Ep. 306 The Pain-Points of Pastoring in a Hostile, Chaotic Culture

Ep. 306 The Pain-Points of Pastoring in a Hostile, Chaotic Culture

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Shows Main Idea – The history of the church in America has not had anything like what is happening from the culture and politics. The Equality Act, for example, is one of those direct hits. It is not about equality but about censoring and criminalizing the church. I have been asking the Lord to help our pastors think well about responding to these things as they lead their folks. Pastors are the first line of attack on the church.

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Life Over Coffee · Ep. 306 The Pain-Points of Pastoring In a Hostile Chaotic Culture

Show Notes

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The Call to All

My prayer is that the church will speak out more than we are currently. I’m not just talking about leaders but all of us. No more self-censoring. We need to become busier in more redemptive measures for spreading the fame of Christ by providing a better answer to the depravity of humanity that confronts and speaks into their utopian impossibilities.

I have been proactively praying, thinking, talking, and implementing what I believe to be the right ideas and strategies for this ministry, knowing that when they turn their attention to us, we could be “out of business” in a moment or face legal challenges because of what we teach, i.e., conversion therapy—as they call it, etc. I have been meditating this week on the famous quote from Polycarp just before they burned him to death.

Eighty and six years have I served Christ, nor has He ever done me any harm. How, then, could I blaspheme my King who saved Me? I bless Thee for deigning me worthy of this day and this hour that I may be among Thy martyrs and drink the cup of my Lord Jesus Christ.

A Pastor’s Pressure

The pressure on our pastors is multifaceted; it’s protecting the flock, keeping their jobs, and trying not to go to jail, to mention three things. If these complexities confronted any of us, how would we respond? It would be different for each one of us for sure.

The pressure and perplexity that pastors face and foresee are staggering. Nobody could have predicted the severity of our culture’s desire to dominate us. It’s a full-frontal, unapologetic assault on our liberties, and each person will process how to react to what the government is doing to them differently.

There is a lot of noise from Christians about wearing masks or not wearing them or how we “do church.” I’m not minimizing these things at all. I’ve done several podcasts, written articles, and produced videos on these subjects. The culture, in typical fashion, is more proactive, while Christians are more reactive.

Pastoral Pain Points

A pastor wears many hats. The most vital are the hats of husband and father. He, like us, has a family that he loves and wants to care for in the best possible ways. He also has the church that he loves with all his soul. The combination of these things can create 24/7 pressure. The typical believer can leave his job at the end of the day and not carry it home with him. Not so with a pastor.

There is no sphere of his life where he’s not carrying the weight of those he loves, whether it’s family or the local church. The weight is enormous, but you get used to it. Then the culture begins bearing down on you with pressure tactics and political maneuvers, which are all designed to harass you. Their ultimate goal is to shut you down.

Typically, when these pressures arise, the sheep become agitated and frightened. The shepherd is weighing and balancing family, friends, and flock. Some of them can do this well. Others struggle. No two pastors are the same. One of the things that help me is to put myself in their shoes.

  • How would I respond if someone was trying to shut down my livelihood?
  • How would I respond if outside forces were attacking my friends?
  • What decisions would I make in light of such persecution?
  • Who is helping me process through this, and who is hindering the progress we could make if there were unity?

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What Can You Do?

Every Christian should be praying daily for the leadership of their churches. We must carry them in our hearts. If we’re not carrying them in our hearts, whatever disagreements we have with them will complicate their lives unnecessarily.

You don’t have to agree with all your pastor’s decisions. I’m not suggesting blind authoritarianism or lock-step adhesiveness that minimizes the excellent work of the Spirit in your life. But if the person with whom you disagree is not first and foremost in your heart, whatever your differences are, they will divide you, not unify.

The Christian’s goal is not to create even a hairline crack in the local body. Regardless of where you land on secondary issues, you cannot contribute to any division in the body. There is a proper way to disagree and discuss. —Rick Thomas

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