Isn’t God good? There are times when we can get upset with those around us and only turn to One who is True and loving. I have had the pleasure of serving as a Youth Pastor and as a Senior Pastor. I have noticed slights and social Faux Pas on the part of others. What I have gleaned is there is a sense from some Senior Pastors that their calling is somehow better than those of a Youth or Associate Pastor.
We first must realize that God, who is good, is The One who calls us into a new life in His Son The Lord Jesus Christ. Our church in East Longmeadow Massachusetts ( http://www.fbcel.org ) has a maxim that we unofficially put into every effort. “All to maturity, some for service.”
We are all called to be mature believers in Christ. Some, by Gods’ (yes I meant to put a comma on the right side of the “s” showing plural possessive) grace are called to be ministers.
As a called-out minister we are a gift to the local church.1 God gave us to the local churches that we serve in. The times that I have been asked, “How do you know you are called?” I have answered, “You will be miserable if you don’t preach or minister. If you are called by God and you don’t pursue his calling you will be miserable until you submit to God and pursue His will for your work in His vineyard.”
Speaking of work, one day, while attending a Pastor’s fellowship (I was a Youth Pastor at the time), a Senior Pastor from another church asked my Senior Pastor for help with setting up for lunch. The other Pastor yelled across the room, “Hey Bro. ____. Why don’t you grab your man and help me with these chairs.” My Pastor didn’t think anything about what the man had said. I wanted to shout, Hey Pastor ____. I’m God’s man, not this man or any man on earth. I work for One. This man happens to sign my paycheck and I’m accountable to him… maybe I was just being a bit too sensitive at the time.
Until I went to a Pastors fellowship in a different state, where nobody knew me. As I was a bit early and alone, I approached a group of men who were cutting up and laughing. As I approached them, I introduced myself as Pastor Stevens from Springfield, MA. They all went around and introduced themselves as Senior Pastors and welcomed me. When they asked me which church I Pastored, I answered that maybe they misunderstood me, I clarified that I was a Associate Pastor.
There was an audible quieting of their jesting with me. They each in turn stopped and avoided talking with me, even though I interjected on a few points that they made. I was being treated as a second class citizen. Eventually they all avoided eye contact with me for the rest of my visit.
How about you? As a Senior Pastor have you ever looked down your nose at someone who was something other than a Senior Pastor? Or as an Associate, you have been treated as a second class citizen? Or are you that Senior Pastor that remembers what it was like to be treated that way when you were an Associate.
Pastor John Stevens