This past Monday I met with a couple of Pastor friends for a time of fellowship and encouragement. It is the hope of these meetings that as Pastors we can help each other be better in the work God has called us to. Normally we have a time where we learn from a teaching lesson from a Pastor from outside our group, discuss the lesson, and then pray together, followed by a meal, and a service of some kind.
But you know me, I can't do anything normal and so I put a twist to it.
I opened up to them about our church History, past and present, and asked this question. If you were to come and Pastor this church, what would you do with it. But I didn't get the answers I was hoping for. It wasn't their fault but there were some stumbling blocks they had that kept them from answering correctly.
#1 They didn't want to hurt my Feelings.
These men truly love and care for me and yet they have also felt the pain of truth. So it was hard to be hard when you love someone and know how hard the truth may be. This is especially true for Pastors as every week we are critiqued by people who don't really love us and don't really care about how we feel And so it is hard to be hard when you know its already been hard.
#2 They didn't feel worthy to answer the Questions.
These are not men who Pastor huge churches. They Pastor very similar types and styles of ministries and so they struggled with the fact that they themselves have not figured many of the problems and opportunities that I offered up for their council. Yet what they didn't realize is that I asked them because of their humility and honesty and as very wise men had every ability to really dig deep.
#3 They didn't really know me.
Many of the answers they gave me came with assumptions. They heard what I said but had to answer to what they knew. Not of me, but of themselves and other Pastors who they have dealt with in the past. This was not their fault but it hindered them from answering to my real needs.
Now in the end I gained two HUGE answers from both of them but it took a couple of hours for them to really get into it.
and this made me think. Do all Christians struggle with this? Someone asks us to look into their lives and be honest and we allow stumbling blocks to keep us from truly helping them? I'm not talking about the opinionated idiot who thinks they know the answer to every problem though they themselves are a mess, stay away from this person, but do we hinder each other because of these three things?
If so let me share three things that might help.
If they ask for help, its because their already hurting and they have come to you because they trust you.
If those two men would have told me to do whatever I would have put serious thought into their words and ideas as I desired their honesty even if it hurt me more.
If they ask You its because they see in you something you might not see.
They might see wisdom where you see weakness but they sought you out for a purpose.
If they ask for help and you don't know them well, be careful not to read wrong things into the words of those seeking help. Look beyond your own pain and knowledge of yourself and seek the root of the pain. Most people speak questions from pain not problems as problems are often a result of pain. Ask deeper personal questions so that you get to know them.
If someone has come to you and asked for help, they trust you, believe in you, and need you.
Be honest, humble and get to know them and you will be helpful.
and if your asking, be honest, humble, and helpful by hearing what they say, accepting what you've done or need to do, and that time you spend will be helpful.
It took them awhile but they were, and I am thankful.
Have a Great Day