A meme recently appeared in clergy social media groups. The image featured a middle circle labeled, “PASTOR.” Seven circles surrounded it, representing congregants’ opinions about returning to church. Examples included:
- “We need to open the church building immediately—what are you waiting for?”
- “You cannot open the church building. It’s a huge risk, and you’re wrong if you do.”
- “It’s all a big hoax and conspiracy—click this link to get the truth!”
- “Here are 25 things to do before reopening your buildings.”
- “My family member or friend just died of COVID-19.”
In reaction to the meme, many pastors commiserated with each other, bemoaning how tough we have it.
Call me insensitive, but I have little patience with clergy who complain about the demands of ministry. EVERY vocation involves challenges, pressure, and stress. Crying “Woe is me” because “Reverend” is in the job title feels a bit self-indulgent.
Having said all of this, WOE IS ME! 🙂
Whether someone leads a church, nonprofit, business, or other group, the past NEVER trained us for such a time as this. We are navigating unknown waters without a compass or guide. I keep recalling apocryphal stories of ancient maps declaring, “HERE BE DRAGONS!”
Here’s my simple suggestion. Assume that people are doing the best they can. We do not have to agree with the decisions others make, but let’s cut each other a little slack.
I also recommend someone with artistic ability redraw the meme. Put “GOD” in the center circle rather than “PASTOR.” Even if we find ourselves with polar opposite opinions, drawing closer to God means that we also draw closer to one another.