Thursday, November 30, 2006


An anonymous donor sent me this link. - I think every youth group has this kid in it!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Who's this about??

On Monday nights I meet with a group of friends at the Horse Brass Pub on Belmont in Portland, Or. Some of us are currently pastors, some of us are former pastors, some of us are students, architects, musicians... jocks, dorks, dweebs they all love him. He’s one righteous dude... sorry I reverted to a Ferris Beuller moment there for a sec...

Anyway, I was speaking with a friend who is easing his way back into ministry after years professional ministry. As we talked he made a statement about having a sense of freedom now when he speaks knowing that its not about him or the audience but about what God is going to do. For some reason his comment stuck with me. I have always known in my head that this mission and ministry God calls me to are not about me. In fact that is my #1 frustration with church (not just the local church I serve but the church at large). Oh how easy it is for us to fall into that trap of this “institution” being about us, our wants our needs, our sanctuary and carpet and budget... Putting soap box back...sorry.

Where was I ??? oh, anyway... I realized that as a pastor, especially a pastor that feels called by God to be an instrument of transformation for individuals I connect to, as well as this institution of the church, I can easily fall into the trap of assuming it’s about me. Not in the sense that I have a big head, with certificates and trophies; More in the sense of if this ministry doesn’t connect with people ...its my fault; If people don’t participate ...its my fault; If someone says “I’m not being fed...” Its my fault. Living in that trap as a minister is hard on your heart. I guess the reason those words rang so true for me is that I find myself there a lot these days as the congregation I serve wrestles with ministry and mission, being disciples or consumers. I hear a lot of “that thing Pastor Mark started...” or “Pastor Mark’s...” and it’s draining.

As if that wasn’t enough of a reminder for me, as the evening went on and most of the others had gone home, there were just a few of us left sitting around the table talking. A friend who is a local musician in town, began talking with me about some of the incredible things God was teaching him about himself and about God.

As we talked he said “I don’t know how you guy’s (Pastors) do it man....” I responded “Well, we have our moments I guess.” We talked a little more and he said “I’m serious... you guys put up with so much, I used to go to a churches just like yours, just to discredit the pastor and the congregation. I dress different and talk different and had a chip on my shoulder, and leave cursing you all because you didn’t care and I wasn’t being fed, saying all the while they aren’t Christian... How dare I make you responsible for my Spiritual growth! How can I expect you to do something for me that I wasn’t willing to do myself and then walk out cursing you because of it. I mean I have a Bible... I can read... I never participated in anything other than the 20 minute sermon and that was just to get ammo to use against you... I’m sorry”

Now this friend has never been to a church I have served, and I only know him through the Horse Brass. But I know there have been plenty of people who have made me responsible for their spiritual growth and their relationship with God, either sub consciously, or intentionally. What's worse is I have bought it too. In fact if my friend had attended a congregation I served and left cursing us, I would have added to the wounds by assuming his lack of spiritual growth was my fault.

In fact it’s that trap that adds to the whole consumer nature of the church that breaks my heart. It’s so easy to say “if we just find out what someone wants... transformation will happen” so we chase this and that and church turns into institution. Programs become our core rather than discipleship.

There has been some freedom in all this for me this week and I mention it here because I know there are lots of you who read my musings on this page, who are giving yourselves to God in ministry and mission, and I hope you find some freedom in this as well.

God Bless you friends!