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Saturday, December 10, 2011

WHEN THE PASTOR IS AWAY



Pastor - courtesy photobucket.com

Regular attendees at church will agree that the pastor needs a break from the stress of the church occasionally. A time of refreshing where new goals and ideas can be evaluated without the daily pressure of people problems.
In a large church where there are many pastors it is easier for him to get away for a vacation but with a small congregation it is more complicated.

My wife and I worked in a church in the Christian education department and ran the book store. Keeping a trained staff of teachers, dealing with book distributors, attending every service, board meeting, running errands, occasionally preaching, hosting visiting ministers, the tape ministry and whatever else that came up, usually kept us busy.

Then comes the time when the pastor goes away you know something is going to happen you don’t want to deal with. Even though the pastor is reachable by phone you feel sheepish about calling him. The situation at hand is no big deal for him for he always deals with these things but there is an extra layer of pressure on you because you have to please him as well as handling the problem.

As predictable when the pastor is gone and someone dies you get a phone call and are expected to handle the whole situation. Call the paper, visit the bereaved, prepare for the service and tell the ladies to prepare a meal after the service and anything else peculiar to this happening.

In one such case the man who died was as mean as a snake to his wife who was a shrinking violet type. I had visited the man before his demise and he was complaining and barking orders right and left. When he passed on I went to the home and everybody was celebrating the fact he was gone. I felt a little strange in this situation for I had come to comfort the bereaved but there were none. The time came for the funeral and everyone just wanted it over with. Instead of goodbye it was good riddance. Searching for something good to say about him wasn’t easy for me. After observing the wife and family, saying its good you're gone seemed apropos although I didn’t say it.

Counseling was an area my wife and I had some training but in our church we weren't called upon to do it often but on this occasion the pastor was gone and a woman didn’t want to wait. I knew her from her attendance at service and set up a meeting at the church. When she arrived and came into the office, there she was very bosomy with a tight t-shirt and short shorts on and very vulnerable. Her husband had lost an arm and was mad at the world. She was getting the worst he had to offer and was looking for comfort.

One look at her was all it took to see she was “hot +.” After catching my breathe I excused myself and went and got my wife to sit in on the session. I explained she was sensitive in these areas and could be helpful. After I calmed down the session went well and she went home somewhat encouraged. Unfortunately the husband got worse to the point she gave up and divorced him, remarried and was much happier.

Well I got through the pastor’s absence this time but was not looking forward to the next time when “the pastor was away.”

This post has been linked to Charlotte’s site. Please visit and enjoy other good words at:

This post has also been linked to Sunday Jump. Do visit this lovely site at: http://www.jumptandem.net/2011/12/sunday_10.html

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