Monday, October 13, 2008

How much of this is pride?

We had a good day Sunday. Attendance was pretty good. A great bonfire in the evening; a lot of new people, and many good conversations and friendships developed. And so, yes I was tired after it all, but Monday was good.

A week or so ago, when attendance was weak, Monday was bad. The sermon had been good, several people spoke well of it. Yet, many regulars were gone, and the numbers were down. I wore discouragement all week.

Someone commented on the "A Real Important Question" blog a week or so ago. He said as a pastor, he feels he is "constantly on trial." I can't help but wonder, what if people skipped church because they are bored with my teaching? Leadership? Vision?

How many of our difficulties are based on pride? One of the best friends I ever had once told me: "Remember, this is a marathon, not a fifty yard dash." I've taken a great deal of comfort from that.

But I must admit, whether the race is fifty yards or twenty-six miles, I really prefer my people seeing me way out in the lead. Is "middle of the pack" not good enough for a pastor's ego?

3 comments:

Ron said...

Wow David. Your second paragraph was exactly how I felt this Monday. Good service, great drama presentation, many comments on sermon afterward (more than normal). But attendance was low and many regulars were gone. I looked at stats, and they are behind last year for this month. Ouch!! Then I realized next week is Fall Break weekend and many will be gone again. Monday got bad! Is it me???

Duane said...

Didn't Trent argue that 12 is really the best sized group to lead? I know a real character coined that phrase already...but what does the size of the crowd indicate? On our centennial celebration day, we had a huge crowd...but we threw so much stuff at them (membership, communion, heritage awards) that it was just a big crowd day. We continue to have lesser and lesser people come on Sunday night. However, when the discussion is strong and there is passion in the air because the subject matter raised awareness...It pumps me up. What is in the back of our minds when we think about the size of the crowd? Is it comparing to other venues?

I drove for HQ while I was at NTS. I picked people up at the airport and transported them to the Headquarters, a hotel, or to their homes. One time, I drove for NTS. While driving, normally people engage in conversation with me as I drove them. I picked up 3 pastors from large Nazarene churches. Do you know what they talked about? Nickels and noses. The entire trip from KCI to NTS was about how many they had in worship and how much money they raised...Made me want to run out of the van and pastor a church.

My point is this...We are called to preach and shepherd. The amount shouldn't be part of the litmus test as to how Sunday was or will be. I am not so sure Jesus' Monday after the 5000 mouths were fed was the same as his Monday after the Gerasene Demoniac, or any other setting where there were fewer than the 5000 crowd.

Still...it is natural to feel better about something that was well attended vs. the opposite. What if (and I am looking into the mirror) we preached/taught to the one out there who we knew would gain the most benefit from what we were delivering; instead of wondering where Nancy and Ned Nazarene are worshiping or not today.

How's this for churchified language: we preach to/teach/lead an audience of one.

I think we have to get to a point where we say, "As long as..." as long as this happens, or as long as I am obedient on Sunday morning; or as long as I listen t the voice of the spirit; or as long as....whatever the "As long as" is...that should be the answer/the thing/the feeling(?) that dictates how Monday will be.

Too much musing on a Sun afternoon...

Zee said...

ehh, wrote a big comment and accidentally closed the wrong window...

Duane: totally agree!

it's good to feel appreciated, but then sometimes you just know you did something good and there's that feeling inside that you did something right, even when no one comments.

hehe, sorta reminds me of writing a blog and receiving no comments on the post that i thought was so wonderful...