What Have You Done For Me Lately?
Pastor, you didn't think you'd get off that easy did you?
Aw yes, it is February 1986 and Janet Jackson has just released her third album “Control”. I love Janet Jackson. I always preferred her to Michael. Favorite song? Hands down: Black Cat. On her Control album was the hit “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” What have you done for me lately, the unspoken but very real attitude of most church members. Not all church members but most. Very Few church members do understand pastoral burden.
“What Have You Done For Me Lately” = The congregations view of pastoral ministry.
Pastors, you will come to realize that it does not matter what or how much you’ve done for a church member in the past. The only thing that matters is now.
It is a consumer mentality with vampiric consequences. The pastor in most cases is consumed with guilt and shame for never having done enough. The result is his passion and life is sucked from his soul. I’ve been there, done that, and have the t-shirt hanging in my closet.
You may be pastoring a church now and none of this has happened to you yet. I pray that it never will but don’t count on it. Because sooner or later someone will get upset at you for not visiting enough, calling enough, speaking with them at church enough, and the list goes on. No wonder the average stay for a senior pastor is only four years. The congregational consumer mentality chews up pastors and spits them out. Oh, people in the church will tell you that they love you as long as you are meeting their needs as they see fit. Harsh. I know right? Want to see the t-shirt?
So what to do about it? Well, to start, understand that you cannot please everyone no matter how hard you try. And trust me, you will try.
Secondly, understand that the people who are treating you this way are not acting in a Godly way. Oh, they may have been going to your church for decades but they have the spiritual maturity of a 6 year old. And it shows… Go read 1st Corinthians and the Book of Hebrews for more information about spiritual maturity.
Thirdly, seek out other pastors who will listen to you and pray with and for you and you reciprocate. There is nothing like a good group of Godly pastors to pour your heart out to. Trust me on this.
And finally, turn it all over to The Lord - 1st Peter 5:7 “Casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.”. I have turned those people over to The Lord for Him to deal with. I simply cannot bear that burden any longer.
Stay encouraged and know that there are others out here who have/are going through the “What Have You Done For Me Lately” struggle in the churches that we serve.
If need be you can always reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have several already who come to me to vent because they know that I’ve been where they are, and possibly where you are too.