Posts Tagged 'pastor'

How “unique” is our pain?

pain I read an article today about pain that pastors face. The article itself was okay; it mentioned areas where pastors can feel challenged. (For the curious, the areas are: Criticism, Rejection, Betrayal, Loneliness, Weariness, Frustrations, and Disappointments.) I won’t repeat the entire article here, but one phrase really caught my attention. Right before these various challenges are presented, this phrase was written in bold, to make sure I didn’t miss it:

“Some of the unique problems that pastors face are…”

And THAT got me to thinking. Why would I assume that the problems of criticism and rejection are uniquely related to the role of pastor? Doesn’t everyone face criticism occasionally? Aren’t we all rejected at times? There’s nothing special or unique about a pastor being betrayed or lonely: people from all walks of life experience these things.
I think the “unique” matter in all of this (that the article did NOT mention) is that there is often an unspoken expectation that these issues will not show up in the church – at least, certainly not to the extent that they might be known in “the world”. However, I don’t think that’s correct. After all, everyone has times of frustration, or disappointment, or weariness. That’s part of the human condition, and there’s no getting away from it.
Jesus experienced everyone of of these issues personally, and some of them frequently. That alone tells me that, as a follower of Christ, I’m going to be going through the same things as well – just not to the same degree as He did.
We, called to be God’s people in this time and place, will go through them all; there will even be times when we are responsible for *inflicting* them on others around us, whether people of faith or not.
I think the KEY is this: we cannot, should not, indeed MUST NOT try to walk through this life alone, or pretending like “we’ve got it all under control”. We don’t. We *know* that – and we know it’s true of everyone else if we stop and think about it – but when we’re tired, or under stress, it’s more of a challenge to remember our shared condition; we often just think it’s unique to our own situation.
Hebrews 3 has a good word for us: “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Heb. 3:13) Every day, whether you think you need it or not, encourage someone else. Find a good thing to say; tell them they look nice, or that you appreciate their smile, or perhaps you’re refreshed by their candor. As we encourage one another, we ourselves receive encouragement. And the greatest encouragement we’ll receive is from God Himself: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)
Don’t give up – and don’t be a stranger. Share God’s grace with others at church on Sunday, so you’ll be encouraged to do it the rest of the week “out there”.
Keep Following Jesus –

A New Chapter Begins…

Dear Church Family,

It is with mixed emotions that I submit my resignation as your Director of Youth and Children’s Ministries. God has led me to an opportunity to serve as the Senior Pastor of Warden Community Church in Warden, Washington. My last Sunday with you all will be the last Sunday in April, and my last day in the church office will be April 30. I will be ordained on the 15th of May at the Warden church, and begin my ministry there on May 16th.

Words are hard to come by to fully describe the joy, pleasure and blessing that serving with this wonderful church family has been for me and my family. It has been an incredible joy to help lead the Youth and Children’s Ministries here at First Presbyterian Church of Snohomish. I will truly miss the children, the teens and their families as I leave behind the challenges and joys of being a youth pastor and move into new challenges as a senior pastor.

First Presbyterian Church has been an incredible blessing to me and my family. God has used this church in our lives, and I feel especially encouraged after hearing so many of your comments to me personally whenever I preach.

I can’t begin to thank Pastors Ann and Charlie enough for their collegial spirit, leadership, love and guidance over the last four years. First Presbyterian Church is truly blessed to have them as Pastors – I pray that you will never take them for granted and will continue to lift up them both in prayer daily. In addition to our pastors, Snohomish is blessed with a wonderful group of servants who serve in so many capacities. It has been my pleasure to serve with them, to be challenged by them and to rejoice with them.

I simply cannot say “thank you” enough to you all for your love, prayers, support, encouragement and willingness to follow where God led us over the last four years. I have no doubt that God will continue to do incredible things in the lives of our children and youth. I look forward to hearing of how these students will continue to live as grace-filled people as a part of the Body of Christ.

We will continue to pray for our Snohomish church family and ask that you continue to pray for us as we all seek to honor the Lord with our lives.

In His Service,
Ed Backell

(This was the resignation letter I have just submitted to the church in Snohomish. Special thanks to Jeff Wells, whose resignation letter served as a template when I could not find the words.)

Pastor Ed Backell

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