only the beleaguered understand

I would like to share with you an incident that may illustrate why I am so against vision and the driving of vision in the church: This was years ago. I was out of the ministry at the time. I had been dismissed as an employee of an international ministry and as the pastor of the church that this ministry hired me to plant and grow. It was largely due to my style of pastoring that my boss and so many people still do not understand. It was a horrible time for me and my family. Fortunately, our previous church took us in and allowed us to hang out with them and recover from our rather serious wounds. During this time I was urged to attend a workshop for burned-out pastors. Reluctantly, Lisa and I went. The room was full of pain. The leader of the workshop was basically teaching that we all needed to get away on a sabbatical and rest so that we could get back to what we were doing before only with more vision and vigor. I lost it. I mean I really lost it… to the point where I embarrassed myself by my outburst. But I still meant it. My embarrassment was only augmented by the response of the group. They looked at me with pity. They took my impassioned response as proof of my burnout. However, later in the day outside the workshop, a few people who were there came up to me secretly and in whispering tones admitted they knew exactly what I was talking about. They wondered if my idea of ministry and church community life was even remotely possible. It was then that I realized that I could preach my lungs out about this, but that nobody but the completely beleaguered will understand what I am saying. It is proved to this day. I get emails every week from pastors who are beyond the point of burn-out, completely wasted and ready to give up on the whole enterprise. And people who are tired of being pushed, disrespected, manipulated and coerced, but still want to be a part of a religious community. Only these seem to understand.

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