Monday, April 13, 2015
Pastors Need Mr. Wilson
Pastors need Mr. Wilson.
Everybody needs Mr. Wilson.
When I was in college, I worked at a pharmacy.
Jackie, old Ed (who took regular swigs of anything with codeine), and I delivered drugs.
One day, Mr. Wilson, the pharmacist, caught Jackie in the basement with a customer.
Using Elizabethan English in a Biblical kinda way, Jackie was getting to "know" her.
Sooooooo Mr. Wilson called Jackie, old Ed, and me into his office and said, "I am going to tell you once and only once. Don't ___ where you eat!"
I have ignored that advice on so many occasions over the years as a pastor; and I have paid the price for my defiant pride.
I have also mourned in a Matthew 5:4 kinda way over the collateral damage caused by me.
Anyway, I remember when I was really famous - pastor of one of the largest franchise churches in the South after being pastor of one of the largest franchise churches in the Midwest.
You know, uh, the kinda churches that peers covet with green eyes.
God knows I heard the whispers: "How could Kopp...?...If he can...Why haven't I...?...and..."
God knows I know 'cause I got one.
Have you ever listened to clergywomen/men when they get together for the first time: "How big is your...church...staff...attendance...?"
Size matters to clergy; and I'm not talking about hearts for Jesus.
Getting back to when I was really famous, I was also really screwing up.
The big thing was I was a Yankee and kinda, you know, didn't have any desire to go, you know, Neil Young's Southern Man despite Lynyrd Skynrd's rejoinder.
I started pouting and whining and bantering and moaning about this and that and how it was all exacerbated by our increasingly screwed up franchise making me feel this and that and how I wasn't being accepted and how my predecessors this and that and how my integrity and pride and ego and...ad nauseum.
You know what I mean.
Yeah, pretty sick.
Finally, I threatened the session during a meeting: "If you're not gonna be with me on...[and I listed everything that was sooooooo important to me apart from just being their faithful and protective undershepherd]...I think I should just quit and resign and go somewhere else where I'll be..."
No one contended with me.
After the meeting, Rick, who remains a very good friend despite me being an ___ on too many occasions then and since, said, "Bob, most of the session will stay with you no matter what you say and do. Whether you're liberal or conservative or just your nutty old Yankee self, they will stay with you as long as they know you love them and will stay with them no matter what. As long as they don't think you're always looking for a better gig, they'll stay with you. But if you keep threatening to leave, your support will vanish before you know what hit you."
I left that church.
No one contended with me.
I was enabled.
Fewer than I had calculated really cared.
Here's the continuing sadness.
I had an opportunity in those two really big and really important churches by clergywomen/men standards to make a difference in our franchise and even...but I, uh, forgot Mr. Wilson's advice.
Blessings and Love!