First, I do not miss the pressure to produce. For some reason, leading a local church has become a high pressure job. People hear about mega churches, the successful church in another community, or the high profile pastor on television and they start comparing their church to these. This results in a high amount of pressure on the pastor of the local church. I realize some of this pressure may be self-imposed by the conscientious pastor. Regardless of the source, it is not a welcome visitor.
In one church I served (which was a healthy church) we lived under the shadow of a thriving church. Our people were constantly making comments about the church down the street. Some people would go so far as to say, “Why isn’t our church growing” like so-and-so church. That is not healthy for those people, the pastor, or the kingdom of God.
Second, I do not miss the pressure of maintaining an institution. I realize we live in a fallen world and you cannot avoid the pressure of paying bills, conducting business, and working through the politics of people’s opinions. These things are a realistic part of church work. Jesus never intended the church to be an institution but a living organism. However, the fact remains we must maneuver around and through the difficulties of maintaining a human institution. Before we get judgmental of the church we need to look in the mirror. There is a human behind the image in the mirror. LOL!
Third, I do not miss the relentless approach of Sunday. A pastor wakes up every Monday morning knowing that he must prepare a fresh, creative sermon for the following Sunday. In addition, the pastor knows that he is responsible for the spiritual welfare of a group of people. This load is always on a pastor’s shoulders.
Fourth, I do not miss the presence of unspiritual people. Let me confess up front, I know none of us are perfect. However, there is a fundamental difference in a person who seeks spiritual growth and the person who does not have a clue. There is a group of people within every church that appear to have no clue about spiritual things. These people make it hard on other church members, the pastor, and the expansion of the kingdom of God.
These four unwelcome guests should drive us to our knees. We live in a fallen world. We are seeking to lead an institution that is tainted by our humanity. As we seek to lead the church we must daily present it to the one who died for it. His desire is to create a Holy place where His people can serve Him together.