Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Hearing someones story
Yesterday a women came to visit in my office and ask about our church, after visiting for several Sundays. The funny thing about being a pastor of a church is that people think you and the church are the same, when in fact many of the things we do and believe and the ways we function are not exactly who I am. Even if I had been the original pastor that would still be true. So we sort through the issues and questions as almost every gathering of more than two or three involves some give and take, some compromise, some, "we have always done it that way".
In the midst of this, I listen to her story. How she got to this place, what scars and wounds and strengths and joy are part of her journey. We touch commonalities, as all humans do and even more for those who walk with God. I try to be me, not someone trying to get someone to sign a contract. If we are coerced by anything but freedom, it never works. There has to be a spark to continue a desire to walk together in fellowship and learning. I have to be willing to let her keep looking elsewhere.
We had a local pastor here when I came who had the reputation of a bull dog. If you ever visited his church and he got your name he would dog you until you asked him to leave you alone. Agressive church growth through dogged visitation. Everyone thought it a virtue, a strength.
I did not. Relationships are like a dance. If people want me to be like their favorite pastor, I am pretty much unable to dance like another guy. I do love hearing how God deals with people, and I do desire them to walk with us and learn with us, but we cannot push or impress, we can only be honest.