issue 22 dontcreatewalls bsutton 051023

Issue #22: Don’t Create Walls

Faithful & Fruitful Pastoring

I was hurting. The church was growing but at a great cost to me and my family. Some of my closest friends and church members had become critics and even enemies. I wasn’t ready to quit, but I was getting close.

A seasoned pastor and friend met me for lunch. “Ed, I am just tired of being hurt” I told him. “I want to lock myself away in my study and stay away from people.” I expected him to sympathize with me, and he did. But he also gave me a piece of advice I have not forgotten. He said, “Brandon, let me encourage you to continue making yourself vulnerable to people. Don’t shut people out. Keep letting them in, even if you continue to get hurt.”

You might feel the same way. People have hurt you. You’re tired of the criticism and backstabbing. You can’t take another failed relationship. And because of all that, you’re considering building some walls to keep people away. Maybe you already have.

Pastor, don’t do it. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Be willing to get hurt again. Why? Because it’s our job. Not the getting hurt part. That’s collateral damage. Our job is to minister Christ to the people. Our job is to serve them for “Jesus’ sake” (2nd Corinthians 4:5). In doing so, we’re going to get hurt. People are going to disappoint us. But Jesus is worth it. And because of His sacrifice and grace, He deserves our best.

“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” (Hebrews 12:3-4).

Keep pressing forward, brother pastor. Your work is too important to give up. God may not need you, but your family and congregation does. Don’t build walls. Build bridges, even if they get burned in the end.

I benefited greatly from coaching, and I think you can as well. If you’re interested in pastoral coaching, check out this information page on our website. Fill out the questionnaire and give us a call. We’d love to talk more about this opportunity with you.

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