I write this as a participant in Blog Action Day.
How many of you have had to turn people away who legitimately needed assistance? Often, people call our church needing assistance. Many times we can ascertain they are not truly in need of financial help. But occasionally they are. It is most difficult when someone stops by, you KNOW they need your help, and there is nothing in place with which to serve them.
Two winters ago, a young couple came to our church office needing assistance. They had been living in a tent in a nearby national forest with their three children. This was in the midst of an Indiana winter!
Now my congregation is broke! The haggard couple walked into our almost brand-new multimillion dollar building, their necks craned high to see the vaulted ceilings and lighting. And I had to tell them that we had no funds for them. I gave them some of my own, but not enough to make a dent.
Then, I took them to a less impressive part of the building, and told them the story of the innkeeper, and Joseph and Mary. Then I told them I felt like the innkeeper.
The good part of the story came later in the week when our congregation welcomed them into our youth room to live until they could get back on their feet. As you might guess, the end of the story had sad and joyful tones...
This blog site is a place to discuss pastoral burnout. Maybe being the greeter at a seemingly unfriendly weekday "inn" adds stress to the lives of other pastors.