In church planting we again and again get under the illusion people close, and a part of the church should have it together. Rather than embrace who they are, flaws and all. We get taken by surprise when something happens. We have this idea of what church should look like, and when people don't meet that standard, we write them off. I wish I could say it was easy to embrace peoples' crazy, but it isn't. We repeatedly give up on people.
I can remember a season in church planting, a particular couple was very needy, they took more from us than we had. You know those people who can be more draining to you, than they are uplifting. Well these were them. They were super dear to us, we loved them, and called them friends. But seasons had come that really weathered who they were, and friendship turned into more of a duty and chore. I wish I could say we embraced the new task set ahead of us. But we didn't. Instead of loving them through their storms, we loved them as long as we could then abandoned ship. Ahh, someone else can pour into them. After all, we have an entire church to love on.
I know, I KNOW...we are the epitome of perfect pastors/church planters. NOT. We are great at loving people to a certain degree. But the moment it becomes too much work for us, it isn't worth it. People and their crazy can get overwhelming. Especially when you are a pastor, and have a lot of weight and responsibility already on your shoulders leading a church. Listening to peoples' relationship problems, how they don't like the coffee at church, and listening to them talk and talk about how terrible things are, just isn't very appetizing.
But I am here to remind you and me, we aren't called to love the easy. Only if we were, church would be a little more of a cake walk. But who is easy anyways? We are all difficult, crazy, flawed, messed up human beings. At some point or another, there will be a season you are the one who is draining to someone. I am sure my husband (pastor) and I, actually I know for a fact there has been a couple seasons we have been the draining ones to some friends of ours. However, Christ calls us to love people. He knew we were crazy, which is probably why He reminded us time and time again to love people.
Matthew 22: 37-39 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I can't say loving people is easy. It isn't. There have been many people we haven't loved well at the church, that have left. When those people leave, that chapter doesn't close. To this day, I miss the crazy ones. I miss the ones we didn't love well, and wish they were still a part. Isn't that funny? The people we loved well, that moved on, I don't think much about. But the ones we didn't shepherd well, are those that I wish were still a part.
We have to get better at this as leaders of the church. Don't let the enemy sneak expectations in your heart to put on people. People are going to mess up. We ourselves will mess up. But we must love people well through the easy seasons and the tough ones too. People need us to show them the love of Christ. He never gave up on us on the way to the cross, and neither should we give up on them. After all, we have the greatest jobs in the world, we should at least get as pastors the number one joy (responsibility) is to love the church!
Stop waiting for the normal/perfect people…there is no such thing.
xo a girl who sleeps with the pastor