Trying to please everyone

Acts 20:26-27 – Therefore I declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.

Diane was reading to me from one of the many lists going around like “8 reasons churches never break the 200 attendance mark” or “5 Essentials every church constitution needs in the future” or one like it.  What she read was one reason pastors fail or the church fails or something along that line is because the pastor tries to please everyone.  (Maybe it was the ’99 reasons pastors go insane’ list.)

One thing I believe is that we all have to be true to who we are.  My pastor friends Tom and Brian are two of the most kind, sympathetic, compassionate, Jesus loving pastors I’ve ever met.  Personally, I might find them a little too much on the side of ‘people pleasing’ at times.  Yet that’s who they are.  That’s the Spirit God has placed in them.  And I wouldn’t have them any other way.  From their perspective, they probably think I’m a little too abrasive at times.  Yet, I have no doubt that it is the Spirit God has placed in me.  Mike Slaughter of Ginghamsburg always says that when it came to Spiritual Gifts, that God gave him the ‘gift of irritation’.

I remember one time I told my friend Tom if I heard a certain church person say, “I paid for one of those pews” (when they were complaining about something they didn’t like in the church) one more time that I was going to get some help and unbolt a pew from the floor and take it to their house and set it on their porch.  Tom told me that would not be the right way to handle it.  He was right.  He said I should instead offer to reimburse the person for the pew.  It never got to that point.  And I wasn’t fighting for control, but was standing up for those without a voice in the church.

Even the fact that I’m sharing this story with you today is a reflection of who I am in Jesus.  Many people would think I should not have even shared that story.  God has made each of us different.  God has given me a Spirit to preach the Word.  God has given me a Spirit to stand for what I believe even if I’m the only one in the room standing or willing to say it.  And some people may look at that as a fault.  I thank God for it.  It’s not always easy and I’m not always right, but I believe I am being obedient to who God has called me to be in Jesus.  That’s all He can expect of any of us – to be who He has called us to be – and that’s different for each one of us.  Be who God has called you to be if that pleases most people or if it doesn’t.

Here’s a minute and a half of Pastor Matt Chandler talking about his friend Pastor Mark Driscoll and about their differences.  I find this video hilarious:

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