Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 249: Get Over It? Lost Rant About THAT Church

When something hurts you in life you tend to remember it for a long time. If you have read any of my blogs or follow me on facebook, you will find that I am quite vocal about my hardships in ministry. These were times that were not so flattering to be a staff member at a church and caused me to wonder “is this really what I want to do?” The most recent would be what happened here in Waupaca a few years back. Luckily I got to stay here and continue on in ministry. I have gotten a few private messages asking me, “Why do you keep bringing up the past?” One of my personal favorites is “just let it go and move on.” It seems those still attending are beginning to find some healing and for me to bring something up only opens an old wound. I am quite confident this will be my last blog reflecting back on the past but I need to explain why I do so. What the difference is when someone attends a church where garbage happens verses a staff member at that same church.

In my opinion it is very easy for a person to tell someone else “just get over what hurt you in the past and move on.” Did someone abuse you? GET OVER IT AND MOVE ON! Hey, all you people that worked for, Enron who sincerely had nothing to do with the scandal but still lost your jobs? QUIT COMPLAINING ABOUT IT and move on. It’s no big deal! You see how difficult that would be? Let me explain it this way. Quite a few times I have been told by people of a church to just let it go and move on. Whenever I would get a message like this I began to ask myself the hard questions. I would ask “maybe I do have some serious problems…perhaps I am really reading to deeply into this.” I would even bounce it off of my wife and ask if I am truly a mental case. After all of this time from my hardships in Milwaukee to even the difficult times in Waupaca I could not figure out why I still could not let it go. It was not until I began consulting with someone who is a therapist that the light went on for me. Unfortunately I never did setup appointments with a therapist but I asked for this persons expert opinion…ends up I am quite normal.

When a person on staff at a church goes through something where in my case the pastor messed up, the board made it difficult to stay so I left…it is no wonder I still deal with these things. The answer I was looking for was found this weekend when I visited the church I used to be on staff at. Those that went through the difficult time who were not on staff at that church but rather long time members, etc. are guess what? Still attending that church. Yes they had a blow up (saw that coming) but those that wanted to stay could. Those that wanted to leave could leave. When you are a staff member however of a church and become a casualty of church politics at their worst, it requires a change of job venue…a move…setting up your family somewhere else. Guess what? When this political garbage happens in the real world you get the scene we currently have in Madison. There is a group of overall innocent people who fell victim to politics which could cause a job change that is out of there control. Imagine having a job that you completely and totally love. You have started a family, you own a home and are doing well when all of a sudden politics begin to happen and as a result you lose your job. Well guess what? GET OVER IT! MOVE ON! QUIT TALKING ABOUT IT! Easier than it sounds doesn’t it? If this kind of garbage happened in the “secular” world there would be hell to pay. I was in my 8th year of being a youth pastor and truly loving what I did. I sank my life into it and all of that got pulled out from under me causing a change of ministry location requiring a two hour move, my wife finding a new job, and me in mental turmoil from starting over.

What happened to me in my past within a year and a half of each other made me who I am today. I cannot nor will not stop talking about these things. It is because I am vocal about smartening people up to church politics that this summer I will be teaching a class at a large Christian music festival where a seminary is requiring those enrolled to get their pastoral degree…must attend my seminar as there summer education. This is why I can relate to people who have been hurt in ministry. For this very reason it is why I run a great online ministry for people to actually vent their frustrations out and talk freely about the church culture.

Some might say they were able to get rid of the garbage they were dealing with, well it made me who I am today. I along with others who fall into this category not only attended the church but was on staff. When that goes away, those attending can stay…as staff member has to start over in a new place.

Let me say that I am encouraged with where the church is heading that I was on staff at. The new pastor is a great guy. Any changes that happened recently were for the best and I am believing great things are ahead for this church!!! I would say let this be a learning tool for any board/membership on how to treat the staff of a church. It is not just something you flippantly toss around...it is someone's job.

4 comments:

  1. Dude we have been "done dirty" at seven different churches now. The worst one was a church that had "come as you are...you will be loved" on their bulletin. Thing was, it was come as you are as long as you drive a minivan, play golf and have money.

    And the whole time I was reading this, I was like "Yeah, dig it!"

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  2. Hey, Tonya...I appreciate your comment. It is not an easy thing to be mistreated by a church. Thanks again!

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  3. People who want to say 'just get over it' may be lacking discernment and compassion. We've been through it twice and it's not easy. But I feel that talking about it is a learning experience for many. Every time Edison made a mistake inventing the light bulb it was more knowledge on what NOT to do and that is needed. :)

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  4. It's like saying to Jesus on the cross... "Oh my Jesus, what's wrong? Do you have self pity, Jesus? Get over it already! Just get over yourself!"

    Those poeple are just IGNORANT...and maybe their day is coming, when they willl have to deal with OTHERS mocking them.

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