getting fed.
He really cared about people.
He was distant and unavailable.
He had great leadership skills.
He's no John Maxwell.
If you've served in ministry for any time, you've probably asked yourself this question, "How well am I really doing?" If you've not asked that exact question, I'm sure you've secretly asked yourself some pretty probing ones that made you feel guilty.
There are guilt-producing questions pastors secretly ask themselves. I've listed a few questions below that those in ministry probably ask. What do you think? What would you add to this list?
Why do I sometimes want to skip church on Sundays?
Am I spending enough time preparing my sermons?
Why do people really leave my church?
I love my wife deeply. But if I think another woman is attractive, am I crazy? Or worse, am I sinning?
Why do I feel like I don't measure up to the expectations of ... the board, my staff, my spouse or ...? Is it their problem or mine?
Am I spending enough time with my family?
Do I pray enough?
Does owning nice things like a nice house or a new car or enjoying things like a vacation diminish my example? Is it wrong to have or experience what others in my church have?
Why do I sometimes feel anger inside toward people?
These questions are not unnatural. We are after all, human. Don’t beat yourself up for having these thoughts. Try refocusing on God’s word and His promises to regain the right perspective. Talk your feelings over with a safe and trusted friend or counselor.
Pastor Newsletter Archieves
Click to read past articles --->
Praying for Peace And It Does Not Come--->
What Pastors Should Look For in a Safe Relationship--->
Turning a Little Criticism into Major Carnage--->
Why Smart Pastors Stumble--->
When You Don’t Know What To Do, Find Someone Who Does--->
A Biblical Mentoring Model--->
When Ministry Knocks You Down--->
Introverts in Ministry--->
Should Pastors Repent Publically?--->
Guilt Producing Questions Pastors Secretly Ask Themselves--->
Saving Your Family Without Killing Your Ministry--->
Eight Healthy Ways To Respond When People Leave Your Church--->
When You’re Challenged, How Do You Respond?--->
Making the Move from Conflict to Cooperation--->