An Open Letter to Pastors Re: Church Attendance
You often stress attendance at worship as being very important for a Christian, but I think a person has a right to miss now and then. I think every person ought to be excused for the following reasons and the number of times indicated.
Christmas Holidays (the Sunday before & after): 2
New Years (the party lasted too long): 1
Easter (get away for the holidays): 2
July 4th (national holidays): 1
Labor Day (need to get away): 2
Memorial Day (visit hometown folk): 1
School closing (kids need a break): 1
School reopens (one last fling): 1
Family reunions (mine & wife’s): 3
Sleep late (stayed up too long Saturday night): 8
Deaths in family: 2
Anniversary (second honeymoon): 1
Sickness (one per family member): 5
Business trip (a must): 1
Vacation (three to four weeks): 6
Bad weather (ice, snow, rain, clouds): 2
Ball games: 2
Unexpected company (can’t walk out): 2
Time changes (spring & fall): 2
Specials on TV (Superbowl, etc.): 3
Pastor, that leaves two Sundays per year. So, you can count on us to be in church on the 4th Sunday in February and the 3rd Sunday in August… unless we are providentially hindered.
A Faithful Member
What I Learned from my Dog (Source: Inspiration Peak)
If my dog were your teacher, these are some of the lessons you might learn:
- When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
- Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
- Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
- Take naps and stretch before rising. Run, romp, and play daily.
- No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout, run right back and make friends.
- Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
- Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.
- Be loyal.
- Never pretend to be something you’re not.
- If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
- When someone is having a bad day, be silent… and sit close by.
The Four Most Common Reasons People Give about Avoiding Church (Brian Dodd)
- Sermons are boring and irrelevant to my life.
- The members are unfriendly to new attenders.
- There’s too much emphasis on money.
- The Childcare and Programs for Children are weak.
We can’t stay clean in an unclean world if we neglect the cleanser (Word). – John 15:3.
Time to Ask Myself… Am I Protecting My Heart and Ministry from an Affair? (Part 3 of 7)
Ron Edmondson / ronedmondson.com
It seems every day we hear of another big name celebrity, politician, or pastor that has fallen into the temptation of lust and had an affair. I think it is dangerous for any leader to assume this could never happen to him. Speaking as a man, I understand that temptation is very real. When the mind begins to wander in a lustful direction, it is very hard to control. The failure, I believe, comes more in not protecting the heart and mind. I know that I must personally work to protect myself, my wife, my boys, and my church from the scandal and embarrassment of an affair. Here’s the third of seven rules I have in place that serve to protect my heart and the third of seven attempts I have to protect my family from the stress of ministry:
- When talking to couples, I focus my visual connection mostly on the man and not his wife. It’s not that I do not talk to the wife, but I try to place my eyes more in the direction of the man. This is a discipline I have had to practice. Sometimes I see couples from our church in the community and I often don’t recognize the woman when she is not with her husband. This is not that I don’t care about the woman (or that I’d rather look at a man!), but this is necessary in order to protect my heart and mind from wandering. (Did you ever read 2 Samuel 11?)
- Schedule time with my family. If I’m going to protect time with my family then they must be part of my calendar. I’ve been told this seemed cold and calculated, and maybe it is, but when the boys were young and into activities with school, those times went on my calendar as appointments first. I was at every ballgame and most practices, unless I was out of town, because it was protected by my calendar. It was easy for me to decline other offers, because my schedule was already planned.
If a pastor is not careful, the weight of everyone else’s problems will take precedence over the issues and concerns of his immediate family. I see it frequently among pastors I encounter. There have been seasons of my ministry where this is the case, especially on abnormally stressful days. I decided years ago when I was a small business owner, serving in an elected office and on dozens of non-profit boards that my busyness would never detract from my family life on a long-term basis.
Ask yourself this question: How healthy is your family? What are you doing to protect it?
[Dale Flynn and his wife, Liz, are Word of Life Local Church Ministries missionaries in Eastern MD. Dale is a Local Church Ministries curriculum editor and is the editor of this Ministering to the Minister E-Transfer national electronic Pastor’s newsletter. The Flynns make their home in Elkton, MD. Questions or comments about this article may be addressed to Dale at: DFlynn@wol.org. ]