Can you imagine a PASTOR doing THIS?!

The following is a guest post from a great man who walks with God. I'm honored to have my husband, Pastor Larry Shrodes, share with my readers today. He wrote about this topic in his weekly ezine to the men of our church recently and I thought it was a great word. I invited him to share on my blog today about what he believes is one of the greatest inconsistencies in the church at large, today. I hope it is enlightening for you.

The lead pastor of Northeast Assembly of God followed Carl Dallas and his family out the church doors following the service this past Sunday.  Stopping Carl in the parking lot he said, "Carl, I need a minute of your time to talk to you about something.  You've been coming to our church for the past year and and a half and I want you to know that I love you.  You have a great family and I really enjoy you.  We've had some great times of fellowship, however I want you to know that today is your last Sunday here at Northeast.  We feed you way too much with little to nothing in return from you or your family.  I feel called to try some other people out.  If they don't work out, we may invite you back.  I hope this doesn't hurt your feelings Carl, because we love you.  We really do. I really wanted you guys to stay, but I have prayed about it and I have to obey God. I really feel this is what is best for my family.  I am sure we will probably see you around when people in the church have birthdays and picnics and I hope you don't feel awkward or anything, but like I said this is your last Sunday.  Here is the next month's supply of Pentecostal Evangels.  This should help you and encourage you in your transition."

Maybe you think a pastor would be crazy to do this.  How cruel to say something like this to someone!  I agree with you, however know that this conversation happens every week in America.  The only difference is that instead of the pastor saying this to people, it's people who say this to the pastor.  This is the reality that pastors across our nation face all the time.

Honestly, you can't imagine how this stings.  It is one of the greatest frustrations for pastors. They are just expected to take this behavior in stride and not only refuse to get bitter, or angry or frustrated, but they are expected to actually bless these people! This is a topic that few people even open up and talk about because when they do they are labeled as insecure or even worse like some kind of control freak.

I'm in a good season to talk about this.  Just when I would want to write about it before, it seemed we were dealing with someone leaving and it would have looked pointed. I don't desire to single anyone out or cause hurt. Fortunately, this isn't a factor right now. We are in a good growth season at Celebration and we aren't experiencing an exodus.  I don't have an over inflated view of myself, however I know that I have great love and support from our congregation. I am blessed to be a part of what the Lord is doing.  While things are going well, let me say though that when people do leave, the pain of rejection hurts so much, no matter how good things are going at the church.

Pastors are expected to demonstrate total love and loyalty for their church and city.  Often when pastors transition they are chastised for leaving.  They get accused of only caring about the money or chasing a bigger opportunity. If they even spoke of leaving the church for another, they would be characterized as uncaring. On the other hand, when someone in the church moves to a new city because of a promotion they are patted on the back and everyone applauds the new blessing and season in their life.  What an interesting double standard.

On a related note, I have also been at church events sharing around tables with others and heard people bash the city or town that they are living in.  They say, "I can't wait to get out of this town and move east, west, north or south." People complain about the snow, the sunshine, the heat, the rain.  They hate the traffic, the solitude, the smog or the humidity.  If a pastor would say they were moving because they hate the city or the weather, people would be in an uproar and call them unspiritual.  These inconsistencies in the church world are just interesting.

I pour my life into the church I pastor.  I love where God has placed me.  I give my all to the church and the city.  When someone leaves the church or bashes our city, or says they can't wait to get out one day, I can't help but take it personal.  I have learned over the years how to let things roll off my chest better.  That doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt, I have just learned to trust that God still is God even when things happen that I don't think please the Lord. 

It is my prayer that we create a culture at Celebration Church that is different from inconsistency that seems to exist in so many churches and instead have a culture that reflects Jesus and makes an impact for the kingdom! Let's be different.