I am whacked. Well and truly whacked. Tracy asked me tonight why I hadn’t blogged for a week. I started blogging really to reflect on and record experiences in ministry. Sometimes I say much less than I feel because some of my good corps folk read this blog and I hesitate to be honest as I should be able to be in the body of Christ. I had to say to Tracy that if I blogged what I was really feeling…well…
Yet, like Paul, I’m not overwhelmed. I know God’s strength and his confirming of my calling. I don’t doubt that at all, but I am whacked. I’m totally not at the stage where some get to and they can’t wait to get out of their appointment….far from it. Neverthless, I totally understand why weaker souls would be on the floor flat out!
I remember my step-dad coming in from work after a long shift looking really rough, smelly – just tired from a physical day in a factory. Strange thing is that the whole week I’ve hardly been out of the house, let alone the village, but the weight of people is an exhausting thing.
I am often critisized because of the position I take on ‘routine’ visitation. Tracy and I got round pretty much the whole corps when we got here (those who would let us visit anyway)…they’ve all had visits from both of us, those that wanted them. Our pattern is that Tracy carries our regular visitation and I deal with ‘issues’.
I am not pastoral in the sense of ‘how is your ingrown toenail’ but when I think of just these last couple of days and the deep, up close, personal, intimate, difficult, draining things I’ve dealt with I’m not surprised I’m whacked.
Of course, no-one, apart from those you spend hours talking with, sees that. Yet, you can get some that will treat you like a no-user because you didn’t visit them when they had a sniffle and then hit you with the line ‘oh, you know its important that the male officer visits’ implying that somehow my wife isn’t good enough, or not good enough for them anyway. People only see and hear what they want to see and hear.
Far from negate responsibility, I feel very strongly the sense of responsibility for my people. But yet when people don’t want to be pastored beyond ‘lets have a reading and a prayer’ there isn’t a lot you can do and I’d rather spend my time more productively. We’ve suggested we commence a Ward System in the corps for more intimate and effecive discipleship and pastoral care. Are people interested? Some are, but for that certain minority it will be moving into realms of ministry, challenge and accountability that scares them because I don’t always think their desire is for “pastoral care”.
People don’t like to be real…they love hiding behind a respectable, altogether ‘nothing wrong with me’ facade when actually what is there is spiritual poverty or shallow spirituality at the least. What I have still to come to terms with is the incredible immaturity in the body of Christ that produces all the sorts of things that Paul said carnality will produce (1 Cor).
God’s promise and word to me right now is so strong and affirming, urging me on. He knows I need it. He has never failed me yet…not once. He has been so good in reveal so much fruit from our ministry, it really makes it all keep its miraculous edge.
I put so much energy and passion in to preaching, teaching, equipping, missioning. That alone costs so much, yet its what I’ve covenanted to give. I’ve covenanted to spend and spend, knowing that God will replenish, and he does.
But then sometimes you wonder if others are on the same planet. For example, you spend months helping a corps dig deep and ask big questions of itself and get through the other side with a positive result. One of those is with re-focusing our evening meeting to focus on intimate worship, deeper prayer, prayer ministry. What happens? Well, because someone can’t stay awake in prayer we’re asked to reconsider. My response was a polite yet strong ‘no’ – we make the commitment to press in to what God has for us.
I won’t even begin to discuss situations where people expect you to be 210% sensitive and 300% mind reader when they don’t actually get round to telling you why they are being weird with you….you’re supposed to know…somehow.
Yeah, so, thats how I feel and more. I can’t even imagine how God sees our little faith communities. If I have any sensitivty to the Spirit at all, the sense of burden and desparation for God to be able to move freely and powerfully is one implanted there by that same Spirit.
I’m whacked. But, like Paul, no where near destroyed. I thank God for resillient resolve!