My husband is the pastor of a very active, large church. One of my biggest challenges is the expectation that if an activity of any kind is happening at the church, I should be there. This alone seems like a daunting task, but I work full-time outside the home and have a young child.
Honestly, I do not have the desire or the energy to attend every single church activity! I would be gone almost every weeknight and every weekend if I even tried to meet this expectation. I already feel bad for my husband, who rushes home, swallows his dinner (that I barely had the energy to prepare), and hurries right back out the door night after night, week in and week out.
I really do not want to feel this way and would love to actually enjoy attending some programs and events. Is there any way to ever meet these expectations?
Can't Measure Up
Dear Can't Measure Up,
Do not feel guilty! Even Jesus, when on this earth, could not be everywhere at all times.
In John 16:7, Jesus says, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you" (KJV).
You see, limited with humanity, Jesus could not be everywhere at the same time ... and you cannot either. If you get too stretched trying to do too many things, you will not be effective at anything.
Even the early church leaders realized that they could not do everything that they were being called on to do. They were so busy waiting tables and performing other tasks that they were neglecting to do their very first work--spending time in prayer, and studying and sharing God's word, which is the method that grew the church exponentially in the first place. This is why the disciples were impressed by the Lord to appoint deacons--so they could delegate some of the work.
We can learn a lesson from Jesus and the disciples. We cannot be everywhere at one time, and we cannot do everything that everyone asks us to do. We must make time for the most important work, and that is spending time with God. Remember, God is the One who has called us to the church; He has a plan whereby you can best serve Him. As you take time to pray and seek His direction in His Word, ask Him to put on your heart which program(s) He wants you involved in.
Let me leave you with this thought. Zechariah 4:6 reminds us that it is not by our might, nor our strength, nor even our attendance at programs that the work will be finished. It is by God's spirit!
Church members will most likely continue to have unrealistic expectations of the pastoral family. If we order our lives to please everyone, we easily set traps of becoming slaves to people's opinions. We must not allow ourselves to become sidetracked with worries that we are not measuring up to the expectations of others, much less our own. As we rely more on God and less on ourselves, He cna finish the work and equip us to be effective in our homes, jobs, churches, and community. That will be the best blessing we can offer our congregations!