An honest article from a Pastor who now understands how church volunteers live and serve …

Found at:

Gary Lamb on October 31, 2009 at 8:27 am

the-good-shepherdAt this time in my life, I am no longer in “full-time” ministry though I would argue that I have had more opportunities to do ministry since not being on a church staff than I ever did while on a church staff. After 10 years of being in a paid staff position, the change to the “real world” was HARD! Actually, I was shocked at how hard of a transition it has been.

As I begin to think of what God has next for me in regards to starting another church, I can’t help but think of how out of touch pastors are with the world they are called to reach.  However, if I write this post about how out of touch pastors are with the real world, people will say I am jealous, bitter, and angry because I am no longer a pastor so instead I thought I’d share some things I’VE learned during this transition.

  • I had NO clue the kind of financial, job, and family pressure most of our people were living with
  • Getting up and preaching what people should do is easy. Living it out is not.
  • So much of what I preached, I will never preach again because the fact is it is not possible to do in the real world.
  • I worked less than the people I pastored. Ministry was my job yet I asked our people to serve, volunteer, etc. AFTER they have worked 50-60 hour work weeks.
  • There are a lot of hurting people in the real world. As a pastor I preached this but I had lost touch with how true it was.
  • People HATE the church. Wow! Again, I knew the church was a sore subject for people but I had no idea how deep the feelings ran. People hate churches and to be honest, I can’t blame them.
  • Divorce is the Scarlet Letter. Trust me, I know it is awful, grieves God, and ruins lives but the church better learn what to do with it because marriage’s are falling apart everywhere and cute little sermon series are cutting it. Divorced people are the ones I meet most hurt by the church.
  • You aren’t someone’s pastor because you have the title.
  • Criticism makes me better. I had shielded myself from criticism to the point that I couldn’t see my flaws. In the “real world” I don’t have that luxury.
  • Just because you left the church I pastored while I pastored there doesn’t mean you were a bad person. I use to joke that I was the Godfather to people that left. Some of the people who left Revolution before I left have been the most gracious to me.
  • God provides. I honestly didn’t understand how huge this statement was while I was a pastor.  Today I understand it.
  • God forgives. People don’t.
  • Men are pigs.  I was the king of sexual jokes, second looks, and inappropriate thoughts (yes as a pastor and you’d probably be shocked at some of your current pastors in this area) but this is one of the areas I have been getting the most help to overcome. As I overcome it, I am left speechless at how little respect men have for women.
  • “I’m sorry” goes a long way.  I have been blessed to rekindle some old friendships with people I hurt and it was simply because I said “I’m sorry.” As a pastor I would have never said this, but the real world lets you know you aren’t always right.
  • Revolution Failed. That is not a knock on Revolution, the people or the staff, it is a knock on me. Big freaking deal that we ran the numbers we ran. The fact is the people in Canton aren’t going to church, want nothing to do with the things of God, and are searching for answers.  They could care less how cool the show was every week.
  • It will take a different type of church to truly reach communities. I’m not sure what that looks like but I’m praying and thinking about it a lot. Once God shows me what that looks like, I’ll be a step closer to doing it again.
  • I had some of the fakest friendships in the world.  People I thought were my best friends I haven’t spoken to once since I had an affair.  However, God has brought some friends that are the real deal. Sad thing is that some of them are pastors I wouldn’t make time for when I was a pastor. You can’t make it in this world without friends.
  • I missed out on so much. As a pastor, I was so busy trying to build a great church (notice I didn’t say change a community) that I missed out on enjoying life, my children, and blew my marriage.  Working in the “real world” I refuse to allow that to happen again. I am taking time to smell the roses.

Overall, it is just amazing how out of touch I was with what was going on around me. God had to knock me down, humble me, and let me hit rock bottom where I can be more effective for Him in the future.  If God ever allows me to do it again, I think I will be much better at leading the people God trusts me with because I will have been there, done that, have the T-shirt to prove it. :)


Posted on November 9, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Thanks for your response,
    i understand ….
    you know sometimes if I’m honest with myself i ask the Lord to Wake me up when i think i put people in a box or God…
    Sometimes i cant see the hurting as i should, or more, what i can do about it….
    so i ask the lord to give me a heart for the things that break his…..
    i don’t know if i can handle it , but i want to have compassion and Love for the hurting and to be used for his Glory…
    Thanks again
    God Bless !


    I only highlighted one of the 10 or so items that the Pastor brought up.

    Wake Up:
    Pastors who have no clue what pressure people are under

    Pastors who live in a cocoon inside the church walls not knowing that what they preach is almost unattainable in daily living.

    Wake up pastors to SEE and TOUCH the HURTING people in the ‘real world’ as he put it.

    Wake up pastors who shield themselves from criticism and sheep who are afraid to criticize.

    Wake up pastors to understand that they are not peoples pastors just because they have the title.

    And so on….. you get the idea.
    I was just reinforcing what the original post was stating.

  3. Well your criticism is that the church needs to wake up…
    Church people justifying that they are hated because Jesus said that they would be hated (for different reasons).
    People still hating the church and the church people.(I’m assuming you mean people outside of the church?) (not sure why they would hate in the first place?)

    What is the ignorance that church people need to wake up from ?

  4. Western dog,
    I dont understand your question.

  5. Well what do you propose instead of criticism…

  6. This is a fantastic revelation, talk about ‘revelation driven’…. this is it. This Pastor NOW sees what he never saw. How many times have people sung and prayed the song… Open the eyes of my heart? Are you really ready for that to happen? Can you handle it when it comes?
    This man’s life COMPLETELY CHANGED, Call it what you want, but I call it an AWAKENING. When the people of the church WAKE UP maybe there will be change, but until then it will continue to be church people hanging out with church people. People still hating the church and the church people. Church people justifying that they are hated because Jesus said that they would be hated (for different reasons). Paid staff members leaning on volunteers to put in that extra 10 to 15 hours per week to keep the church going.

    WAKE UP !

    Thanks Mission Critical for posting this, it is a great example of how God moves in people’s lives Outside the Camp and transforms lives.

  7. I wish I could share the book, “Exiles” by Michael Frost with this pastor. It would give him a greater insight regarding his feelings and experience and make for a richer, healthier foundation if he were to pastor again. In fact, if anyone is reading this comment, I encourage you to get it for yourselves. I believe it speaks volumes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: