Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Working without a net

Most of the time when I'm working at my desk I have Pandora playing on my computer. I do have a Southern Gospel channel on my station list as well as the Blind Boys of Alabama, but most of the channels are secular. Several of them are Blues channels, a couple of them are older Country channels, and there is one Classic Rock and Roll.

Yesterday I was playing the Country Outlaw channel when I heard an old song by Waylon Jennings, "Working Without a Net." One line in the song says, "Some want you to fly, some want to see you fall." I thought how that also describes the way some people feel about their pastors.

Most people want to see their pastors succeed because if the pastor succeeds so does the church. However, in some churches there are a few who want to see you fall. I've never understood that mindset, but I assume if the pastor fails it somehow justifies their own short-comings. If the individual holds some position of power, perhaps the pastor's failures helps to strengthen their hold on that position. Again, I really don't understand why some would enjoy watching the pastor fall, but I've met some who seemed to take a measure of pleasure when their pastor proved to be human.

Since these people do exist in some churches, what should the pastor do? First, a pastor cannot operate out of a fear of failure. We are human, and if we attempt to do great things for the Kingdom of God there will be times when we fail. Some of our great ideas will prove to not be so great after all. Our failures do not define us unless we let them.

Second, remember that the vast majority want to see you succeed. As they trust your heart they are willing to forgive those times when your plans didn't work out as you thought. When such times occur be willing to admit them to the congregation, and you'll find most folks will surround you with love and understanding.

Third, accept the fact that we do work without a net. At least, we do not have a physical net. But, always remember that Is. 41:10 reminds us, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; will uphold you with my righteous right hand." We do have a safety net available. God has promised to uphold us in His righteous hand. There is no greater security than that.

Finally, there's little we can do about those who would like to see us fail. Love them, pastor them, and ignore them. Except in very unusual circumstances they will never support you or anything you want to do. Worrying about what they think will limit your effectiveness as a pastor. Keep your focus on those who want to see the church move forward and on the vision you believe God has given you. If you do this and fail, you'll have the most secure safety net you'll find anywhere.

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