I’ve often said that my least favorite part of pastoring is conducting funerals, and on the other hand it remains one of the greatest privileges in ministry.
As ministers, we are continually invited into times of pain and loss as the ambassadors of Jesus. A sobering reminder of my complete reliance on the Holy Spirit to bring comfort and peace that surpasses all understanding always weighs heavy on my heart in these times.
There was one such time a couple of years ago when I was asked to do a funeral service for a family that had tragically lost a young child. When I went to meet with the family, the grandfather looked at me through his tears, (beer in hand) and greeted me with these words… “I’m not really into preachers”, he said. “Hey that’s fine, I’m not either”, I replied.
What was I saying? I am a preacher… but I got what he was saying.
And honestly, I have to confess that there are things I don’t like about preachers either.
I don’t like it when pastors prefer people over others because of their income or their perceived ability to help with their new projects.
Or refer to some as “quality people” because they seem to have their act together and they’ve never been in jail and have no visible tattoos.
James 2:3–4 (NLT)- If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?
Granted, we are all broken and fallible and in need of the conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit each and every day. We all miss the mark from time to time, but when it comes to understanding and representing the fundamental message of the Gospel, we cannot forget that people matter to God… all people.
As a pastor, I’m either showing the way or I’m standing in the way of those whom the Father desires closeness with.
On behalf of all pastors, preachers and ministers, if you’ve been hurt or wounded, if you’ve been misunderstood or maybe taken advantage of by anyone in spiritual authority… please accept this apology.
To all those who “aren’t really into preachers”… I’m so sorry.
Greg Richards is Lead Pastor at Life Church, located on the square in Kaufman. YourLifeChurch.com