Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Thanks, Pt. 2

You often hear horror stories from youth pastors abut how poorly they've been treated by their senior pastors and/or their congregations. I know some of those youth pastors personally and I know their stories aren't exaggerated. But how often do you hear about a congregation that really treats their youth pastor and his family wonderfully? Well, let me tell you some stories about my church family.

They once sent my wife and I to a bed and breakfast on Cape Cod for the weekend, along with a gift certificate to a very nice restaurant that more than covers the bill. And what's the occasion for this? Nothing, other than to say "Thanks, we appreciate you." There was the time a family in the church asking you what your plans are following the week-long youth event, and upon finding out that you are taking the week off but no plans have been made, you return home to find they've gotten you a room on Block Island and a gift certificate to a nice restaurant and an invitation to their family's cabin in the mountains for a week of canoeing, fishing, swimming, and relaxing? Do you hear stories like this?

How often do you hear a youth pastor say, "It's hard to go more than two or three weeks without hearing a parent saying 'thank you' for just doing my job(?)." (Again, hard to think of it as a ‘job,’ as I mentioned in part 1.) Or how about when you're leaving for a big week-long youth event and a mom hands the other adult leader a $20 bill, "So you and Brian can get coffees this week,”? Or when you're buying a house and church helps with an interest free loan for a down-payment and takes up a collection for a house warming present? Or the anonymous donor(s) who pay your seminary tuition? You don't often hear stories like these, but they're true and they all happened to me.

Yeah, it's tough when the budget is tight and a raise isn't coming or if it does, it's a very small one, but I find it very difficult to complain about that, you know? When people as how long I’ve been at my church and I say, “10 years” they will often respond, “Wow! That’s a long time.” Usually if I tell them a few stories they’ll say, “Oh, well, that makes sense now.”


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