I recently had the privilege of speaking at a ministry family retreat in the Atlantic District. It was light-hearted. Sometimes, laughter is the medicine the doctor orders. Here is one of the stories I found on the Web that speaks to some of the pressures of ministry.
How does a pastor know when the pastoral honeymoon is over? Here goes:
When the flood of dinner invitations is reduced to a trickle and the menus switch from sirloin to burgers, you know the honeymoon between you and your congregation is over.
In the beginning you reign from your pedestal, feeling invincible. The first tremors are so subtle that you ask, ‘Did I imagine that?’ Then the pedestal begins to rock as enthusiastic handshakes and vigorous pats on the back are replaced by cordial smiles and forced praise for the ‘fine’ sermon you preached.
You tiptoe, you dance, you flail your arms, but you eventually topple. And the worse part is, you never saw it coming – just like the last time. See if you have overlooked these warning signs from a disgruntled congregation.
- You return from vacation to find the visiting preacher’s name on your mailbox.
- Your church is about to split, and neither group wants you.
- Shut-ins pull the window shades and pretend that they aren’t home when you come to visit.
- Mom moves her membership letter to another church.
- You’re told that God is calling you to the mission field – now!
- You are cast as a donkey in the Christmas cantata.
- Your wife moves her membership letter to another church.
- The trustees have been marching around your house the last six days praying and carrying lanterns.
- Your secretary starts sending out your resume’.
- The congregation forces members of the pulpit committee to wear sackcloth and make a public apology.
- Church members start referring to you in the past tense.
- Your ‘love offering’ is a two-for-one coupon at Ponderosa.
- You show up at church on Monday morning to discover that the locks have been changed.