All things must come to an end.
Today was the last day that I will be an interim/pulpit supply pastor. Technically last week was the last week I preached but I was there today to say my goodbyes.
I can’t help but feeling some level of regret. Like I left a project unfinished. Don’t get me wrong I have like no desire to be the full-time pastor but there is a part of me that feel like the job isn’t done there.
When I started at the church I thought to myself that I could galvanize the people into a small dedicated group of believers, who would work desperately to reach people in God’s name. I had visions of all of us dying to ourselves for the betterment of the Gospel. I thought I could convince people to leave their egos and agendas at the door while we instead adopted the agenda of the Gospel. I had this dream of saving this church from the brink of destruction.
I will admit there was definitely some pride in that. I wanted to be the person who built a community of people who loved the Lord so much that they would welcome everyone and love everyone equally.
*Spoiler Alert* That didn’t happen.
Shocking I know. People are people and instead of loving everyone equally they show favoritism. Instead of making decisions that best glorify God they make decisions for their own agendas. Instead of showing grace first they get bogged down in the letter of the law.
The problem is that our priorities in the church are all wonky. We make our priorities out of pride and self-interests instead out of benefiting the Gospel. During my time I learned rather quickly that the church wanted good preaching more than good teaching. When my sermons were lacking, or I said “sucks” during them, I would get the long end of lecture about how “good preaching will bring people to the church.” No matter how hard I pushed back on this mentality no one would listen. People didn’t want a Christianity for Monday morning, they wanted a Christianity for Sunday.
That’s the whole problem with our Church. God is a Sunday morning activity.
During my time I spent more time fighting political battles than I did teaching and guiding people. I spent way more time writing a sermon than I did loving people in God’s name. I spent more time defending basic theological principals of love than finding people who knew nothing about God and showing them that love.
Here is the heartbreaking truth though, God is a 24/7 activity not a Sunday activity. Sunday has become a spectacle in our Faith. Churches get light bars and sound booths to put on the “best show in town”. We pick pastors based on their preaching styles not their theologies. We make the most comfortable chairs we can and make sure the sanctuary is at the perfect temperature all so that people will come to our churches. Then we give them a watered-down message that has very little hard-hitting truth that the Gospel offers, and then send them on their way. When Monday inevitably comes, our parishioners have all but forgotten that little nugget of truth and then resume their “normal lives” outside the church. Only to wash and repeat the cycle next Sunday.
This was never how it was intended to be.
I didn’t realize the massive uphill battle I was waging when I started a year ago.
So, while I feel like the project is unfinished I also know now that the project will never be finished until Christ returns. I don’t get to be the hero of the story that saves the church, that role was always reserved for Christ. Rather I get to be beggar who for a little while showed that church where to find food, hopefully.