8/14/2011 7:16 AM
Last week I attended the Global Leadership Summit satelite version. There was a large gathering of other local senior pastors and leaders at this event. Every year I feel very torn about whether or not to attend and some years I do and some years, I don't!
Conferences almost always leave me with all kinds of conflicting feelings, both good and bad, but this particular one always leaves me with many strong, negative emotions to process.
It has everything to do with the fact that it is a gathering of local pastors, and I know many of them and have for many years. Here we are being incredibly inspired by the conference speakers to be Christ-like, and to be humble and vulnerable and forgiving and peace makers; and then we go on a break and I run into pastors I know who won't talk to me, won't say hello and even turn the other way when they see me coming.
If you don't me, you might think, oh wow, what kind of crazy person is this that gets that kind of response from other pastors? Well, first of all, I am that woman pastor, remember?
So you have the first group of 'guys' who don't believe women should be pastors and apparently they think that means they should shun us and treat us disrespectfully, or greater still, just totally ignore us! How mature in Christ is that? Fortunately, this group of guys is shrinking but they're still plenty of them out there.
And the next group of guys are the ones I have had history with. Some of them, I have served the Lord with, prayed with, baptized others with, taken communion with, supported, loved, humbled and made myself vulnerable before. And apparently there are a miriad of unique reasons that they choose to walk by me, ignore me or barely nod their head at me. Sad, so sad! I am so disappointed in them as pastors and leaders. I am disappointed in all the mugging that always goes on at these local gatherings of leaders.
The pastors of the big churches only sit and talk with other pastors of big churches. Are you serious? The first question one is asked when first meeting another pastor is not, "How many lives you seeing changed at your church?" but instead, it is always, "How many people ya got?"
It grieves my heart and I know it greatly grieves the heart of God that His leaders would act so much like the world. We are called to be set apart. We are called to set the example of what it means to love others the way Christ loved us! Unity in God's church seems like an impossible dream to me.
I often wonder if pastors only act this way in upstate NY. They're so competitive around here it borderlines ridiculous. I have tried repeatedly to work with other local pastors and repeatedly it seems to not work out, often because of this competitve spirit!
Sometimes it also seems like pastors and church leaders are the most judgmental people I know! They're judgmental of each other and they can't wait to point fingers, whisper behind backs and even do damage to other churches, all in the name of God? It bothers me and I think it should bother all of us because I know it bothers GOD!
How in the world are we ever going to build unity in our churches if we can't build love and unity with each other?
I am not satisified with the way things are now, and that's a good thing! I am pledging myself to work towards being a peace-maker and a unity builder in the Body of Christ. I KNOW this is what God wants! I KNOW this would bring Him incredible glory!
The question is, will you join me? Will you put your own feelings, agenda, judgments and opinions aside for the sake of building unity in the Body of Christ? It must begin with us!