I was that person.
You know, the person who sits in the congregation and judges pastors.
When a new preacher comes or I go to a new church, I think,
“okay let’s see what this person is going to teach me.”
And when someone asks me how service was, I answer, “it was okay.”
“what do you mean okay?”
“you know, the sermon was okay. It seemed a bit all over the place,
transitions were not that solid, didn’t really feel like it connected with me.
I’m not going to go to that church. The pastor was alright.”
Then I became a pastor. I was now the one standing in front of everyone.
It was that feeling…when sports fans watch a game and criticize
how this player should have done this and that.
How the coach should have made a certain call.
But it’s one thing to watch the game but another to actually play on the field.
I know that feeling… praying and wrestling on a passage with God the entire week.
I know that feeling as Sunday draws near, you feel more and more less qualified
and not sure if this sermon is good enough.
I know that feeling right before you are about to preach or do an event,
you pray to God because at this point, there is nothing more you can do.
You did all that you could.
I know that feeling when you hear the whispers and judgment even after all that work and prayer.
I know that feeling.
Pastors are not perfect.
Some are great communicators but not relational.
Some are extremely relational but not structured and all over the place.
Some seem like they got a little bit of everything but something is still missing.
Some seem… like there are no words.
I have been in church long enough, been in ministry for some time,
to have seen the shortcomings of my pastors in different seasons.
I’ve disagreed, doubted, and judged my pastors around me.
But I have also seen my pastors in their alone place.
I saw our leader praying alone, seeking God before he gave his sermon.
Seeking His wisdom and Spirit with the weight of an entire ministry on his shoulder.
I saw our college pastor persevere and serve his students wholeheartedly
even when you can tell he is dead tired.
I saw our youth pastors be the life of their ministry… laughing and smiling…
even when I know deep in their hearts, they are desperately clinging on to hope.
I saw our children pastors give their 110%
even when they question, “is anything I am doing or saying getting through.”
Someone asked me once, “what makes a good pastor?”
My answer is someone who genuinely fears the Lord.
Humbled enough to submit before God and understand that they are not qualified but called.
Someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit and seeks the face of God daily.
Sure, does your pastor’s sermons suck? Maybe
Are they even seeking God or being led by Him? Could be questioned
Are they not qualified for that position of leadership? Possibly
But I wonder… did God put someone like him, like her, in that position to teach you humility?
To teach you to love your enemies.
To teach you to have the audacity to honor the leadership placed before you.
That the pastor was never meant to replace the original teacher and be the source of your growth
but instead, be the vessel that simply points you back to God.
Maybe not for you, but for me, yes to all the above. Every time.
If your leadership is below par, then God will take care of it.
Trust me, he was aware when he brought them into that position.
He was aware of what kind of person they were, what kind of leader they would turn out to be.
He knew Saul would disobey,
David would commit adultery&murder,
Moses stuttered, and that Gideon was a coward.
You know, maybe it is never really about the vessel but the God who can do all things.
The One who uses the least qualified, the lesser of these, to show the world that He is God.
When I see a pastor’s achievements and glory, I am reminded of the divine power and presence of God.
When I see a pastor’s shortcomings and failures, I am reminded of the grace and love of God.
So next time you see your pastor, may your heart be filled with compassion.
And maybe, it will lead you to say a kind word of encouragement.
Because it helps a lot 🙂