It’s this trend that I’ve got something to say about. However, lest you think I’m going to be one of those “I’m too cool for all of these trends and you should be, too” types, let me assure you that I respond to these things from a place of experience, not judgment, by listing a few of the health and fitness trends I’ve attempted (with varying levels of success) in the last several years.
What started out as disagreement over the way this new church would be structured and how decisions would be made (issues which had been addressed repeatedly and clearly over the previous six months) quickly escalated to a flash point, and I was presented with a hard choice: either compromise our identity and mission, or bid farewell to an otherwise faithful family and watch our offerings plummet by approximately 30% in the process. I stiffened my lip, bid them farewell, assured the rest of our team that we would be fine, and then went home and wept.
Here’s a list of what I stand for. It’s still a work in progress. I expect to add to it and improve it over the years. But I don’t expect that many of the convictions I articulate here will change. I wish I’d held to them 25 years ago. My service to those I’ve pastored would have been richer for it.
This is a hard thing for us especially as we grow older for obvious reasons. We don’t like to look foolish. And we know at this point in our lives where we usually succeed and where we fail. And typically it’s less fun to fail. So why do this?
I can think of at least three reasons why I, and maybe you, ought to do something every once in a while that probably won’t go well.
One of the greatest gifts a congregation can give to a pastor is allowing him and his family to be members of the church. That’s right. The pastor and his family are church members. Too many pastors have been crushed by the weight of a congregation unable see the sheep inside the under-shepherd. And too many congregations have been robbed by pastors who refuse to seem themselves as sheep.
Anxiety was a fixture of my new life. I was 30, and my husband had died. Sometimes I awoke to the sound of my own voice screaming his name, drenched in a cold sweat. Other nights were sleepless, the pain visceral. I lived in a fog, and then reality began to settle. He wasn’t coming back.
Only 0.6 percent of American women are widowed when younger than 35. I’m a major anomaly, and people haven’t always known what to do with me.
A favorite from the archives:
Some of the healthiest people I know are the ones who know how to say “no”—especially to good things. They realize that they have limits: They’re human and need sleep. Maybe they want to spend time with their families. They have full-time jobs and ministry commitments. Perhaps they even recognize they’re only gifted in so many ways…
They are limited by time and place. They know it, and they embrace it.