Pastor Ken a.k.a. PK
I've been in active ministry for the past 25 years. I've been credentialed with the Church of God for the past 13 years. I was raised as a PK (Preacher's Kid) and still choose to wear that label as "Pastor Ken." I've been happily married to Miss Debbie for going on 29 years and Father to Sam for going on 17 years. I LOVE what I do and I'm sold out to Who I do it for. I pray this blog becomes an additional tool of ministry for those on the journey of faith.
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As a Pastor there are times when you hear some incredibly funny things from people that are probably well meaning but in some cases completely insensitive to who they are talking to. An example of this is a phrase of criticism that we Pastor's often hear about ourselves or other Pastors from people that like to wrap complaint in a sort of spiritual blanket, if you will. What is that phrase? (thanks for asking)
"I'm just not being fed!" Occasionally, we will hear it of ourselves or our own efforts but most often we hear it about other Pastor's and their efforts. Either way it is usually preceded with a statement like, "Don't take this personally" or "Don't take this the wrong way." I really haven't figured that one out and wonder, occasionally, how it might be received if it went toward that individuals life's work. Let's say, for example, that you own or are a Cook in a Restaurant and your Pastor comes into where you work and orders and entrée and at the completion of his meal, he looks at you and says, "Don't take this the wrong way but that meal wasn't worth eating!" Sounds harsh, doesn't it? And in fact, it is, especially to those that are doing their best to bring a Rhema Word from God each week.
So why am I writing about it? No, I haven't endured the experience in recent years but I have had it happen to me and I have been on the hearing end of it, regarding others. I'm not looking to grind an Ax or settle a score. I've learned through the years to "grin and bear it" but I admit that when it occurs it is a hurtful situation.
I'm writing about it because I want to address the mindset that it comes from. That mindset is one that has bought into the ideology, that seems to be prevalent today, that "all things God" are here to serve me and make me feel better. While servitude is one of the greatest components of true Christianity, it is one that is widespread, meaning that we all should have the hearts of servants, one toward another. The "serve God to get" model is one that I believe is weakening the very heart of the Church today. One that is taking us away from the strengthening, encouraging and yes, even occasionally chastising power of God's Word into some sort of "Game Show" idea in which if we don't get what we want, we simply change the channels.
It's not that serving God is some pain filled, torturous existence in which we prove how holy we are by how much we suffer. Nope, that is the complete other end of the spectrum and one that is also abused on occasion. Rather, it is in the fact that if I am willing to submit to biblical preaching and teaching, even when it doesn't make me want to dance, jump and shout, I grow into a person and dare I say, even Christian, that is able to walk through the pain filled moments of life with the certainty that God is on my side.
Every so often I tell the IT crowd that "if I don't occasionally upset you, step on your toes and possibly even make you mad at me, you should send me packing." It's not that I'm angry. It's not that I believe it is sin to feel good or be happy. It's not that I think grumpy people are just more holy. No, not at all. It's just that I believe that as we grow in grace and in God, we find more of ourselves that need to be confronted with the truth of His Word. Not in a condemning and woeful way but in a way that helps us to realize that the closer that we get to God, the more of our self begins to fall away. Singer, David Crowder said it like this, "When our depravity meets His divinity it is a beautiful collision."
Growing in God means:
* That I realize that every preached word is vital to who I am to become.
* That I realize that it won't always be accompanied by a "feeling."
* That I realize that when the preached or taught word doesn't seem to speak directly to me, I can accept that there are others in need and I become an encourager and up-lifter to them, WHICH IS ACTUALLY WHAT THE CHURCH IS SUPPOSED TO BE.
Several years back I was approached by a person that I had known for quite sometime and they needed to "unburden themselves." (They did not attend my Church but I knew where they did attend.)
Of course this "unburdening" began with the statement that I am speaking of. "I'm just not being fed and I am spiritually starving" I knew the Pastor at the Church they were speaking of and knew him to be an excellent Preacher, more on the teaching side than us "feeling driven" Pentecostal's like to hear but One that I knew worked to hear from God and delivered his heart. After pointing out several positive things that had been done in this Church and sharing my belief that they had an excellent Pastor, I quickly realized that this person was not seeking advice but rather someone to justify their feelings. At that point I felt that further advice on my part would be received as an intrusion so I changed gears to find the true heart of the person.
I said, "Well, such and such Church is within 45 minutes of where you are and I'm hearing that they've really got it going on there!"
The response I received was the exact one that I was expecting. "That would be an hour and 1/2 total driving, I can't do that!"
Instead of poking the Hornets nest I quickly disentangled myself from the conversation, realizing just how ignorant that person now thought that I was.
Although I did not say it that day, I wondered how applicable the statements made to me were? I wondered if they were physically starving, how long of a drive would be "too long" in order to eat? I wondered if they were physically starving, how picky they would be at what was served? I wondered if they were actually spiritually starving or were they just carnally spoiled?
Before anyone casts stones, let me tell you whereof I speak. I pastored a Church for the better part of a decade in which I drove one hour each way (w/o traffic) to do so. I'm not looking for a medal or even recognition but pointing out that I wasn't asking someone to do something that I wasn't willing to do myself.
Jesus promised that "those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, shall be filled." Maybe it is time that we focus upon Him and not our likes and dislikes. Maybe it is time that we realize that most Pastor's set a table for us each week in accordance with Jesus' promise. Maybe the shift of our focus should change from "what am I getting?" to "What can I do to help?" As a Pastor I can promise you that those will be refreshing words to yours.