28 August 2015

Not Enough Bacon In Your Sandwiches: Unusual Unmet Expectations

I recently read the great article "25 Really Weird Things Said To Pastors and Other Church Leaders" Turns out it's a hilarious list of unusual things clergy workers have heard throughout their ministry (and what I can only assume are the responses people wish to give but can't!). It gave us a good laugh! I'm sure some points were exaggerated, but I thought it was worth sharing. Some of our favourites included: “We need a small group for cat lovers.” “Your socks are distracting.” “I don’t like the brand of donuts in the foyer.” and “You didn’t wrap the hot dogs in bacon for the church picnic.”
For the full list visit Thom Rainer's website

Of course underneath these amusing stories lies the unspoken point that people can sometimes expect a bit too much from their church leaders. And it can be hard not to when you naturally look to leaders for guidance, advice, and an example of how to live. 

But when did perfection become a 'must-have' trait on the spiritual resume?! Is it truly possible to anticipate the pastoral, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of every person who comes through the church doors? Even the disciples couldn't do that!

As a wise friend said to me recently, the church is a beautiful, complex - and flawed community. Odds are feathers will be ruffled over smaller things like font sizes used in the notice sheet or whether it's a wise idea to use a red cross over a white one. It's what makes the church community so wonderfully diverse! But are all these grievances worth discussing, or expecting from a clergy worker? Maybe some are worth rethinking as an expectation of perfect leadership?

In the ideal world, it would be marvellous to be able to spot a pastoral need at 50 paces, or to know the exact position the piano should go to suit everyone's tastes. But clergy workers, and their families are just as normal as you. No super spiritual powers just because they were called to ministry or followed someone who was. So maybe sometimes, with some issues it's worth having a laugh, enjoying the eccentricities that make us the individuals we are, and moving on. :)

~ Rachel