Too familiar

I already wrote about this in my private journal, so some of my emotions have already been released. Our pastor–I only use this term for convenience, because he is still in seminary and is not ordained–told my brother and me that he wanted to talk to us. I had my hopes up because I thought that he was taking initiative and was going to talk to us about the ministry and where we were headed. We’ve been so bad in meeting together as a core group, discussing the health of the ministry, our short-term and long-term goals, praying for one another, and just getting closer. Part of it is understandable; he and his wife drive all the way from Escondido every Sunday. One part though that bothered me was most Sundays they would always leave shortly after service because of some errands they had to do. Even if they did have stuff to do, it sucked that they couldn’t stay longer just to hang out. I remember when I was little, all of us at church used to play basketball, go out to eat, or just chill.

So, I thought we would finally have a meeting where we could get away from the narrow-focused tendencies we had started to succumb to. Instead, he told us how he was struggling with whether or not he was actually called to the ministry–called to be a pastor. He didn’t want to lead us if it wasn’t his calling. He said he would step down from his position at the end of May. He repeated several times about how he wouldn’t just leave us out to dry but was looking for someone to replace him and that he would be around, always available by phone or email if we wanted to talk. I felt a tinge of guilt as he said that because I don’t really talk to him during the week. Occasionally an email but for some reason I just don’t confide in him as I would in a close friendship. I know he was genuine and caring in saying he didn’t want to see us without any help.

It hurt, but only because I’ve been through this before. A seminary student takes over, has good intentions of building up the ministry, but finds himself overwhelmed by the responsibility of taking care of these kids, which involves much more than just preparing a sermon every week. The pastor before stayed only 5 months. The pastor before that, maybe a year. The pastor before that, just a few weeks (that was a very strange time). It’s discouraging and so sad. Big churches get bigger and small churches get smaller. Parents in the KM don’t bring their children because their kids would rather go to the churches where all their friends are and where it’s fun. Our church has been in Buena Park since July 2003. The 5th anniversary is fast approaching, and you know what’s kind of sad? Of all the people that were in our church in 2003, only my family and one other person (an elderly woman) have been here since 2003. I mentioned this to my dad and it doesn’t affect him too much because the KM is growing and is stable. But when I think of the EM and how it’s only gotten smaller and smaller in the last 5 years, I start to feel very depressed.

I’m doubly cast down because I think about all the ways I could have done more and tried harder. I am so thankful that God, through the trials, has helped me to depend on Him and grow more mature. The smallest sign encourages me and humbles me. But why for my sake, Lord, is it Your will that the church should remain so pitiful? The gospel should go forth and produce a harvest of righteousness in our community, not remain ignored among the veiled eyes of jaded churchgoers. I feel so helpless and feeble.

One response to this post.

  1. don’t feel guilty
    it’s nothing that you are doing wrong

    God will move regardless of the number of people in your ministry. Of course, the size and growth of a congregation is also a tell-tale sign of God growing in your ministry, but perhaps God wants the proper pegs in place to build a stable foundation upon before He unloads immense blessings and people – stay strong Sam

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