Wiring Yourself for Lightning

I can't serve God and play it safe.
—Ben Patterson

There she sat, nervously but methodically making her way through two pages of typewritten, single-spaced criticisms of our church office operation. To her credit, she met with me face-to-face, which is more than many critics are willing to do.

As she rehearsed the failures of the staff (and seemingly, everyone else born after the Spanish-American War) I felt increasingly melancholy. From improper procedures in answering the phone, to conflicting announcements in the bulletin, to secretaries breaching confidences, she had meticulously kept track of every offense. She had no less than fifty indictments.

When she was through, I did what pastors are supposed to do. I thanked her and affirmed her concern. After she left, I seriously considered conducting tours of the Holy Land for the rest of my career.

Why is it pastors so often serve as the lightning rod for the highly charged complaints and grievances of church members? Why do we attract criticisms ...

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