Thursday, March 12, 2009

THOSE PESKY MINISTRY STINGS

Every leader hits those moments where he or she feels pressed, weary, and at times manipulated. I ran into it Monday. First, I am mentally stretched. I need you to know that. I have a few plates spinning, just as you do. So, you know the feeling of don't look at me wrong, I may break.

Monday a lady called. She is a member at Memorial but not one person, not one elder, not one staff member other than me knows this woman. She does not engage in the church family and hasn't over the last twenty years. She called expressing her husband (whom I have never seen) is having heart failure and needs to see me in the hospital now.

I told her he is a most valuable man, but I couldn't do it. Knowing the importance of this man and the situation I told her I had four other very capable men on staff and I would send one immediately. She curtly replied, No. He wants to see you. I explained I just couldn't get there; yet I understood the urgency and would send someone now. She said, Tomorrow will be all right and I reluctantly, guiltily agreed.

After hanging up I realized tomorrow is just like today....still packed. I called back and left a message on her cell phone saying, Friend, I tried to say it earlier, I just can't get there. But your man is very important. I will send one of the other men to see him. She called my secretary and said, Tell Terry we will find a minister who cares.

Such digs sting....deeply. You go through it. I encourage you about something I saw Jesus do. No flesh and blood told me. I saw Jesus do it. I saw him once heal every kind of disease in a local community. It reached a point where he was spent by the Father and he began to retreat to escape the crowds. They were still pressing in on him. He turned his back, got into a boat, and rowed away. He couldn't do it---for the moment---anymore. He walked away from continued and important healing opportunities for he was flesh and blood fatigued.

My job here is to keep smiling, keep loving, keep caring, and maintain the permission that I know when my spirit is running on empty and I must not try to minister to every person regardless of their demands and insults. Don't let guilt be your motive for ministry. Trust God that while you can't be everywhere, He knows those who can.

Keep in mind you are a vital part of His body....but you are not the whole body. God has other (many other) capable men and women to assist in important service. Neither are you the savior of the community. You are one who is connected to The Savior.

Romans 9:16...(it is not up to man to organize but up to God in His mercy).....once again....keeps me wildly enthused about ministry after all of these years. Being a minister is like being on vacation all the time. However, it takes discipline to maintain the joy level decade after decade. Refuse to let those who are selfish or simply don't understand take over the helm of your ship. The waves sometimes stack high. It gets tough....but is always manageable because of Jesus who runs the show and not us who wish we could please all the people.


9 comments:

Stoogelover said...

Been there! The minister who tries to keep everybody happy is setting himself / herself up for a nasty fall. Jesus couldn't keep his chosen 12 happy, so how do we expect to keep an entire church and the surrounding community happy? We know this intellectually, but you are right ... those comments cut to the heart.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rush, thanks so much for your honesty and encouragement. It's easy to feel guilty at times when having to say "no", so it's refreshing to know we're not alone in the struggle.

And yet, the bigger challenge is withine oneself at times, WANTING to say "yes" and being involved everywhere....and then realizing it's really impossible. How disappointing sometimes.

"Amen" to Stoogelover's comment too. What stamina and courage one needs to stay the course to God's leading when many "unhappy" ones readily detract from the work. And yet, God leads one closer to Himself in those very times.

Thanks again.

Big Mike Lewis said...

It's tough to hear. But this is a great reminder that I need to keep going, even happy, when I get criticized.

westcoastwitness.com said...

Thanks for sharing this. It's what I needed to hear.

phil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phil said...

You do not know how relevant this post was for me this week… Thank you for sharing your heart sir.

Pttyann said...

What a good post and you are so right we are not supposed to try and run and fix everything and everybody!! The sooner others realize this truth the better,I thank God for helping me through all the guilt trips others try to throw on me oh the peace I enjoy in knowing it's okay to just say no.Thanks for your post Brother Rush!
Numbers 6:24~26

Anonymous said...

Comments like that sure sting...isn't it interesting that people that are not connected...make the strongest demands.... maybe that is why they don't connect well with others.

Interesting that the issue of not being caring... when the person themselves doesn't show you grace and mercy.

Move forward with confidence, and love.

You are far from alone in this type of accusation.

dbb said...

We've been there. Continual situations like that cause many good men to leave the ministry...and it's sad. (I don't have a google acct...and I'm not sure how my name would appear with open ID...I'm still fairly new to computers!)