I am a redeemed sinner, called by the Lord to be a Pastor. Being a redeemed sinner means that I am never in short supply of things to repent of and call out to the Lord for help to amend my life. This blog will touch on this.
I got to know a lot more Pastors after I was ordained. One of the things I learned was that a significant number of Pastors did not go to church when they were on holiday. At first it struck me as odd. And then it struck me as wrong. Sunday is the Lord’s Day. The Bible warns us “to not forsake assembling together” (Hebrews 10:25). I did not see how those called by the Lord to be His minister got a pass to not meet with other Christians or keep the Lord’s day just because they were on holiday. I thought and still do, that for a Pastor to skip church when he’s not upfront, plays into dangerous conceits that Pastors can fall into, “It is my church” “I am central to the worship” “If I am not upfront then what is happening has less value or worth” “Only I get preaching, leading, and worship right”.
Another danger for the Pastor with kids is that he unwittingly communicates to them that he does not go to church because he is a Christian, but that he goes to church to be upfront and get paid.
So, I have resolved to go to a church service when I am on holidays. However, the spiritual dangers and my sinful heart can still be mightily at work even while I worship in church with others. This is on top of the danger of being self-righteous – sitting there thinking, “I am not like those other Pastors – I came to church!” It is easy to be there, singing and listening and praying, but all the while I am comparing and criticizing. I can slip into being very critical of what is happening, becoming picky and superior. No surprise, I can then easily slip into feeling “hard done” by God. “Why is this church better attended than mine when I preach better and we have better music and a better service and… and… and…?”
So, when I am going to church on my holidays I pray that the Lord will help me die to being comparative and critical and that instead He will help me to be appreciative and prayerful. I pray for Messiah and all who are leading and preaching that day, asking the Lord to bless them mightily. I pray for the church that I will be attending, asking that the Lord will bless the preacher and the leader and all in attendance in a special way.
If I think the Pastor is struggling or doing poorly as he preaches, I pray that the Lord will pour out the Holy Spirit upon him, and us. When the service and the sermon are going well, I give thanks to the Lord for those up front, and that I am blessed to be with this church today. I give thanks for the congregation and ask the Lord to bless them in the days and months ahead.
This year I attended a Free Methodist church, a Pentecostal church, and twice, an Associated Gospel church. I can truly say that I was glad that I joined them in worship. The truth is that whatever is healthy and good in a local church is from the Lord and not from us. Praise God that Jesus is lifted up as the Saviour and Lord in so many local churches in this city and to the ends of the earth. Please pray for me, and for Messiah, that the Lord will build us up.