I am woman of deep convictions. Most people who know me – really know me – know that. I’m passionate and artistic. I love God with my entire soul. I choose to love people the same way. Those who don’t know my heart – think I’m eccentric. I think that’s probably PC for “weird.” I’m passionate in my faith, in my opinions, and in my love. I love deeply and openly – I dance with those who dance, laugh with those who laugh, hurt with those who hurt and I pray for those called to lead us. If that makes me weird, I’m totally okay with that today. If you aren’t okay with that, that’s okay too.
I worked in a church for three years (I no longer do). I know the pressures and burdens carried by church staff and by pastors. I’ve seen them in action. I’ve seen them in prayer. I’ve seen them love with everything they have. I’ve seen them cry. I’ve seen them fail. And I’ve seen them reach out for the Grace and forgiveness of God and try again. I was just the receptionist, and yet I saw so much that my heart shattered. Truthfully, I don’t know that I would change a thing. If I have to choose between loving deeply and grieving, verses never loving at all – I’ll choose love.
I used to prayer walk the church on my lunch hours and my breaks. I remember the day I got “caught” in pastor John’s office – I had laid hands on his chair (he wasn’t there) and was deep in prayer for him when someone walked in and offered a very shocked “WHAT are you doing?”
“Praying for your pastor.” I replied. “You should try it sometime.”
Okay, so add “tacky” to my self descriptive adjectives.
It was also my job to print the bulletins and place them throughout the sanctuary. The pastors wanted copies on the Altar and on the pulpit for reference. If they thought my praying over their chairs was shocking, I can only imagine how they would have reacted to my being in the pulpit and at the altar in prayer every Friday.
There were, and are still, people who mistake my love for something dirty and degrading instead of in the purity it is intended – to them I have learned to say “So what. Get over it.” I learned while working that church, that I serve to an audiance of One – I serve God and God alone. God calls us to be passionate. God calls us to be alive in Christ. Passion for His Word and His people is a gift of the Holy Spirit. We live because He lives.
The world needs people who are alive. The world needs prayer. Praying over that congregation or their pastors was not part of my job description – it was and is part of who I am. I love doing that.
I have a guest blogger today. Len Carter is our music director at my church. This is his article from April’s Footsteps. Len’s words are as needed and relevant today as ever.
Pray for Your Pastor
I was reminded the other day while reading from “Partners in Prayer” by John Maxwell how important it is to lift up our Pastor regularly in prayer. As a staff member and Church Liaison, I get to work hand in hand with Pastor Dreier on a regular basis and see first hand the pressures and struggles he gets to deal with not only personal but for the church, it’s members, and many in our community who seek his counsel.
Pastor Dreier often says of himself, “I’m not perfect even though you might think so.” (That’s his running joke) With that in mind I would like to relate a funny piece called “The Perfect Pastor.” It relates many of the expectations that every pastor feels from his people.
After hundreds of years the perfect pastor’s been found. He is the church elder who’ll please everyone.
He preaches exactly twenty minutes and then sits down. He condemns sin, but never steps on anybody’s toes.
He works from eight in the morning to ten at night, doing everything from preaching sermons to sweeping.
He makes $400 per week, gives $100 a week to the church, drives a late-model car, buys lots of books, wears fine clothes, and has a nice family.
He always stands ready to contribute to every good cause, too, and to help panhandlers who drop by the church on their way to somewhere.
He is thirty-six years old, and has been preaching for forty years.
He is tall, on the short side; heavyset, in a thin sort of way; and handsome.
He has eyes of blue or brown (to fit the occasion),
and wears his hair parted in the middle – left side dark and straight, right side brown and wavy.
He has a burning desire to work with the youth, and spends all his time with the senior citizens.
He smiles all the time while keeping a straight face, because he has a keen sense of humor that finds him seriously dedicated.
He makes fifteen calls a day on church members, spends all his time evangelizing nonmembers, and is always found in his study if he is needed.
Unfortunately he burnt himself out and died at the age of thirty-two.
Pastor Dreier and all church leaders are highly susceptible to stress. All their work has eternal consequences, and that can be a heavy burden. They are also highly visible. They and their families live in a fishbowl, subject to comments and criticisms from everyone who sees them. Where can Pastor Dreier find help to combat all of these difficulties? The answer is prayer. It has the power to overcome any problem or obstacle. Jesus demonstrated this time after time. His prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane just before His death especially emphasized the power of prayer.
He said, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will done for you by my Father in heaven. (Matt. 18:19)
I urge you to agree with me to pray for Pastor Dreier as the spiritual leader of The Lutheran Church of Our Savior.
In His Service, Len
Thank you Len – for that wonderful reminder.
Love the leaders God has called to lead you. Show your love by praying for them.